What Are the Rare Side Effects of Areola Tattoos?

What Are the Rare Side Effects of Areola Tattoos

Areola tattoos, once a little-known procedure, have now emerged as an increasingly popular choice for individuals seeking to enhance or restore the appearance of their breasts. For many cancer survivors, this specialized form of cosmetic tattooing has been instrumental in regaining confidence and a sense of normalcy following breast reconstruction surgery.

Despite the positive impacts and growing acceptance, it is crucial to understand that, like any permanent makeup, there are potential rare side effects associated with areola tattoos. In this article, we will explore the common and uncommon side effects of areola tattoos, providing you with a comprehensive guide to make an informed decision about this life-changing procedure.

1. Bleeding, Swelling, and Discomfort (Very Manageable)

 The most common side effects of areola tattoos are bleeding, swelling, and discomfort during the first few days of the procedure. This is a natural response as the body reacts to the tattooing process, which involves needles penetrating the skin to deposit pigment. The redness and swelling typically subside within a few days to a week, depending on individual healing processes. The level of pain varies depending on individual pain thresholds and the skill of the tattoo artist. While some discomfort is inevitable, it can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Applying a cold compress and following aftercare instructions can help minimize these symptoms.

2. Scabbing and Itching

As the tattoo heals, it’s common to experience itching and scabbing in the tattooed area. This is part of the natural healing process and nothing to worry about.  Remember not to scratch or pick at the scabs, as this can lead to infection or loss of pigment. Keeping the area moisturized with recommended ointments can help alleviate itching and promote healing.

3. Discoloration

As amazing as areola tattoos are, one of their side effects is eventual discoloration and fading over time. Factors that speed up this process include the type of pigment, skin type, artist’s technique, aftercare, and individual lifestyle. Environmental and biological factors also play a role in the discoloration of areola tattoos.

Fortunately, discoloration is preventable with the use of high-quality pigment and the correct tattooing technique. Professional areola tattoo artists also inform their clients about aftercare procedures, such as minimal exposure to sunlight and UV rays, spending less time in chlorinated pools, and minimizing the use of body lotions and cosmetics with harsh ingredients. These prevention measures help increase the lifespan of the tattoo and delay fading and discoloration.

4. Changes in Appearance

Areola tattoos last for years, and some people might notice some changes in their appearance. Aging, weight fluctuations, and hormonal changes can affect the appearance of areola tattoos. The skin around the breasts may stretch or sag, altering the shape and appearance of the tattoo. However, it is nothing to worry about as regular touch-ups will help you maintain the desired look.

5. Allergic Reaction to Pigment

Areola tattoos, like all tattoos, pose a risk of allergic reactions because they involve the use of needles to deposit foreign pigments into the skin. This can trigger an immune response in some individuals. If a person has known allergies, they should undergo a skin allergy test at least 48 hours before the procedure. This involves applying a small amount of pigment to the skin and checking for any reaction, such as a rash, itching, or swelling. Discuss any concerns with your artist and ensure a patch test is performed to mitigate risks.

6. Skin Irritation

Some people may experience irritation after getting areola tattoos. This could be due to various reasons, such as sensitivities to the pigment, needle, aftercare products, or even the topical numbing cream. People with reactive skin or a skin condition may also experience irritation. The irritation may manifest as red skin, itchiness, dryness, and a burning sensation. If you have a history of skin allergies, sensitive skin, or a skin condition, discuss the matter with your artist and doctor beforehand. Some artists use gentle products and techniques to minimize the risk of irritation.

7. MRI Distortion

One of the side effects of areola tattoos is that the pigment may cause image distortion during an MRI scan. However, this is generally not a problem and can be easily managed. Inform your doctor about your tattoo before the scan to ensure the radiologist is aware, preventing any misinterpretation of the images. Any redness or inflammation due to a magnetic reaction with the iron oxide in the pigment can be controlled with a topical steroid cream or Benadryl, ensuring the quality of the imaging remains uncompromised.

8. Keloids

Keloids are overgrowths of scar tissue that can develop at the site of the tattoo due to the body’s healing system going into overdrive and producing more collagen than needed. This is a rare risk of permanent makeup and areola tattoos. Individuals with a history of keloids are at higher risk. Keloids can be treated with corticosteroid injections, laser therapy, or surgical removal. If you have a history of keloid formation, discuss this with your tattoo artist, they may do a patch test to assess the skin’s response or they may suggest alternative options.

9. Granulomas (Very Rare)

Another rare side-effect of areola tattoos is a skin condition called granulomas. Granulomas are small lumps that can form around tattoo particles as a result of the body’s immune response. These are relatively rare but can occur in response to the foreign material in the skin. There are treatments available and it’s recommended to see a doctor at the first sign of the symptoms.

Feel Secure with Safe and Professional Areola Tattoos

Areola tattoos are one of the safest cosmetic procedures with rare risks. They become even safer when performed by a trained and qualified professional who takes all the preventative measures, including asking all the right questions, to ensure safety. It’s crucial to do your due diligence and find a top-tier artist for the job.

If you’re in Austin, TX, reach out to LUXE Brow + Lash and entrust us with your well-being. We are a team of trained artists committed to helping our clients achieve their desired aesthetics without any safety risks or fear.