Acute Communicable
Disease Control

Contact Information
County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
Acute Communicable Disease Control
313 N. Figueroa Street, #212
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 240-7941
Fax: (213) 482-4856

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Permanent Makeup / Body Art
Key Points:
  • You should check to confirm that the artist is licensed and certified
  • Discuss any allergies you have
  • Only new and sterile needles should be used

What is it?

Permanent makeup, also known as cosmetic tattooing, is the same procedure as traditional tattooing. A technician uses a needle to insert pigments into the dermis layer of the skin to change the skinís appearance. The most common changes are made to the lips, brows, and eyes to imitate the look of cosmetics like lipstick, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and brow liner. The results may last for months or years depending on factors like the type of pigments used and sun exposure.

Who can perform it?
All persons who perform body art are required to register with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LAC DPH), or other local agency if outside of Los Angeles County. Los Angeles County requires an annual Body Art Practitioner Registration with proof of completion of a county approved Blood Borne Pathogens Exposure Control Training. Businesses must also obtain a public health permit. Always make sure the professional you choose to work with has all necessary certifications or licenses and is able to answer safety questions to your satisfaction.

Permanent makeup is generally considered safe but carries the same risks as other tattoos. The most serious is the risk of infection from improperly sanitized tools and equipment. You should be able to see your technician open new, sterile needles in front of you and use new gloves for your procedure.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), allergic reactions to the pigments used in tattooing and permanent makeup are rare, but they can be hard to treat because the allergen is very difficult to remove; therefore, make sure to discuss any allergies. The FDA also lists granulomas (nodules that form around foreign material), keloids (excessive scarring), and removal problems as risks of permanent makeup.


Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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