MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Tattoo nightmares. They’re permanent and if you later regret it, it’s a lengthy and expensive process to get them fixed. Now imagine that mistake on your face. It happened to Cathy Ahern who had to endure a long and expensive journey to fix a botched eyebrow job.

A quick online search reveals plenty of horror stories of permanent make-up gone wrong.

Diane Makish has been doing permanent makeup for more than 10 years and she sees clients come in with big problems.

“It’s got kind of a bad stigma attached to it,” Makish explained.

Permanent cosmetics or cosmetic tattoos are colors tattooed into the skin, filling in your eyebrows, lips, or around your eyes, like eyeliner.

“The whole point in doing permanent make-up is that it enhances facial features, it doesn’t take away from them,” Makish said. But she added that fixing the mistakes of others is becoming more common. “I’ve been seeing a lot more. One or two correction cases a week.”

Cathy Ahern came to Makish, desperate for a fix after what she called a botched eyebrow job. “The mother did this eyebrow and the daughter did this one. The daughter said ‘I like this one better.’ I said ‘Oh no’.” Ahern recalled.

Makish said the person who did Cathy’s eyebrows tattooed them too close together, one is a little higher than the other and the color is too dark. She said if the artist uses black, it can turn purple or blue. “You have people that buy a couple colors and use the same colors on everybody,” Makish explained. “The problem is there’s no regulation. Anyone with a tattoo license can do it. It’s very easy to start tattooing.”

CBS4 News did some checking online and there are a few requirements for getting a tattoo license. You have to fill out a form and pay a fee. There are also education courses you have to complete online. After you get a tattoo license, anyone can start cosmetic tattooing.

Makish recommended going to someone with at least 5 years of experience. Also, she said go to someone in a doctor’s office and ask to see examples of the artist’s work. It’s a lesson Ahern had to learn the hard way.

She needed three laser removal sessions to lighten the old tattoos before Makish could fix them. She needed 5 weeks between each session to heal. So, after 3 months, Diane could tattoo new eyebrows on her face.

Ahern needed 3 more weeks to heal. That’s when we caught up with Cathy to see how she looked.

She said she can finally feel like herself again. “I feel very happy now about how I look.” Ahern said.

Makish said not all botched jobs can be fixed, but she’s hoping Ahern’s story is a warning to others about the potential risks.

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