Can you completely get rid of dark circles without fillers and surgery? Plastic surgeons have long maintained it was virtually impossible, the only solutions being to cake on the concealer, bake it with heavy powder and apply a brightening eye treatment daily - but those fixes are only temporary. Well, readers, we have some exciting news for you: once a fantasy, permanent under-eye concealer tattooing now exists. Here, we explain the ins and outs of the procedure that’ll leave you looking fully refreshed and well rested, every single morning…

IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @HUNGVANNGO

WHAT IS IT?

Under-eye concealer tattoo is another extension of the cosmetic tattooing family. Although method of application may differ, the concept is similar to other forms of semi-permanent cosmetic tattooing (think eyebrow, lipstick and eyeliner). Essentially, pigment is inked into the skin to mimic the look of under-eye concealer.

WHAT DOES THE PROCEDURE INVOLVE?

Pigment is not implanted in the skin’s surface, but rather deposited one layer beneath the visible under-eye skin. In an exclusive interview with Beauticate, Holly Starcevich, a certified cosmetic tattoo artist, explains that the ink used in this treatment is a cosmetic-grade pigment, in a colour customised to the client’s skin tone. Holly says the needles used to dispense the pigment provide skin-rejuvenating benefits, similar to microneedling: “It stimulates collagen and improves the quality of the skin,” she explains. In short, it actually can do your skin a lot of good: placing pigment underneath the eyes can aid in smoothing fine lines and plumping up under-eye hollows.

IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @PRINCESSBROWS

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Dark circles are the result of – you guessed it – dark tissues and blood vessels underneath the skin. And as the eyelid skin is thin and lacks opacity, they can easily show through. The cosmetic pigment acts as a buffer between the skin and the underlying darkness; consider it the protective barrier that diffuses darkness before it can emerge onto the surface of the skin.

HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM REGULAR CONCEALER?

Think of it this way: your makeup is covering the under-eye darkness that has already penetrated through the skin – so only the surface discolouration is minimised, not the deeper darkness. Whereas the cosmetic pigment acts as a brightening film directly below the actual under-eye skin – bypassing the need for heavy makeup.

THE VISIBLE WHITE PIGMENT IS EXCESS INK THAT HASN’T BEEN IMPLANTED UNDERNEATH THE SKIN. IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @PRINCESSBROWS

HOW MANY SESSIONS DO YOU NEED?

For maximum coverage (approximately 70%-80%), two sessions are recommended. The sessions are spread apart – dispensing too much pigment at once can result in uneven texture, as the pigment needs time to gradually settle and adjust to the under-eye. The results should last two to three years.

WHAT’S THE RECOVERY LIKE?

Redness may occur immediately after the treatment, so apply a protective ointment to soothe the skin and speed up healing (Bepanthen is a post-tattoo favourite). As the under-eye area is delicate, makeup can only be applied three days post-procedure. Taking extra precautions to protect the sensitised skin from sun exposure is vital, so apply a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 and always wear sunglasses.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS?

Holly Starcevich tells Beauticate that although the results immediately post-procedure are impressive, the long term outcome of the treatment is unpredictable, as the eye region ages at a faster rate than the rest of the skin, and the intensity of dark circles can fluctuate. As parts of the pigment may shift with the skin’s ageing process, over time the tattoo can end up looking patchy or not cover the darkness adequately.

IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @PRINCESSBROWS

WHAT ARE THE REVIEWS LIKE?

The procedure is relatively new, so customer reviews are limited. However, one daring beauty vlogger, Sarah Cheung, took the plunge and recorded the entire process. According to Sarah, “(It) doesn’t completely cover my dark circles, but (they) did get a lot lighter. My eyes look better rested and brighter. I wouldn’t say this replaced my concealer, but it’s for people who still want to look awake without makeup.”

Afraid of needles? Sarah rates the pain a “zero. I wouldn’t even call it pain, it feels like a massage.” As for the recovery: “So easy, I didn’t even have redness.” And two weeks in, Sarah reports that the results are “very natural looking” – all in all, a very positive verdict.

WHO OFFERS THIS IN AUSTRALIA?

As of October 23rd 2018, no Australian cosmetic tattoo artists offer this procedure. But we get the feeling this is going to be big, so stay tuned.

Story by Kristina Zhou

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