Analysis of microstructural characteristics and components of red and yellow ink pigments used in permanent makeup

Appl Microsc. 2022 Apr 11;52(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s42649-022-00072-3.


Our purpose in this study is to analyze the microstructural characteristics and constituent elements of inorganic substances added to the yellow ink and red ink pigments used in permanent makeup. We observed the microstructural properties of inorganic pigments added to the ink using a scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and analyzed the constituent elements of the inorganic pigment particles using an energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). In red wine-colored ink, cubic titanium dioxide with a diameter of 110 to 200 nm was the major component, and rod-shaped iron oxide was rarely observed. Most of the ingredients of taupe yellow ink were rod-shaped yellow iron oxide, and a small amount of cubic titanium dioxide was observed. Red wine-colored ink and taupe yellow ink contained lumps composed of titanium dioxide particles. In red wine-colored ink, lumps were formed by agglomeration. However, we observed that the surface of the lump composed of titanium dioxide in the taupe yellow ink had a smooth surface caused by external physical compression. The titanium dioxide particle mass which found in taupe yellow ink in this study is an artificial product. When this mass accumulates in the dermis, it may cause a color mismatch. Therefore, permanent makeup using fine pigments should be free of foreign substances that may cause trouble in the skin. In addition, there is a need to improve the quality of the ink so that the required color can be safe and long lasting in the dermis.

Keywords: Cosmetics; EDX; Iron oxide; SEM; Semi-permanent makeup; Tattoo; Titanium dioxide.