Allergies, Patch testing and reactions with Microblading

Posted by Racheal Keeley on

Are you unsure what an allergic reaction to Cosmetic tattooing or otherwise known as Eyebrow Microblading is? or how to prevent it?

This article has come from a long time of research here at Hier Arch brow Academy. After speaking to Microblading artists about reactions and patch testing, there seems to be a little grey area on what to do, how to do it, why and what to look for. 

We need to start with a disclaimer. A note that explains a few things in boring but straightforward terms.

Disclaimer: This article is specifically about Hier Arch Patch Testing in Australia with the pigments we specifically use. It’s always important to check with the manufacturer of your pigment brands requirements before implementing your policies and procedures. You will also need to check with your insurers on what they specifically require. When in doubt, stick to what you were taught in your training. 

Now that’s out of the way. Let’s dive straight in…

Eyebrow Microblading reactions, my guess is that you may have heard about it happening, or you fear it happening to you am i right?


In the blog – I want to cover the difference between a reaction and infection, and what to do if it ever happens to you. 

One reason we tend to shy away from talking about microblading reactions or allergies, is because we don’t want them to happen. Although reactions are rare, it’s important to understand how they happen, and what you can do to prevent them. around cosmetic 


Infections due to Eyebrow microblading treatments are rare but could still occur, mostly at the hands of poorly trained artists. Even if you do everything right, an allergic reaction is still possible. It’s tricky because symptoms of both are highly similar. Knowing the key differences between the two will help you determine the best solution.  


Allergic reaction: source: Alissa Ashley

An allergic reaction will usually show  redness and swelling in the brow area. The client may notice more than the normal puffiness along the brow bone. 

This is often due to having allergy to nickel found in the pigments. They might also be allergic to the aftercare cream, or they can even be allergic to the latex in gloves. An allergic reaction will usually occur 24-48 hours after the treatment. 

If your client experiences these symptoms, it’s important to rule out causes that are due to improper aftercare. If it’s truly an allergic reaction, the best thing to do is to advise them to consult their doctor  ASAP.  

An allergic reaction is less problematic because it is not due to unsanitary practices or artist’s mistake. However it’s very important to consult with your client to help determine what they are allergic to. Usually, after their visit to the dr they will have a clear idea of what caused the allergy.

You may still be able to do the second session if the allergy is something you can avoid – ie if the client is allergic to latex, you can wear nitrile gloves during their treatment. If the allergy has come from the aftercare cream, you can switch to an alternative that’s approved by your trainer. 


The above symptoms of allergic reactions would also be present during an infection. The key is to look for these additional symptoms:  

They may notice an odour coming from the brow area and a greenish or brownish fluid weeping from the area. If the infection becomes serious, the swelling may extend to the eyelids and the redness to the scalp or neck. These could also be signs of facial cellulitis which is a bacterial infection. 

Infected Microblading, source: Google


If a client gets an infection, it is most likely due to either: the artist not following sanitation guidelines or impacting an open wound, OR the client has not followed the after care and has been exposed to bacteria during the healing. 

A well trained artist must  have the highest standard of sanitation to ensure this doesn’t happen from their clinic

Most importantly, go back to your sanitation checklist. It could be the simplest, most trivial things that you’ve missed:  

  • Did you wash your hands and wear gloves?  
  • Were your tools sterilised?  
  • What pre and post care products did you use and are they appropriate to the client’s skin?
  • Was the treatment room and equipment sterilised?
  • What aftercare did the client follow? Did they use/come into contact with anything they should have avoided. 

If an infection occurs, the client needs to contact their doctor immediately to be treated correctly. 

It is also very important to determine how and why this happened – so the chance of it happening again can be eliminated. 


You always want to set yourself up for success, this means having a strict hygiene policy and protocols to follow in between clients. It’s good to be prepared for problems but it’s better to avoid them.

Choosing a Microblading training course that will teach you how to minimise these errors from the start, so you don’t run into sticky situations down the track, is crucial. Each state follows strict guidelines that by law, you need to follow. This will ensure that your cosmetic tattoo studio is hygienic and sanitary.

Patch testing

Depending on the brand of pigment you use, patch testing may be required. This is usually done around 48 hour before your clients treatment.

patch tests are carried out to check if your client is allergic to the nikel found in some pigments (iron oxide).

How to patch test: You can Microblade a small hair stroke behind your clients ear, and rub pigment in it. Allow to sit for around 5 minutes, then wipe off. Apply some healing balm and instruct your client to monitor the area over the next 48 hours.

A reaction: the area may get red, hot, itchy or swollen. This is a sign there may be an allergy present. I would void moving forward with the treatment if this occurs.

Always check with your trainer when in doubt, you can also ask your client for photographs of the area after 24/48 hours for you to asses.

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