Eyelid tattooing is not unlike normal tattooing, despite many myths and rumors (such as spoons inserted beneath them).
The most common examples of this type of tattooing is 'permanent makeup' tattoos, mimicking eye shadow and/or eyeliner. Designs have been done in the past (i.e. open pupils), but the tendency for the eyelid to be somewhat wrinkled even when closed often obscures such designs and prevents the desired effect.
Due to the increased risks of working near the eyes and on such thin skin, the tattooist must be specially trained and very adept at controlling their machine. Additionally, special inks using pigments less potentially damaging to the eyes should be used — thus somewhat limiting the color spectrum. During the tattooing process the eye is repeatedly flushed out with a saline rinse. Healing time is normal, but due to the area and swelling some people find it a bit more difficult and have their vision adversely affected for a short period afterwards. It is not dissimilar to have two black eyes. Multiple sessions are often required to achieve solid, lasting color.
Some cosmeticians and beauty parlors offer an alternative device sometimes referred to as a cosmetic or permanent makeup pen. Most experienced tattoo artists point out that this device is essentially a poorly constructed tattoo machine and that its operators often have little more than a few hours training in its operation.