“Permanent makeup” — a kind of tattoo of the lips, eyelids and eyebrows undergone by more than 8 million U.S. women — can for years disfigure patients who suffer allergic reactions, federal researchers said on Wednesday.
Doctors have long known that allergic reactions can occur with such ink injections, the researchers report in this week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
In 2004, American Institute of Intradermal Cosmetics in Arlington, Texas, recalled and replaced inks in its Premier Pigments brand after they were implicated in many of the problems reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
To assess how long the disfigurement lasted, Masja Straetemans of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and her colleagues interviewed 92 women who had problems after the procedure.
More than 9 out of 10 had swelling and tenderness, nearly that many complained of itching, and more than 4 out of 5 had bumps.
They found that the allergic reaction lasted anywhere from five months to more than three years.
“In 68 percent the reactions had not healed at the time of the telephone interview,” said Straetemans.
According to the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors, “reports of allergic reactions to tattoo pigments have been rare. However, when they happen they may be particularly troublesome because the pigments can be hard to remove. Occasionally, people may develop an allergic reaction to tattoos they have had for years.”
“Consumers and medical professionals should report adverse reactions to permanent-makeup procedures to the FDA,” the researchers wrote.