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Dangerous Makeup — Permanent Eyebrows Creep In   
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A huge percentage of women, especially those in the limelight (and some men) apply different kinds of makeup daily to hide certain facial flaws and enhance their beauty.

As a result, there is growing demand for these products, making the beauty industry highly lucrative.

Though the continuous use of cosmetics have some implications on the skin, a worrying trend which is gradually creeping into the Ghanaian fashion circles is the increasing demand for permanent eyebrows makeup.

The process involves inserting a desired colour of ink under the eyebrow with a tattoo needle.

Unlike the normal eyebrow makeup which can be done at home or in most salons with an eyebrow pencil or tint, the permanent eyebrow procedure requires that a tattooist draws and colours the eyebrows permanently to suit the demand of the client.

Reasons for permanent makeup
A tattooist at Osu who spoke to The Mirror said permanent makeup procedures, popular in some parts of the world, was gradually creeping into Ghana.

He also said similar to the process involved in acquiring a body tattoo, permanent eyebrows, also known as eyebrow tattoos, is a cosmetic procedure, which utilises permanent pigments (tattoos) on the skin to produce the effect of wearing a makeup.

He said eyebrow tattoos eliminate the daily use of pencils or powders to fill in, shape, or colour brows.

“Most women spend a lot of time applying makeup almost every morning and this takes a chunk of their time. The permanent eyebrows therefore reduce the time and effort it would take to make up your face,” he explained.

Medical implications
A Dermatologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Paa Kwesi Hagan, however, explained that if unsterilised, the needles used for designing these tattoos could transmit infectious diseases such as hepatitis and also introduce bacteria into the skin as they come in contact with the blood and other fluids in the body.

He said the skin might also react to the pigments used for the tattoos.

“The pigments are foreign materials and contain certain metals that can react with the skin when it gets in contact with the body. Some of the colours in certain pigments can react with sunlight and that can result in some kind of allergy we call photoallergy, which may result in swelling, burning sensation or a red, itchy rash around the tattooed area,” he said.

Touching on eyebrow tattoos, Dr Hagan said that was more dangerous because aside the delicate nature of the skin around the eye which would make the process more painful, the tattoo could leave swollen scars or keloids around the eye or even damage the eye as the needle could pierce the eye.

Dr Hagan said since the eyebrow is close to the hair, bacteria from the hair may also spread to the scar areas and cause infections.

He explained that despite advances in laser technology (a technology used in removing tattoos), removing a tattoo is a difficult process which usually involves several treatments at considerable expense and there could be instances when some of the pigments may not be removed.

“Some people, out of ignorance, get these tattoos without considering the side effects or what they will go through if they want to get rid of them. Tattoos are not like ordinary makeup or colours that you can clean easily when you decide to,” he indicated.

History of tattoos
Although tattoos date as far back as late 4th millennium BC, they have become part of global and Western fashion among both sexes.

People tattoo different symbols and names on their bodies to signify certain experiences or special people in their lives.

With most celebrities getting different tattoos, it has become a fashionable trend.

However, there is a lot of prejudice towards people with tattoos as some workplace policies prohibit employees from having tattoo.

Recently, the Ghana Armed Forces indicated that it would not recruit people with tattoos and double piercing as it considered “such carefree lifestyle unfit for the millitary even though they are not necessarily waywardness."

Some religions also speak against drawing tattoos on the body hence tagging people with tattoos as “deviants".

Andrews a photographer who has a big tattoo on his right arm said he has been turned away by several employees because of the tattoo.

“I lost my mum at a very young age and I wanted to get something that would make me remember her forever so I tattood her name on my wrist and around my neck. I studied marketing in school but after school, I couldnt secure a job in marketing because most of the companies I applied to were not happy about the tattoo especially when my job schedule included meeting clients," he stated.

Andrews said a lot of people in his community and church pass unfriendly comments about his tattoos.

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