However, this timeline could be even shorter if you use tretinoin, a synthetic vitamin A medication that’s used to treat acne, or do frequent chemical peels. “Glycolic acid, microdermabrasion, and chemical face peel products should be kept away from the tattooed area even after they are healed as continued use could lighten the pigment,” Otsuji explains.
New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, agrees that nixing these types of products is beneficial for best results: “Avoiding exfoliation is prudent for extending the life of the microblading,” she says.
What are the possible side effects of microblading?
In addition to the risk of walking out with brows that just don’t look like your inspiration photos, there’s the more serious short-term possibility of infection. As Boca Raton, Florida,-based board-certified dermatologist Jeffrey Fromowitz, MD, explains, if you experience prolonged swelling, redness, crusting, or oozing after microblading, this is a sign that things are not as they should be and you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
It’s also important to note that the impressive before-and-after photos you’ve seen on social media don’t depict the long-term effects of microblading. Though the process is increasingly common, Dr. King tells Allure that there are always going to be risks and the possibility of long-term complications or allergic reactions because the process involves piercing the skin barrier.
“It’s also important to note that the FDA does not regulate the color-additive substances of the pigments used in microblading. Allergic reactions and contamination are possible,” Dr. King says. “Because the results are semi-permanent, it is particularly important to make sure that the procedure is done correctly. It cannot be easily covered up if it is done incorrectly.”
So while it is true that the microblading pigment will fade over time, it’s not possible to correct overnight if a mistake is made.
Can you fix poor microblading results?
That being said, fixing poorly microbladed brows comes at a cost. “Immediate removal is impossible and requires expensive laser sessions,” says San Francisco-based board-certified dermatologist Caren Campbell, MD. “Picosecond lasers provide the best removal results.”
Picosecond lasers are the same pigment-seeking lasers used to remove traditional tattoos, and a session usually costs between $300 and $1,000. Dr. Campbell says she actually doesn’t recommend microblading cosmetically, due to the maintenance required and the fact that, as Dr. King points out, changing the brows immediately is simply not feasible.