Do Permanent Makeup Procedures Hurt?

One of the most frequently asked questions about permanent makeup concerns the matter of pain.   The permanent makeup industry has grown dramatically over the last ten years so clearly many people have been willing to do whatever it takes to make their life easier and more stress free.   Luckily there are now many products the permanent makeup technician can use that will reduce the pain of any and all procedures.

When thinking about it, most people assume permanent eyeliner is the most painful procedure.   This is not the reality.   There are topical, over the counter anesthetics that knowledgeable permanent makeup technicians use regularly.    The technician can and should start with a pre-procedure anesthetic that is placed on the eyeliner with a Q-tip and then occluded with a film or wrap  anywhere from 10-20 minutes, depending on the product.   This will limit the pain associated with the first needle pass.

Once the skin is broken, some of the most dramatic advances in the US market have to do with over the counter epinephrine products.   These products not only severely reduce the pain, but the epinephrine also helps limit swelling.      Consequently, many people feel the permanent eyeliner procedure causes some discomfort, but often not anywhere near the pain the person was anticipating.

In the past, a few technicians used EMLA for their pre-procedure work.   This is a prescription product that should not be used unless the work is being done in a doctor’s office under the doctor’s license.   Some over the counter anesthetics now on the market are made specifically for the permanent makeup and tattoo industries, so generally they work as well or better than EMLA.    Ask the technician what type of anesthetics they will be using.

Any discomfort associated with a permanent eyebrow procedure is also reduced by use of the same anesthetic system.

Permanent lip work is the most painful procedure but well worth the effort.   The freedom from not having to wear lipstick while exercising, going out in public and for any time where it might be a hassle, makes permanent lip color a wonderful service to consider.    This requires more skill on the part of the technician.  While a beginner can do permanent eyeliner and brows, lip work takes more experience.   When asking about the technician’s experience, also ask what they do for pain reduction.

The same system whereby the technician uses both a pre-procedure anesthetic and a broken skin anesthetic that has epinephrine is mandatory to get pain reduction.     The epinephrine product will reduce the swelling and bleeding which is very important with lip work.   It also helps if the technician uses some type of mouth guard when doing this work.

If the permanent lip work is done in conjunction with a doctor or dentist, they may be able to inject clients with a local anesthetic prior to the lip work.   This can be beneficial in pain reduction.    However local anesthetic shots from doctors are not commonly done for eyeliner or eyebrow work since it is not necessary and the injection may cause more problems than it solves.

All forms of permanent makeup can save valuable time from not having to apply topical makeup.    Any small amount of discomfort a person feels from having the work done will soon be forgotten while the reduction in stress will remain.   In the busy life of the multi-tasking woman of the 21st century, this is a wonderful benefit.

by Susan Preston