Safe can mean different things to different people. In the field of permanent cosmetics it not only means “will I be happy with the result” but what are the risks involved. Cosmetic tattooing is considered a mildly invasive procedure. The pigment must be implanted in the upper reticular layer of the dermis and to do this the needles must break the skin. It’s often compared to having your teeth cleaned. However, any time the skin is broken there is a risk of infection so proper measures must be followed to avoid this. This goes for following specific protocols in the clinic and in your home care afterwards.
Permanent cosmetics are a safe procedure if proper sterilization, disinfection and infection control practices are followed. Permanent cosmetic technicians routinely attend Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classes to become well versed on safety principles. Both the State of Oregon and the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals Certified Technicians have this as a requirement. The OSHA guidelines to provide infection control include, but are not limited to these important items:
1. All needles should be new and sterile for each client. Unopened new and sterile needles should be opened in your presence.
2. Any disposable sterilized machine parts should be employed and disposed of in a sharps container immediately after the procedure is completed.
3 Technicians should wear personal protection equipment such as disposable single use aprons and gloves and these should be new for each client, changed during the procedure as needed and disposed of immediately after the procedure is completed.
4. The technician should be clean and neat.
5. A disposable single use chair or bed covering should be used and should be new for each client.
6. The room should be in an area free from other contaminants such as nail dust, aerosols or other chemicals are present.
Take a look around the facility. It should look clean and tidy and you should feel very comfortable/safe. Ask to see the treatment room/area where the work is to be done. It should look clean and clinical. Look for boxes of gloves and a “sharps” container to hold used needles. When the treatment area is ready to have a procedure done, the chair should have a disposable plastic covering, the work area should have a protective barrier on it and there will be disposable supplies arranged there. Lamps, cords and other equipment parts that may be touched during the procedure will also have protective plastic coverings on them. The technician will wear new disposable non-latex gloves (on both hands) and change them as needed during the procedure. They will also put on a new disposable apron. Pigments and other supplies used during the procedure will be decanted from their containers and disposed of afterwards.
The most important part of your aftercare is keeping the area clean. No makeup should be worn until the initial healing is complete, generally about a week. Avoid touching the area except with clean hands. Use aftercare products as recommended by your technician.
To make sure your outcome will be one you are happy with good communications with your technician are important. Ask to see your technician’s portfolio, pictures of some of their work so you can see their style and make sure you are both on the same page as to the desired outcome. It is helpful to have your brow pencil/powder with you if you normally wear some and are having eyebrow work done. An experienced professional will always take measurements and mark the brows before starting to work. They will also involve you in this process so that you can approved of the brow design. Permanent cosmetics is a process. Your professional should always see you at least twice, the initial procedure and a follow up about 4-6 weeks later so that any adjustments that are needed can be done.
To assure a safe eyeliner procedure and you wear contact lenses, please bring your glasses or wear them as you will need to remove contacts before the procedure can be done and they should not be worn again until the eye feels “normal”. Eyes may be a bit light sensitive after this service so it is a good idea to have dark glasses with you. Also, if you use Restasis for eyelash growth you need to be off of this product about a month before having eyeliner work done. This drug impacts the skin of the eyelash area and makes it extremely sensitive. Wait until your eyeliner procedures are all completed and the eyeliner is healed before re-starting the Restasis.
For those having lip coloration, if you have EVER had a cold sore that virus is in your system. Breakouts are generally triggered by heat and stress and lip tattooing creates both. The odds are nearly 100% that it could cause a breakout. It is important that you obtain an antiviral product from your physician and take it as the pharmacist directs you.
For your safety, if you are pregnant, sick, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol your appointment should be rescheduled. In Oregon it is against the law to work on a person who is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.