Nipple tattooing and nipple micro-pigmentation are options that allow breast cancer survivors, who have undergone a mastectomy, feel more comfortable with their new breasts. After the mastectomy, the natural nipples and areola are removed. Some women find contentment in their new body, however many others have to rely on reconstruction and nipple tattooing to get their confidence back.
So, let’s learn more about nipple tattooing and nipple micro-pigmentation, and how long they last:
What Is Nipple Tattooing or Nipple Micropigmentation?
Nipple tattooing and micro-pigmentation is a semi-permanent cosmetic procedure that creates a hyperreal imitation of areola and nipple for breast cancer survivors. They are an amazing alternative to breast reconstruction surgery, which is an invasive procedure and less preferable by breast cancer survivors.
Nipple tattooing and micro-pigmentation are done by a trained and certified artist, and the procedure involves the same technique as that of eyebrows microblading. Similar to eyebrow microblading, the artist uses a small hand-held electronic device to deposit pigment just under the skin’s surface. Unlike traditional tattoos, cosmetic tattoos do not implant the pigment too deep into the skin.
A professional and certified artist would always use sterile needles for the procedure and dispose of them afterward. Nipple and areola differ slightly from eyebrow microblading in terms of their duration. Where microblade eyebrows last up to 3 years, nipples tattoos exceed that timeline.
Why Would You Get an Areola Tattoo?
Areola tattoo recreates the appearance of nipples using tattoos. One of the top reasons why women get this tattoo is because they have survived breast cancer. In the majority of cases of breast cancer, mastectomy (or double mastectomy if both breasts are affected) is performed which results in survivors losing their breasts alongside their nipples and areola. To feel comfortable in their new body, many breast cancer survivors opt for areola and nipple tattoos.
It’s a struggle for many breast cancer survivors to feel confident in their new appearance, that’s where nipple tattoos come in so that women can reconstruct their bodies the way they like. Nipple and areola tattoos are also an excellent option for those survivors who wish to reconstruct their breasts and wish for a quick and easy procedure.
One thing to point out here is that anyone can get nipple and areola tattoos, and not just breast cancer survivors. Many women suffer from accidents and mishaps that leave them with scars on their breasts. Nipple and areola tattoos are excellent options to cover the scars and correct the size and color of the nipples and areola.
Healing Time and Pain Level
On average – and if everything is done right – the areola tattoo will heal completely in 10-14 days. However, everyone heals differently, and some people might heal quicker while others may take more time. During the healing phase, the tattooed area goes through different stages which include healing, peeling, and eventually lightening.
A few days after getting the tattoo, the candidate would experience scabbing. This is a completely natural process and indicates that the tattoo is healing nicely. The next step involves peeling, in which the scabs will start falling off as the tattooed area heals some more. Let nature run its course and the scab fall off on their one.
Picking the scabs may hinder the healing process. Eventually, the candidate would experience the last stage of healing in which the scabs will fall off and the pigment would begin to appear lighter, less pigmented, and natural.
As far as pain is concerned, breast cancer survivors wouldn’t have much to worry about. During a mastectomy, nerves are often damaged to reduce sensation, which leads to numbness in the area. Most survivors would just feel a slight tingling sensation or a little discomfort at most.
What Will My Down Time Be?
One of the highlights of nipple and areola tattooing is that it has no downtime. The candidate can walk out of the tattoo studio and go about their activities, with just a few exceptions. Preventive measures right after the procedure include no hardcore workouts and exercises for the next 24-hours, and no soaking and swimming for up to a week.
How Long Will an Areola Tattoo Last?
One of the most frequently asked questions about nipple and areola tattooing involves its lasting duration. Like most cosmetic tattoos, areola tattoos also use a different pigment than that of traditional tattoos.
This pigment is skin-safe and much less pigmented than a regular tattoo. The idea behind the cosmetic tattoo is to create and enhance your natural beauty, instead of starting something from scratch. It should also be noted that a cosmetic tattoo injects the pigment just under the surface of the outer layer of the skin. As a result, some of the pigment is lost every time the skin metabolizes and new skin cells are born. This is the reason behind the slow fading of cosmetic tattoos.
Similarly, nipple and areola tattoos fade over time. While you can’t get an exact number of years your tattoo might last, it is safe to say that it will last for years before it starts fading gradually.
To extend the life of the tattoo, a candidate can take preventive measures such as avoiding swimming in chlorinated water and use strong skincare acids such as Retin-A and glycolic acid.
Is It Going to Fade?
Yes, your areola and nipple tattoo would fade over time. Since the pigment is deposited just under the skin in cosmetic tattoos, it metabolizes with the skin. Unlike traditional tattoos, areola tattoos use lighter pigments so that it best matches the skin tone of the candidate and appear as close to natural as possible.
You can slow down the fading process by avoiding excessive swimming in chlorinated and saltwater as well as using skincare products that speed up the skin regeneration cycle. If the tattooed area scabs over, it might also lead to rapid fading of the tattoo.
One of the major factors that guarantee the amazing appearance of your tattoo and its long-lasting effect is your artist. If you are looking to get 3D nipple and areola tattoos, check out the professional and certified artists at Luxe Brow + Lash in Austin, TX.