We’ve been living in the world of semi-permanent makeup for quite some time now, and we love it! No more problems with over-plucked eyebrows, pale lips or worries about your receding hairline. With PMU treatments such as microblading, microshading, semi-permanent lip liner or scalp micropigmentation all these worries can come to an end. Following these trends, a new and somewhat controversial fad emerged in the Brazilian city of São Paulo called permanent under eye concealer.
So, many of you struggling with those dark circles might be wondering how does this particular treatment actually work, and most importantly, is it safe? We are here to give you all the answers you are looking for.
The new and quite debated treatment in the permanent makeup industry, the under-eye concealer for dark circles is yet another innovation in the cosmetic tattooing industry. Similar to other semi-permanent makeup treatments, this procedure involves inserting pigment under your skin using specialized tools. The pigment closely resembles your skin color and mimics the look of an under-eye concealer. However, unlike microblading or other members of its family, under-eye concealer treatment will use an actual permanent ink that will not fade in time like others will.
Rodolpho Torres, a Brazilian tattoo artist who pioneered this technique in his hometown of São Paulo, says about the procedure: “It’s not micro pigmentation; it’s a tattoo. You can live a normal life and expose it to sunlight, knowing that your skin won’t become stained, because the tattoo pigments approved by Anvisa (Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency) give us this security.”
We can all agree that this sounds impressive, doesn’t it? No more worries about ‘panda eyes’ in the morning or spending time and money on all that makeup, right?
However, even though this sounds like dream-come-true for many of us, you must take into consideration two sides (discussed later in text) of the coin before you opt for this procedure.
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While we are on the topic of these troublemakers, you probably wonder why and how we get them in the first place.
The real cause of dark circles are blood vessels and dark tissue hidden below the surface of the skin which is simply just more visible with some people then other. If you are not already genetically predisposed to have them, you might get them with age as the skin start to get older.
Apart from these two common causes, there are other such as:
Any makeup we use is applied on the surface of our skin and therefore can only do so much and that is why we sometimes need to apply copious amounts of it to receive the wanted looks. This is especially true for the under-eye area which, as we all know, can be quite tricky to conceal.
By placing the permanent ink under your eyes, you penetrate that surface layer and implement the ink below it, diminishing the dark circles in the way you could never do with the normal makeup.
Similar to other tattoo treatments, a cosmetic tattoo gun is used to micro inject ink under your skin. The mastery is however, not so much in this, as it is in finding the right tone for each client. Rodolpho Torres shares by saying that he uses a small handheld device that detects each client’s unique skin tone and with that knowledge he customizes the ink and ensures it matches perfectly.
This pigment will act as a sort of a buffer between the skin and the underlying darkness and will diffuse the dark color and prevent it to reach the surface of the skin giving you a more natural and refreshed look.
The appeal of having your dark marks removed and finally being free of those tired-looking bags that follow you anywhere is completely understandable, but you should still consider every aspect before opting for this potentially dangerous procedure.
When speaking to Shape Magazine, a leading New York dermatologist Lance Brown, MD, said, “No non-medical personnel should be touching that area of your eyes—especially with a sharp instrument.” He continued by adding: “Under the eye, you need to be very cautious—you can cause an infection around the eyelid. Or a stye or cyst could grow around the hair follicles.”
Dermatologists are not the only ones against this treatment; even the fellow aestheticians expressed doubts about this treatment.
Makeup artist Tracie Giles told MetroUK: “You cannot tattoo to conceal dark circles under the eyes. The reason is because it never works and can literally ruin a face. More likely it will end up on a case of ‘Botched’ on TV.” She added by saying: “You would be covering the underneath of the eyes with an opaque chalky pigment, which is permanent in the skin and will never fade. Over time, the opaque covering—even if applied diluted or with a [pixelation] effect—rises in the skin and discolors rather like sour cream.”
Bearing all this in mind, the potential risks that come with this treatment are not insignificant and therefore should be taken into serious consideration before going on with this procedure.
People who tried the treatment say that pain is not an issue. It feels more like tickling in combination with an uncomfortable feeling of having a needle so close to your eyes. Anyone who has ever been in position of allowing other people applying a mascara or an eyeliner to them now this feeling, just multiple it several times, and you’ll get the idea.
First and foremost, do your research, but we mean really do it. Go through all the articles and blogs written on the topic, reviews of the people who did the procedure and look at their before and after photos. If you still decide to go on with it, visit a dermatologist and let him or her give you their professional opinion. They will know best if your under-eye skin can withstand this procedure and will explain all possible outcomes of it.
Furthermore, as your doctor will most definitely tell you, and as Lance Brown already said, you should only allow professional medical personnel treat this area of your face. The risks are too big if you don’t.
The post-care is similar to that of a tattoo or microblading. This means you will be given and ointment like Panthenol to soothe the skin and help it heal.
Also, it is important to keep the area dry for a few days, not expose it to sun or any makeup or skincare products. It’s always a great idea to put some sunblock with at least 30 SPF and to wear sunglasses.
The first few days are always the most challenging and they usually involve some redness and perhaps itchiness until the pigment ‘settles’ into your skin. During these days you should carefully follow the aftercare instructions given to you by the practitioner.
Regarding the time to full recovery, Rodolpho Torres says: “Once the tattoos have healed, the client’s skin appears smoother, and after sixty days they can sunbathe without the risk of spots developing”.
Of course, this is all true in case there are no complications.
The treatment uses permanent ink and therefore won’t need any touch-ups, same as regular tattoos.
However, if the treatment gains more on popularity and the semi-permanent makeup artists start offering this option in their salons, they might start using the same semi-permanent ink they use for other treatments. In this case, you might need a touch-up several weeks after the original procedure and after it fades in a couple of years.
However, since this is still a relatively uncharted territory for many aestheticians and their opinions are divided over it, there aren’t still any who offer this semi-permanent version in the USA.
Same as a regular tattoo, permanent under eye concealer tattoo is, well, permanent. This means, its ink won’t fade as fast as the one used for microblading or scalp micropigmentation, but will remain more or less unchanged for many years.
However, as you probably know, every ink does fade over time, especially due to exposure to sun, so you can expect that this also happens with your concealer. Also, due to this being a new procedure, there is no a way of knowing how exactly the color will look like in ten or twenty-years’ time with certainty.
As this is a new procedure, there is still not much information about its long-term effects. However, since we all know quite well that the eye-area typically ages faster than the rest of the skin, there is a potential for skin to sag and therefore move your under-eye pigment away from the dark circles. Moreover, with time the dark circles tend to look even darker, so this in combination with skin sagging can give a rather unflattering look.
Another issue to have in mind is the potential inexperience of the person doing the treatment. As already mentioned, the skin under our eyes is super-sensitive so one wrong move of the artist who presses the needle too deep under the skin can cause much problem. Scarring on the lower eyelid can cause ectropion which is a condition in which the lower eyelid pulls or sags away from the eye. As Dr. Brown says: “Ectropion can lead to tear duct issues, cysts, and more.”
We can all agree that infections in this area are a reason for a serious concern, so you should do your best to try and avoid it.
Being so close to the eyes, any form of laser removal is highly inadvisable. When asked about this, Tracie Giles says: “Laser removal would make the pigment go black, plus it would be extremely high risk to even attempt removal so close to the eyes, she said. There’s always a risk of blinding the patient.” She finishes by saying: “My personal opinion is that this treatment should absolutely be avoided. No reputable practitioner would ever undertake this.”
Therefore, an option of removing this tattoo is almost non-existent for the sake of your eyes and your health in general. So, think twice before you decide for this treatment, because if you go for it, there is no going back.
And, if your dark circles really cause you so much dissatisfaction, perhaps wait a bit longer until the treatment gets perfected and becomes less dangerous.
The information on this is scarce with not many salons offering this service currently in the USA. Apart from being very popular in Brazil where the prices vary greatly, the treatment also has been gaining prominence in Hong Kong where the price is around $1000.
It is interesting to note, that unlike Rodolpho’s permanent version of the treatment, the salons in Hong Kong have started offering this as semi-permanent treatment, so perhaps US artist will soon start using it as well, in this, perhaps less dangerous form.
If you’ve started wondering is this procedure really for you and what might be the alternatives, we must disappoint you and tell that there isn’t a permanent ‘cure’ for dark circles, at least not yet.
If a regular concealer doesn’t do the job for you, then you might consider some of these medical treatments:
Before opting for any of these, it’s highly advisable to visit a doctor. These procedures can be quite tricky and painful with a long-recovery period.
If you wish to jump on the permanent under-eye concealer treatment bandwagon and try it, bear in mind what the dermatologists and experienced practitioners are saying. This procedure should only be preformed by a member of medical staff with lots of experience and in sanitized conditions.
You do not want do jeopardize your health and your eyes just to get rid of the circles around your eyes!
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