Permanent makeup pros and cons for those with Parkinson’s disease

Applying makeup is challenging with Parkinson's disease. What are the options?

Lori DePorter avatar

by Lori DePorter |

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Little things can sometimes make a big impact when life happens and fate changes our plans. Everything is constantly changing — including my looks.

During a recent conversation about permanent makeup, I announced, “I miss eyeliner and mascara.” Seeing the perplexed look on the faces of those around me, I explained that my tremors from Parkinson’s disease had presented challenges. Applying eye makeup is difficult, but I still wear it on special occasions. And because I always try to lighten the mood, I joked that I had avoided traumatic injuries, but there was a high probability of poking myself in the eye.

Permanent makeup sounded great, so I researched the procedure.

The Cleveland Clinic notes that people with Parkinson’s disease are among those who might consider getting permanent makeup, which is a cosmetic tattoo that’s also called micropigmentation. However, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are factors to consider, including the risk of infection, allergic reactions to the ink, granulomas, and scarring.

The ink in permanent makeup also sometimes interferes with the accuracy of MRI images, particularly with eyeliner. And with that, my option of permanent eyeliner disappeared because future MRIs are on my calendar due to a research study I’m participating in. Plus, permanent makeup is a tattoo involving needles, and I do not like needles, especially next to my eyeball!

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Alternatives to permanent makeup

While there are alternatives to permanent eyebrow makeup, the options for eyeliner are limited. Rather than being defeated, though, I researched assistive devices and found an article by Byrdie titled “The Best Makeup Tools for Those With Limited Hand Mobility of 2023,” which featured a guide, a stencil, and flexible brushes.

Thrive Causemetics offers a vegan, waterproof, semipermanent eyeliner that, together with an assistive device, would be viable and less expensive. While the odds of poking myself in the eye continue to rise, I will give eyeliner my best shot.

Another issue I’m facing is the number of hairs in the sink each morning, which is alarming. My hair is thinning. Whether it’s due to Parkinson’s disease, medications, menopause, or Hashimoto’s disease is a mystery. My hairline is receding fast, and the number of hairs in the sink exceeds the 50 to 100 hairs an average person sheds daily.

While I’m skeptical of its efficacy, a prescription topical compound of minoxidil and finasteride has facilitated new hair growth and slowed my receding hairline. However, those cute new hairs fall out when my Parkinson’s brain forgets to tell me to apply my magic scalp potion each night.

There also are vitamins specific to hair loss, but there is little medical evidence about how effective supplements are.

Permanent makeup and surgically transplanting hair from the back to the front are options for a receding hairline. However, using hair products and creative hairstyles to create a fuller hair look has become part of my daily routine.

There’s a blurred line between what is missing in life due to Parkinson’s progression and what is missing due to life in general. Either way, it is a life lesson about enjoying the simple things now. We shouldn’t wait until they’re gone.

Be sure to visit our Parkinson’s News Today Forums and the comments below to share any tips you have discovered.

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


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