Severe unexpected adverse effects after permanent eye makeup and their management by Q-switched Nd:YAG laser

Clin Interv Aging. 2014 Aug 11;9:1305-9. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S67167. eCollection 2014.


Permanent makeup is a cosmetic tattoo that is used to enhance one's appearance, and which has become more popular among middle-aged and elderly women. A couple of benefits seem to be associated with permanent tattoos in the elderly: saving time (wake up with makeup); poor eyesight (difficult to apply makeup); and saving money. On the other hand, cosmetic tattoos bear the same risks as other tattoo procedures. We report on fading and unintended hyperpigmentation after tattooing on eyebrows and eyelids, and discuss the scientific and anatomical background behind the possible cause. Dermatochalasis may be a possible risk factor for excessive unwanted discolorations. Q-switched neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet laser is an appropriate and safe therapeutic tool that can manage such adverse effects. Consumer protection warrants better information and education of the risks of cosmetic tattoos - in particular, for elderly women.

Keywords: Q-switched Nd:YAG laser; adverse effects; cosmetic tattoos; dermatochalasis; permanent makeup.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aluminum
  • Coloring Agents / adverse effects*
  • Eyebrows*
  • Eyelids*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Tattooing / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Yttrium


  • Coloring Agents
  • yttrium-aluminum-garnet
  • Yttrium
  • Aluminum