This is one of the most asked questions today in our industry.
What is the difference between “body art” inks and “pmu” pigments?
Here’s the simple answer:
PMU pigments are combined taking “lightfastness” into consideration. This is true of body art
inks as well, but different lightfastness protocols apply to PMU than body art.
Some of the big reasons are:
- The difference in the depths in which PMU artists work. We both implant ink in the “sweet spot”, also known as the top layer of the dermis. However, the amount of epidermis that covers the areas we tattoo can be significantly different.
- The placement of where artists tattoo on the body. Also, consider the length of time an artist wants a tattoo to last for PMU.
- In PMU pigments the pigment load can be adjusted for a better fade factor.
- In PMU opacity level can be played with, especially in inorganic, this is not typically done in body art inks.
Colors fade differently on the face than on the body. Primarily, this
is due to the UV rays that affect the fading of the pigments.
The face receives more UV in general than other body parts. We know that
pigments are affected by these UV rays. A tattoo that receives and constant
exposure will fade quicker than a tattoo that receives less UV rays or non at all.
For this reason alone, the lightfastness of the pigments combined are
Secondly, the carrier package that the inks are suspended in are different.
The carrier package (fluids like glycerin, water, witch hazel, isopropyl alcohol)
are used to help transport the colorant to the injection site. Some of the same
carriers maybe used in PMU that are used in body art, however, the combination
and amounts used will differ.
When the lightfastness of pigments comes to the face, we do not want a
pigment that will last forever. It’s the opposite, we want one we will be able
to make adjustments to in the future. As the face ages we may want to change the
shape or size of the brow. We may also want to change the color of the brow.
A prime example is if the client develops Glabella (7 or 11”s) lines between
the brows, this can pull the bulbs in to far and create an angry bird look.
Therefore, we may want to change where the bulbs start. Or, the tails may drop
down to low due to the lack of elasticity in the temporal area. In this case we may
want to lift the tails.
As we age, often our skin cools and we grey! Yes, it’s true. We may want to soften
or even completely change the color of a brow we tattooed years ago on a client.
So due to the lightfastness properties of pigments designed for PMU and the carrier packages, it is best to use PMU pigments for PMU procedures.
For more information on this top and other scientific detailed trainings see:
Anne-Marie with Permablend
The PMU Collaborative
Mary Hall Scott
B.S. R.T. (R), CPT, MPS