Are permanent makeup pigments safe?

Are permanent makeup pigments safe?

Permanent cosmetics utilize sterile pigments with cosmetic grade colorants that are approved by the FDA as safe for human use. Technically, the colored pigments used are suspensions containing insoluble inert compounds, usually iron and/or titanium oxides. The microscopic particles that appear to be dissolved are actually suspended in a clear liquid base of alcohol, distilled water, or glycerin. This also differs from traditional body tattoos that use colored “inks” or “dyes” which are completely dissolved in a liquid resulting in a more intense color.

Since there is no regulation in the U.S. for the cosmetics industry, this actually makes getting permanent lip color using high-quality pigments much safer than wearing lipstick and lip gloss regularly. A 2009 study by the FDA had found lead in all the lipsticks it tested and a new study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences confirmed lead in 75% of the 32 cosmetic lip products it had tested and detected other metals that are known human carcinogens well above safe levels. This can be a health issue since lipstick and lip gloss is prone to ingestion.


Liu S, Hammond K, Rojas-Cheatham A. 2013.
Concentrations and Potential Health Risks of Metals in Lip Products.
Environmental Health Perspectives.
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