A young woman in Ho Chi Minh City had a severe case of allergic reaction after having a permanent make-up procedure done on her lips.
N.T.H., a 25-year-old resident of Thu Duc District, recently visited the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital of Dermato-Venereology with her lips swelling and discharging pus.
According to H., she had had a lip blush — a cosmetic tattoo on the lips that enhances their natural color — at a private beauty clinic just four days before.
The patient’s lips began swelling and discharging pus just one day after the procedure.
When she revisited the clinic to check on her condition, H. was prescribed a tube of topical antiviral which she was asked to apply to the irritated area.
However, the cream only worsened her condition.
Doctors at the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital of Dermato-Venereology diagnosed H. with allergic contact dermatitis with superinfection after tattooing.
She is under treatment with antibiotics, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory medication.
The remedy process is expected to take a long time while a full recovery of her lips is uncertain, said Dr. Tran Nguyen Anh Tu, deputy head of the dermatology department at the infirmary.
A few days prior to H.’s case, the hospital also admitted two other patients with lip blush complications, Tu said.
Their lips had developed thick scabs, causing pain and itchiness. They also experienced skin-darkening in patches around the treated area.
The hospital receives an average of three to five cases of permanent lip make-up complications a month, the highest rate among all areas of body tattoos, the hospital said.
According to Dr. Tu, lip tattooing potentially carries a high risk of complications.
Firstly, infections are more common with this type of tattoo and not using sterilized equipment and imposing proper procedures can lead to the transmission of a number of illnesses, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.
Also, the use of poor quality tattoo ink can cause severe allergic reactions including swelling, redness, and blisters.
However, even when good tattoo ink is used, it is impossible to completely rule out an allergic reaction to the ink, especially the red ink used in lip blushing procedures.
And finally, aftercare instructions should be emphasized as most complications happen because patients are not aware of how to take care of their tattooed lips.
“Tattoo fans should carefully research and choose a reputable tattoo shop equipped with sterile equipment,” Dr. Tu advised.
“Should there be any unexpected complications caused by a lip tattoo, the patient should rush to the hospital to avoid worsening conditions."