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Understanding and defining cosmetic tattoo - Zhenith Beauty
Understanding and defining cosmetic tattoo

Understanding and defining cosmetic tattoo

Tattooing, defined as pictorial self- adornment, has a long history and dates to 8000 BC. In the 1800’s medical practitioners used a form of tattoo to treat lesions of the skin and nevi. Corneas were tattooed for cosmetic improvement for those who had unsightly glaucoma or corneal scars. Early crude tattoo needles were made of bone, and pigments used included soot, henna, carbon, melanin and carotene. Cosmetic tattooing has developed directly from tattooing.

Cosmetic tattooing represents the implantation of pigment granules for the purpose of cosmetic enhancement in the form of eyebrows, eyeliners, lips, beauty spots, and other forms of makeup. This is also known as a semi-permanent micro- pigmentation that aims to create cosmetic enhancement in the most natural way possible. Depending on exposure to the sun, salt water or chlorine, which can cause fading, the cosmetic tattoo can last between 2 to 20 years. There may still be evidence of the cosmetic tattooing after a number of years as the pigments lose colour and it may require refreshing.


Medical applications for cosmetic tattooing are:

  • Nipples
  • Areola
  • Scar tissue
  • Burns scar tissue
  • Vitiligo – loss of melanin pigment consisting of white passages of various sizes
  • Halo naevus – area of skin surrounding a mole where loss of pigmentation is evident
  • Alopecia – hair loss.


Is it like a tattoo?

Tattoo artists usually use a coil machine, which has more power than a style rotary pen machine. The rotary machine used by the cosmetic tattooist is specifically designed for its requirements and is lighter to handle and control. One of the main differences between tattooists and cosmetic tattooists is the depth of the needle inserted into the skin. The cosmetic tattoo is not as deep.

What are pigment lotions?

Pigment is made from iron oxide and titanium dioxide, which is safe and non-reactive. The pigment powder is suspended in a solution of glycerine, alcohol and distilled water to form a smooth, creamy liquid. Different manufacturers design pigments to different consistencies. They all do the same job, and it is only personal preference as to which works best for you. These pigments are specifically made for implanting into human skin. Cosmetic tattoo colours have been created specifically for the face and camouflage treatments. Standard tattoo inks are bright colours and are too bright for the face and camouflage treatments. The pigment lotions should be packaged in sterile bottles. It is important to note that pigments can either be organic or inorganic and it is the powder in the lotions that are the colour. The glycerine, alcohol and distilled water are used merely to create a safe solution to suspend the powder in.

Also note that all pigments will fade, however inorganic pigments do retain their strength for longer.

It has been noted that allergic reactions are more likely to occur with the use of organic pigments. These pigments tend to appear brighter when initially implanted, although like inorganic pigments soften as times passes, but still maintain their colour.

The advantages of cosmetic tattooing

While it will not completely replace the use of conventional makeup, it will save time and frustration. A client will look good 24 /7, sleep, play sport, perspire, swim, eat and their makeup will not wash off and can last for years. It can simulate most makeup requirements from strong and defined to the softest of natural enhancement.