Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is nipple tattooing?

A: We use a tattoo machine to deposit color into the dermal layer of the skin to tattoo on a nipple-areolar complex. We can do this over a reconstructed nipple to add color to the existing nipple and create a surrounding areolar. We can add color and highlights to an existing reconstructed nipple-areolar complex to add color and highlights for an improved look, and we can also create a 3D nipple tattoo.

Q: What are 3D nipple tattoos?

A: 3D nipple tattoos are created using a tattoo technique that gives the appearance of the areolar complex along with a projected nipple without the projection. Therefore, women can have a projected look when they look at themselves in the mirror unclothed, but without the unwanted projection if they would like to eliminate the need for a bra under their clothes.

Q: Why have areola or 3D Tattooing?

A: Medical tattooing for the breast or nipple areola micro-pigmentation, can be used in the following:

In breast reconstruction patients after a mastectomy, to recreate a natural and realistic appearing nipple areola complex. This can be done over a nipple reconstruction or without using 3D tattooing technique .

After other breast procedures, such as breast reduction, where the pigment has been lost or to achieve areola symmetry.

To darken light areola pigment per client preference.

After your surgeon has rebuilt your breast, the tattoo is the finishing step of the reconstruction. It restores a feminine appearance to the breast

If you chose to have a nipple reconstruction procedure, the color is applied to the nipple and surrounding skin to create natural looking areola.

If you chose to avoid additional surgery or have found your previously created nipple has flattened out and is no longer dimensional, then a 3D tattoo is a great option. This type of tattoo is essentially a portrait tattoo of a nipple. It requires a 3 dimensional illusion to be created on a 2 dimensional surface. With specialized training, the artist can create a realistic, natural looking nipple and areola using light and shadow techniques.

Q: What should I expect at my appointment?

A: At your appointment we will discuss your expectations and any concerns you might have.

There is paperwork that will need to be filled out. Items such as; a general health history form, a consent form for treatment and one for photos .

Before and After photos will be taken .

After care instructions will be reviewed.


Q: What is the process?

A: Pigment is implanted into the skin by small needles that puncture skin at a high frequency. The needles leave behind pigment using the same equipment used for body art tattoos. I use traditional tattoo ink, not cosmetic facial pigment. The skin heals, creating a natural nipple areola complex tattoo.

Each client will have an in depth consult prior to the tattoo. We will discuss the best color, size and shape and placement of the tattoo. The actual tattooing will take about 30-60 minutes.

The area will have slight redness and feel similar to a sunburn for a few days post procedure. You will be instructed on aftercare for the area.

Q: Does the tattoo fade?

A: Yes, in varying degrees. Initially, the ink the tattoo will look very bright and darker than the actual ink used, but as skin heals, the skin cells that were damaged from the trauma of the tattooing process, are shed and replaced by new, pigment-free cells. This is why the color may look less deep and vibrant later on compared to when it was first tattooed. With proper healing and aftercare, your tattoo can look beautiful for years to come.

Please note, that if you have applied any type of topical anesthetic cream or ointment to your skin prior to your tattoo, it will change the skin and how it accepts pigment. This will result automatically in you requiring 2 sessions to achieve full color take on your tattoo. There will be a reduced sitting fee for the 2nd appointment but there will be much less time involved.

Q: Is it safe?

A: Yes, areola/nipple tattooing is safe. No procedure comes without risks involved however, such as allergic reaction to the ink and infection of the skin/ tissue. We will discuss the risks at the time of your appointment. Single-use disposable needles and disposable cups for pigments are used along with strict aseptic protocols for hand washing and gloves are worn at all times.

Post procedural instructions, should be followed to ensure safe healing.

Q: Can I get an MRI afterwards?

A: Please always check with your physician and MRI technician. However, in the instances where MRI discomfort has resulted, it usually is reported as localized and temporary.

Q: Does it hurt?

A: Everyone has a different pain tolerance but most patients report it very tolerable. Also, there usually is decreased sensation of the skin to a more or less degree, depending on the type of breast reconstruction you had. Tattooing is a superficial process and afterwards feels comparable to a minor sunburn for a few days.

Q: How do I care for my new tattoo?

A: Aftercare is primarily a matter of keeping the area clean (showers only until healed), no immersing the tattoo in water, avoiding direct and artificial sunlight. You may want to keep that in mind when scheduling your appointment. Do not let the tattoo dry out. There may be some itching and peeling of the skin for the first week or two. Once healed, your tattoo will be soft and natural looking. Keeping the skin hydrated and using broad spectrum sun protection are key to keeping your tattoo vibrant for years to come.

Because tattooing causes trauma to the skin, it may take longer to heal in post radiation treated skin, those with autoimmune disorders or taking immunosuppressive medication, or in diabetics.

See the aftercare instructions you are provided at your appointment.

Q: Can I bring a support person to my appointment?

A: Yes.

Q: Is there anything I need to do before my appointment?

A: Make sure you eat on the day of the procedure.

Wear a comfortable, loose fitting clothing top that opens in the front.

It is OK to wear a bra.

Try to avoid alcohol as it also tends to thin the blood.

If you take aspirin or an NSAID for aches and pains, I would prefer you use Tylenol (if you can tolerate it) as it does not thin the blood, for a few days prior to the tattoo. However, DO NOT STOP regularly prescribed blood thinning medications from your physician, (aspirin or prescriptions). The tattoo is a superficial procedure, not an invasive surgery.