Tattoo Eyeliner Gone Wrong: What Can You Do?

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So, you decided to take the plunge and get permanent eyeliner, aka any eyeliner tattoo, on your eyelids. You’ve seen all the before and after pictures on social media and glossy magazines showing the great results of others who’ve had it done, and you thought to yourself, why not?

And yes, this trend has increased in popularity over the years. However, what is actual reality and the pictures that you see on social media are not always the same.

So, whether you’ve reacted with a normal side effect, or you’re suffering from a complete migration of the pigment, you’re not happy with the result.

But what can you do about it? Can you fix a tattoo eyeliner gone wrong?

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at tattoo eyeliners, and what you should do to alleviate the problem you now find yourself with.


Tattoo Eyeliner Gone Wrong

Although many people have had success with having eyeliner tattooed on their eyelids, the procedure itself isn’t without risks. This is because your eyelids are covered with the thinnest and most delicate skin that appears on your entire body.

Therefore, not only do you need to be careful about finding a very experienced and qualified practitioner to do the deed, but you should also be aware that having an eyeliner tattoo will hurt because of the delicacy of the skin there.

Not only do you need to be careful about finding a very experienced and qualified practitioner to do the deed, but you should also be aware that having an eyeliner tattoo will hurt because of the delicacy of the skin there.

Other risks of a tattoo eyeliner procedure include:

  • Eye injury, severe bruising, or scarring from either the chemicals or the tools used during the tattoo process
  • An allergic reaction or resulting infection from the chemicals or broken skin
  • Use of the wrong pigment, or migration and smudging of the ink to other parts of the face
  • Short-term or chronic eye irritation after the procedure, such as burning, tingling, or conjunctivitis resulting from the wrong pigments being used in the process

And these aren’t something that you’ll find out just by reading the glossy brochures or sophisticated-looking websites of the salons and clinics that offer this cosmetic service.

They may not fully explain the risks that are involved to you.

In addition, if the person who’s giving the tattoo eyeliner isn’t qualified to do so, then you’ve got a problem! Because not all permanent makeup and cosmetic tattoo artists are created equal. Some shouldn’t be allowed to do the job at all.

So, if you’ve found yourself faced with an absolute disaster after an encounter with a not-so-great cosmetic tattoo artist, the most pressing question you probably have is:

Where can I turn for help?


The Truth Sometimes Hurts

Permanent eyeliner should look great all the time. It’s the straight-out-of-bed makeup look that is appealing to most people who want it done, especially if they are pushed for time in the mornings to get ready for work, for example.

But that doesn’t mean that this particular procedure is for everyone, even though the perceived appeal may seem like the perfect answer to your makeup dilemmas.

That doesn’t mean that this particular procedure is for everyone, even though the perceived appeal may seem like the perfect answer to your makeup dilemmas.

Pain in the Eye

Because of the nature of the skin tissue on your eyelids, if you are experiencing irritation or an infection, then you need to see a doctor if you haven’t already.

You will need to take care of that first before considering what to do next.

Pigment Migration

If the migration of pigments is what’s ailing you, though, then you probably don’t want to hear the best advice: which is to wait until the tattoo fades.

You most likely already know this, but to be clear: makeup tattoos aren’t the same as traditional tattoos. They use semi-permanent inks and are not true tattoos. They’re only semi-permanent.

Makeup tattoos aren’t the same as traditional tattoos. They use semi-permanent inks and are not true tattoos. They’re only semi-permanent.

This means that the pigment will eventually fade over time and not discolor as regular tattoos do. So with patience, your eyelids will go back to normal.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that you’re gonna have to wait a while.

The fading will usually take about one to two years for a small area of ink migration, and you can use concealer to help cover up the ink migration spots.


Drastic Action

If the thought of waiting up to two years for it to fade makes you want to cry, or the ink migration patch covers a broader area, then there are a couple of other options to consider.

But they do carry a big risk and come at an even bigger cost.

Using camouflage makeup to cover the area is probably your best bet, especially as the issue is so close to the eye.

You may even find it difficult to find a practitioner that will treat your eyelids with the following corrective procedure: a laser.

Laser Removal

Lasers are used to remove normal tattoos. But given the proximity to the eye, this isn’t always possible, and can even result in the loss of hypo- or hyperpigmentation of the skin and actual eyelash hairs.

Due to the risks involved with laser treatment for tattoo removal on the eyelids, most qualified practitioners won’t do it.

If you do find a practitioner that will do the procedure for you, it may take up to eight laser treatments (costing in the range of $250-300) to completely remove the eyeliner tattoo, which won’t be cheap.

It will end up costing you a lot more than the original permanent eyeliner procedure did. Oh, and it will be painful, which is something else to consider.

Not a great solution unless the circumstances are extraordinary.

Saline Removal

Another option to consider is saline removal of your tattoo eyeliner. Saline, which is a saltwater solution, works by extracting the pigment from the skin.

The practitioner will need to cut into the skin above the unwanted tattoo and then inject saline into the cuts.

The salt in the saline works to dry up the tattoo ink. Once the skin starts its healing process, the scab that forms will extract some of the pigment with it. However again, because the skin on your eyelids is so delicate, this procedure isn’t without its risks.

The scarring that will occur from cutting into the eyelids is a concern.

Also, at around $300 per hour session (and you’ll need about six sessions if you find a qualified practitioner who’s willing to do it), it will cost you about $1800 to get this eyeliner tattoo removal treatment done.

Ugh.

Glycolic Acid

Finally, the last option available for eyeliner tattoo removal is another non-laser procedure that is similar to saline, and that’s glycolic acid removal. Just like with the saline process, the skin above the eyeliner tattoo will be cut and opened, either with a machine or a manual shading tool.

A glycolic acid solution, that also contains lactic acids, will be injected into the cuts.

The solution will work to bind the molecules of the tattoo pigment to itself. Once the skin begins its healing process, then the resulting scab will extract some of the pigment into it.

The glycolic formula also usually contains other ingredients that will stimulate faster healing, making this option more gentle on the skin than saline removal.

It costs about $400 per session and will take up to six or more sessions for the total removal of the eyeliner tattoo.


Removal Aftercare

Even if you find a qualified and well-experienced practitioner that will help you with permanent eyeliner tattoo removal, there are steps that you will also need to follow to avoid any further complications from developing.

Even if you find a qualified and well-experienced practitioner that will help you with permanent eyeliner tattoo removal, there are steps that you will also need to follow to avoid any further complications from developing.

For the best possible results, you will need to:

  • Keep your area clean and dry, especially during the first few days. Follow the instructions given to you by your practitioner to avoid any infection, and to reduce any scarring that may develop if you’ve chosen the saline or glycolic acid removal options.
  • After Day 3, you’ll need to use the moisturizer recommended by your practitioner to help reduce itching and help your wounds heal faster by promoting the scabs to develop.
  • Whatever you do, don’t pick the scabs, otherwise, you will scar your skin. Also, make sure that you avoid anything that will make you sweat, including swimming, sun exposure, and hot showers.
  • You’ll also need to keep well hydrated with clean drinking water and avoid smoking, caffeine, and alcohol consumption, which are dehydrating.

Be Prepared

To prevent another makeup tattoo disaster from happening again if this situation you’ve found yourself in hasn’t put you off participating in the permanent makeup trend, then make sure you do your research first.

If you know someone who has had permanent makeup done with good results, then ask them to share their cosmetic tattoo practitioner with you. You should also confirm that your chosen practitioner has genuine testimonials from other satisfied customers.

And, most importantly, you need to make sure that the practitioner is fully qualified to do permanent makeup, even if they have been recommended to you. Don’t be sold on your friend’s word, the clinic’s advertising, and/or social media ads alone.

There are many reasons why tattoo eyeliner can go wrong, as we’ve mentioned in this article. And there aren’t many easy solutions.

Our recommendation is to stick it out with concealers and makeup until the eyeliner fades, but if that just won’t work, you can start to research clinics that do the more intensive removal procedures.

Written by Kayla Young

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