Nipple Tattoo and How It Can Transform Your Life Post-Mastectomy

Are you a breast cancer survivor who’s undergone a mastectomy? At this point, you may desire a sense of normalcy, especially with your breasts. Did you know that you can have a realistic nipple tattoo done post-mastectomy? It is a life-changing procedure you may want to try.

nipple tattoo post mastectomy

After a mastectomy, you may feel incomplete. Not all survivors are able to spare their nipples and most women are left with scars.

Your body has been permanently altered and with that comes the challenge to accept those new changes. Thankfully, there are medical procedures performed by plastic surgeons like breast reconstruction surgery and nipple reconstruction surgery that can make you feel whole again.

There are also nipple-areola tattoos. What is it? In this article, we’ll learn more about nipple tattoos, how they can change your life and where to book an appointment for a 3D nipple tattoo.

What Are Nipple Tattoos

nipple tattoo post mastectomy

Breast cancer patients may need to undergo a mastectomy. This medical procedure involves the removal of parts or the whole breast to remove cancerous tissues. This also includes the removal of the nipple and areola, which may sound worrying.

Nipple tattoos or areola tattoos are an excellent solution to have natural-looking nipples. An areola tattoo is not just recommended for women who had a mastectomy but also for cosmetic reasons. For example, those who want to improve the appearance of their areola or those who underwent sex reassignment.

As for breast cancer survivors who underwent a mastectomy, this is an excellent option for a non-invasive and less risky procedure if you want to restore the look of your nipples. Nipple tattooing is usually recommended 3-4 months after a mastectomy. This is to ensure that the skin or surgical scars are fully healed before we needle the skin again.

Nipple Reconstruction Surgery + 3D Nipple Tattoos

 

areola tattoo

 

For some, they combine nipple reconstruction surgery and 3D nipple tattoos. A nipple reconstruction surgery is an outpatient procedure where plastic surgeons use small skin flaps in the breast area to create a new nipple. After that, the patient can have a 3D nipple tattoo to add color to the areola for a natural-looking nipple.

Is It Like Traditional Tattooing?

It is similar to traditional tattooing; it is permanent and performed by professional tattoo artists. However, nipple tattoos are a form of art, using the color pigment of a nipple.

Nipple tattooing is often offered at a medical center or at tattoo shops, but there are also specially trained artists who offer this service. We would suggest searching for a professional tattoo artist who specializes in nipple tattooing, not an ordinary tattoo shop.

Nipple tattooing specializes in creating the illusion of a realistic nipple: it involves using visual tricks, hard edges, soft edges, shading variations, and true-to-life features to make it look real. In fact, 3D nipple tattoos are also a thing.

nipple tattoo

With 3D nipple tattoos, the artist uses an oscillating tattoo needle coated with a nipple-colored pigment. The pigment is then inserted into the skin to create a realistic appearance of a nipple. By realistic-looking, we’re talking about light pink to brownish-black color that matches your skin color and is circular or oval in shape.

Who Can Benefit From Nipple Tattoos

Let’s get one thing perfectly clear; nipple tattoos are not just for breast cancer survivors who underwent mastectomy but for cosmetic reasons as well. Who can benefit from getting a nipple tattoo?

  • Breast cancer survivors (after mastectomy)
  • Areola restoration caused by injury or accident
  • Those who underwent procedures like breast augmentation, breast reconstruction surgery, breast lift, sex reassignment surgery, or keyhole surgery and want to improve the appearance of their nipple.
  • Men and women
  • Improve the overall appearance of the breast: To cover scars, improve areola symmetry, and enhancement of the nipple color.

What Are the Advantages of Nipple Tattoos

 

Here’s the thing, breast cancer survivors have the freedom to choose which procedure they prefer after mastectomy. As mentioned above, there’s nipple reconstruction surgery, breast reconstruction surgery, and nipple tattoos; for others, they combine it.

However, the idea of undergoing another surgery in the hands of plastic surgeons after having a mastectomy may sound overwhelming for some. Just after scar recovery, undergoing another medical treatment or visiting the doctor is stressful.

That is why more breast cancer survivors prefer a less invasive and less intimidating procedure like a nipple tattoo. Here are some advantages of nipple tattoos, why more people choose them over nipple reconstruction surgery:

Quick and Far Less Risky

A nipple tattoo is quick, far less risky, and far more painless compared to a nipple reconstruction surgery. This makes it a better option for those who feel worried about going under the knife again.

Restores Confidence

After a mastectomy, with the scarring and removed nipple, a breast cancer survivor may feel incomplete and have a poor body image perception. With a nipple tattoo, patients gain back their confidence.

Faster Healing Process

Compared to nipple reconstruction surgery, a 3D nipple tattoo has a faster healing process. The healing may only take 7-10 days after a nipple tattoo, while with nipple reconstruction surgery, it may take several weeks to months.

Less Painful

After a nipple reconstruction surgery, the patient may feel weak and need pain medications. This is not the case for 3D nipple tattoos. You won’t be needing pain medications.

Improve Intimacy

Many women may feel embarrassed to take their clothes off in front of their partner after a mastectomy, resulting in loss of sexual desires. With a realistic-looking nipple tattoo, a woman feels more confident and improves the intimacy in the relationship.

FAQs About 3D Nipple Tattoos

1. Is Nipple Tattoo Painful?

The pain is tolerable during a 3D nipple tattoo procedure. As for some women who underwent mastectomy, there are no sensations; as a result, there will be little to no pain. A 3D nipple tattoo artist may use topical anesthetics to reduce pain and provide comfort during the procedure.

2. Do Nipple Tattoos Fade?

It will not fade; instead, it will have a lighter shade 4-6 weeks after the scabs have fallen off. You can always opt for a touch-up if you’re not satisfied with the final shading.

3. Is Nipple Tattoo Procedure Safe?

Yes, a nipple tattoo procedure is safe. With a proper aftercare regimen, you can avoid infections during the recovery process. Always inform your tattoo artist if you have previous allergic reactions to tattoo inks to prevent complications.

4. Does Insurance cover 3D Tattoos?

Typically, the 3D nipple tattoo is covered under private insurance. Always check with your health insurance provider before undergoing the procedure just to make sure. If not, you can pay in cash.

Finding a Professional 3D Nipple Tattoo Artist

nipple tattoo

 

Nipple tattooing is the final step in a breast cancer survivor’s journey. It’s like getting a traditional tattoo, and it’s to mark a milestone and celebrate life’s precious moments. At this point, what is your next step? To find a professional 3D nipple tattoo artist.

Hello! My name is Jayd Hernandez, proud owner of Studio Conceal and professional Camouflage Tattoo Artist based in Gilbert, Arizona. My passion is to promote a positive body image through transformative solutions. Furthermore, I aim to train more artists to promote this cause.

Our body is our temple, and we should take care of it. I believe that you deserve a body that you can be proud of. That’s why I started Studio Conceal. My passion for art, design, and human shape inspired me to offer services like 3D Areola Tattoo Restoration, Scalp Micropigmentation, Stretch Mark, and Scar Camouflage Tattoo.

Many women, even men, may have low self-esteem when looking at their imperfections. This shouldn’t be this way! I search for solutions to correct your imperfections. You deserve to make this powerful change in your life, and I’m here to help you heal.

3d nipple tattoo

Before and After Nipple Tattoo at Studio Conceal

What to Expect in a Nipple Tattoo Procedure at Studio Conceal

Here at Studio Conceal, expect experience, heart connection, and artistic ability combined. With our years of training and experience, I’ve had many satisfied patients happy with the final result of their chosen procedure.

nipple tattoo artist

Furthermore, I have helped many aspiring camouflage tattoo artists to fulfill their calling through our training program. Here at Studio Conceal, here’s what you can expect from our 3D Areola Restoration services.

Consultation

Before the procedure, you can book a free consultation through the website. You just need to answer some questions and fill in some details. Our free consultations at Studio Conceal can be done by phone or in-person in our office located at SanTan Village 2212 E. Williams Field Rd. Suite 200.

It helps if I can check the area we need to work on to determine the best way to proceed. We’ll create a plan depending on your preferences. We will talk about the size of the nipples, placement, pigment colors, and everything you need to know about the procedure.

If you have any questions, this is the best time to ask me your concerns. If you’ve had allergic reactions to the pigment ink before, do let me know. I will also give you instructions on preparing on the day of the procedure, what to expect, and the after-care.

On the Day

On the day of the procedure, expect to spend at least three hours in the shop to finish the whole process. However, the actual tattoo time for both nipples will typically take about 30 minutes to 1 hour. You will need to fill up a health questionnaire and sign a consent form before we start.

On the day of the procedure, I recommend that you wear a top that you could easily take off, like a loose shirt or a buttoned blouse. During the procedure, you will be asked to remove your top and bra.

This is to avoid the tattoo ink from transferring to your clothing. Then you will be draped with a robe during the tattoo process. After the procedure, the tattooed area will be dressed with a protective cover or a bandage.

Make sure you have showered and have clean skin before going to our office. Don’t apply any lotion, moisturizer, or numbing agent on your nipples. The procedure takes place in a private room, so you’re comfortable to undress. The areola area will be disinfected before the tattoo session starts.

During the Procedure

Before we start, we’ll go over all the details we talked about during the consultation, like shading, placement, color, and design markings. This is to ensure that we’re on the same page. Once you approve, we’ll proceed with the nipple tattoo. The actual tattoo time for each nipple is around 15-30 minutes.

The Aftercare

After the procedure, a protective bandage will be applied to your tattoo. Expect to see some mild scabbing or flaking; this is normal, just like the healing in a traditional tattoo. The total healing time is about 7-10 days.

As for the aftercare and healing process, here’s what you need to remember:

  • Keep the area clean at all times. Wash the area 1-2x a day with antimicrobial soap and water. Pat dry before applying the ointment.
  • Apply an antibacterial ointment a few times a day for several days.
  • Wear a bandage or non-stick pad for the first few days so it won’t stick to your clothing.
  • Avoid touching, peeling, scratching, or rubbing the area until the scabbing entirely falls off.
  • Overexposure to water like swimming in the pool or beach is best avoided.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes and avoid excess sweating.

Book a Nipple Tattoo Appointment With Studio Conceal Now

nipple tattoo az

Here at Studio Conceal, our team will guide you throughout the whole process. We take pride in all our services, and we plan each procedure meticulously. Why choose Studio Conceal? We are masters of our craft and we address every case differently to accomplish the best results.

Change your life now and take this brave step for a better you and a better life. Our experienced team of tattoo artists is here to help you heal from the scars that remind you of your battle with breast cancer. Book an appointment now.

Also, make sure to check out our page of the before and after transformations of our dear clients. We can’t wait to be a part of your healing journey!

 

References:

[1] https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/reconstruction/types/nipple#:~:text=The%20choice%20is%20completely%20up,settle%20into%20a%20final%20position.

[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/nipple-reconstruction-surgery#methods

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2902108/

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What is SMP?

Scalp Micro Pigmentation (SMP) was developed as both a cosmetic procedure for men and women suffering with all types of hair loss, and as a medical procedure to help conceal scars, burns, birthmarks, as well as the full spectrum of alopecia. During the SMP procedure, a blend of unique pigments specifically formulated for the client are deposited into the dermal layer of the skin on the scalp. These deposits create an extremely realistic illusion that replicates hair follicles. SMP is a viable alternative to traditional hair transplant surgery, hair systems, pills, and fibers.. Around the world, thousands of clients live their lives free from hair loss without lengthly maintenance routines, unwelcome side effects or signifiant ongoing financial outlay.

Does scalp micropigmentation look real?

A typical scalp hair from a Caucasian woman is about 77 micrometers in diameters (67 Um in those of Asian descent, and 120 Um in those African descent). Typically, SMP dots placed in the dermis layer are 90-140 micrometers in diameter.

While this might seem a bit larger than a real human hair, this slight difference is virtually indistinguishable from real hair follicles. Often, when viewed 1 foot away, close friends and family will not be able to tell where real hair ends and the SMP begins.

What causes hair loss?

As hair on the scalp goes through it’s normal cycle of growing and shedding, DHT makes the follicles miniaturize. That means they get thinner and shorter because the growing cycle doesn’t last as long. The growing cycle becomes so brief that new hairs can’t grow through the skin. For women, hair loss can be caused by an imbalance of thyroid hormones, pregnancy, disease and certain medications.

How long will SMP last for?

With proper care and treatment, including using high sunscreen when outside, SMP will commonly last for many years. For a healthy client with a normal immune system, we expect that the color will last with original vibrance for about 4-6 years, with gradual fading of the pigment to last up to 8 years.

Fortunately, if a touch up is needed, a fee is charged which is generally cheaper per session than the original treatment fee. It’s important to note that each individual is different so an estimated range of longevity will be provided at our consultation meeting.

Will SMP fade, smear, or turn blue as the years pass?

Any pigment applied to the dermal layer of the skin will eventually fade, but we expect SMP to last several years or more, before even minimal fading is noticed. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun often breaks apart some tattoo inks for easier absorption by the body, resulting in increased fade rates and slight smearing. As the inks are degraded, their chromophores are often altered resulting in changed color. If this occurs, we can easily offer touch up sessions, or revise the ink color by adding additives to mute, neutralize, or warm up the tone again.

Is SMP reversible? Is receiving SMP treatment painful?

Yes, SMP pigmentation can be removed with an electro-optic Q switched laser, which is used to heat and break-up the SMP pigmentation for easier absorption by phagocytes in the dermis. SMP is fairly easy to remove in most cases because the pigment is not deposited as deeply as normal tattoo ink. The electro-optic laser, however is expensive and therefore, many clinics which advertise laser removal do not actually own one.

As for pain, it depends on the individual. In some cases, clients have fallen asleep while I have completed treatment. In other cases, clients experience pain across the temples or above the ears during treatment. Most clients rate their pain on a scale of 1-10, as 3-5 during treatment.

How long will it take for my final SMP appearance to form?

A normal client depending on hair loss extent, will take two to four treatments to achieve their final appearance. Most treatments are 2-3 hours long with small breaks as needed. The first treatment often places a very light application on the scalp to assess fading and density levels. The normal reaction from many clients is to assume that the SMP is too light. However, this is a normal part of the treatment and allows me to better treat the scalp in later sessions. The second treatment is 10-14 days later, and adds the majority of the density to your new look. Treatments three or later are usually for completing the look, addressing darkness matching or to even the density across the scalp.

What will my scalp look like immediately after treatment?

The area of the scalp that has been treated will have some redness for 24 hours after treatment, though this tends to be less visible on darker skin tones. In addition, the pigmentation will be darker for up to 7 days after treatment, again, depending on your skin tone. Thereafter, the pigmentation will appear to become lighter and softer as the pigment filled scabs begin to flake away. These scabs flake away in the first 3 to 10 days. As this happens, it appears to the observer that the SMP dots are shrinking. When the healing process is complete, the final dots are often 90 to 170 Um in diameter and blend seamlessly into any natural hair. By about one month, after any treatment, the pigments will begin to “set” and thereafter, fading will be almost zero.

How do I choose a hairline? If I have hair left, can I leave it long?

If you are unsure of what style or type of hairline will work or you, I will be there to help. With an artistic eye and experience on how to fit a hairline to head shape and age, I can help recommend what’s best. Over the course of our sessions, we can tweak and adjust the hairline for the perfect, natural result.

Depending upon the pattern and extent of your current hair, some clients are able to maintain a longer length. Scalp micropigmentation can help thicken areas so that less of the scalp is seen showing through. However, if there is a strong pattern of hair loss or just not a lot of hair density left, the client is recommended to crop it shorter.

Can Studio Conceal camouflage my transplant scar?

Yes, absolutely! By replicating tiny hair follicles inside the scarring and blending the color around the scarring area, transplant and surgical scars can see massive improvement in concealment.

DOES THIS TREATMENT REMOVE STRETCH MARKS?

Other than a tummy tuck, or the literal removal of skin, there is no proven way to remove stretch marks. The Stretch Mark Camouflage Tattoo only helps to conceal and diminish the appearance of stretch marks so that they are less perceptible to the naked eye. Think of it as having a permanent filter, taking away the white contrast of your scars.

IS THE TREATMENT SUITABLE FOR ALL SKIN TYPES?

Generally, yes! However, there are a small number of people who the treatment would not be suitable for. Your stretch marks and scars need to be at least two years old, lighter than your skin tone and completely healed. Booking a virtual consultation can help determine if you’re a candidate for this procedure and is required for all clients.

CAN I GET TATTOOED IF MY SKIN IS ALREADY TANNED?

We prefer to match only your natural skin tone, and require that our clients postpone their session until their tan has faded. This ensures that we are able to custom blend an ink color that will look most natural whether you’re tanned or not.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I TAN?

Your camouflaged stretch marks and scars will not change color. If you tan, your skin’s overtone will darken, but your stretch marks will remain the same color as your natural skin-toned ink tattoo. Overall, your stretch marks will still be camouflaged because the “white” is no longer there. In short, there’s less of an obvious contrast. Here’s a great video explaining what happens to your stretch mark tattoos when you tan.

WILL IT HURT? DO YOU NUMB YOUR CLIENTS?

The Stretch Mark Camouflage Tattoo is a penetrative skin procedure so a small amount of discomfort will be experienced. Usually on a scale 1-10 (10 being most painful), the average consensus is a 6 or 7. We do not numb our clients to avoid any interference to the purity and insertion of pigment into the scar. In addition, your pain receptors will be heightened if you’re on your monthly cycle, and so we suggest you book your session/touch ups accordingly.

CAN I GET THE TREATMENT WHILE PREGNANT OR BREAST-FEEDING?

Congratulations on your pregnancy, but unfortunately, we are unable to treat women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. We look forward to treating you once your little one is weaned and your scars have been fully healed (usually within two years).

HOW WILL I LOOK IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARDS?

There’s little to no downtime. Most Clients can resume work the same day, or even fly home after their session. It’s normal to experience redness and swelling immediately after the procedure for 1-3 days. For the first 3 days, you’ll be given strict instructions on how to minimize inflammation, speed up the wound healing phase, and how to “ice” the area and keep it clean. Over the next few weeks, the redness will dissipate and go through a variety of shades (from dark to light) until your skin heals. We’ll be in contact with you every step of the way.

HOW QUICKLY WILL I SEE RESULTS?

Everyone’s skin is different. Variables include age, diet, hormones, general health, overtones, sun exposure, etc and so it’s impossible to give an exact number of days it will take you to heal. On average, it takes 45-60 days, but if you’re prone to hyper-pigmentation (you naturally scar dark), it will most likely take longer to heal. During your consultation, we can discuss and assess your skin’s estimated timeline and variables.
*Here’s a recent case study of our fastest healing client to help you speed along your recovery!

HOW LONG WILL THE RESULTS OF THE PROCEDURE LAST?

The Stretch Mark Camouflage Tattoo is a penetrative skin treatment that’s only been around for 6-7 years. According to our industry, it’ll last 5 years, or more provided that the correct after-care procedures are adhered to. You may or may not need a touch up after 5-6 years. Remember, a stretch mark is a scar and so the skin is trickier to penetrate. In addition, as we age, all tattoos transition and change on our skin because there’s less elasticity and melanin production. This can effect your stretch mark camouflage tattoo, as well.

WHAT IS THE COST OF THE PROCEDURE?

The total cost of the procedure varies greatly per technician and is dependent on the location and severity of the stretch marks or scar requiring treatment. Studio Conceal charges anywhere between $500-$2,000/ per area. We require an initial consultation (in-person or virtual) free of charge with zero pressure, during which the final cost can be determined by a formal quote.

DO YOU OFFER PAYMENT PLANS?

Yes we do! We’ve partnered with United Medical Credit to offer easy, reliable financing for all camouflage services and training. It’s really easy to apply and only takes 3 minutes to get approved. They’ll do a soft credit check to determine your options and will be in contact with you in 24 hours. Apply for financing of tattoo treatment or training here, hassle free.

STRETCH MARK CAMOUFLAGE TATTOO VS. LASER TREATMENTS?

While Laser Treatments do work on stretch marks by damaging the skin’s outer layer and forcing it to heal itself, they do not put color back into the skin. So almost all clients who get Laser Treatments for their stretch marks still have noticeable stretch marks. In fact, many of our clients have had many Laser Treatment procedures prior to walking into our studio. Another huge difference is the cost of that treatments. Laser Treatments could run $1,000 to $3,000 per session, and can easily end up costing the client over $10,000 overall.
*Here’s a short video going over the differences of microneedling vs. laser vs. the stretch mark camouflage tattoo