Right, let’s get to it. If you have taken the time to watch my TED talk, you will understand why the permanence of a tattoo can be so important, especially when it comes to Areola tattooing.
The fading of a tattoo can be detrimental to someone that has had a breast reconstructions mental health. The excitement of feeling complete, being taken away in the space of a few months is a traumatic experience for many.
I have researched and researched why the hospital tattoos fade so quickly, and I can’t seem to find a definitive answer. The science of pigments and what makes them fade, seems to be a subject with not much accessible information.
Tattoos and the way they work is amazing. The little ball of powder pigment just sits in the dermis getting eaten by cells for eternity… in a nutshell…
This is why the ‘will it pop my implant’ question upsets me so much. A tattoo is not implanted deeper than any other micropigmentation procedure. (It depends on the practitioner and how they work) I’m not sure who started that rumour, however, I digress….
Lets talk about how I can stand by my work and declare it is permanent. I’ve been tattooing for 14 years. I have some of my first tattoos on my leg, and I can say, without doubt, they are still there looking as shaky as ever! (Don’t worry I got better) I know what to expect from the healing of my work, and how it will look ten years down the line.
THAT BEING SAID….
Body art tattoos, are not the same as nipple tattoos. We use a lot of black in body art tattoos to create contrast. Black is carbon based, and the pigment tends not to migrate like colour pigments. The black holds the colour pigments in place. (Colour pigments can move around in the skin meaning a loss of detail over time)
Nipple and Areola tattoos have no black, and are a colour not too far from your own skin tone. Therefore it is important to understand two things.
Colour will migrate over time, meaning a loss in contrast. The nipple tattoo will still look like a nipple tattoo, but may not have the defined edges around the nipple that it once did.
Skin grows over the top of the tattoo. Almost like a filter. As we age, our skin tone tends to change which will mean that the tattoo underneath may change slightly too. It may appear less vibrant. Again, it will still look like a nipple tattoo, but may appear a little faded.
The time frame I am considering here, is 6+ years. Even then, the client may still be completely satisfied with their tattoo and not even consider that the tattoo needs attention.
Others may desire that the tattoo have a little freshen up, which I offer all of my clients free of charge.
Just to illiterate, the tattoo is permanent. It will not fade away. But you may decide in ten years time, that you would like to see a fresher version. That is your decision, and I am here for you every step of the way!
Below, is a photo (left) of a tattoo first completed. The other photo (right) is a photo of the same tattoo after a couple of years. The sharpness of the nipple has faded slightly, but still looks natural and has enough contrast to give the illusion of protrusion.
This is an important topic, and one I have really struggled with over the past couple of years. The reason i do what I do, is to help people feel empowered and whole again. It is an honour for me to be able to use my skills in this way however the one procedure I offer that appears to not have that affect, is Scar Camouflage.
Scar Camouflage, is the act of tattooing a skin tone pigment that matches your natural colouring, into a scar which then reduces the contrast between the scar and the surrounding skin. It can have an amazing effect on some scars, but the scar has to be a certain condition for it to work. In any case this is NOT a scar eraser or a alternative to makeup.
Clients often arrive with me looking for a quick fix, and I have this internal battle of wanting to help but also knowing that the client will be disappointed with the result. If a scar has tightness, redness, is textured, raised or dipped, or has hyperpigmentation surrounding it, this procedure will not work. There are a few options in this case. Scar massage will help loosen a scar to a far deeper level that anything I can do at the surface of the skin, so those thick tight scars will benefit from regular massage. Micro needling (now called ink less camouflage) can take care of more of a surface level problem, such as texture and redness. Both procedures are a commitment and a journey that may take a year of regular treatments, but are absolutely worth the time.
With regards to scars and stretch marks that are ready to camouflage, there is another thing to bear in mind. Pigment is implanted UNDERNEATH the skin. The reason it is not always an alternative to make up, is because make up is used on top of the skin. Let me explain. If you have a wall that is textured and has bumps and is uneven and you would like to paint it, you would flatten the texture first with a filler. This is what make up does. It sits on top of the surface, takes any shine off the skin so that light does not reflect off the scar any differently to the surrounding skin, and fills in any texture. Tattooing, implants pigment underneath the surface, therefore its like painting a wall without any filler. The shine and texture of the scar or stretch mark will ALWAYS remain, meaning that they are absolutely still visible in certain light.
From a distance, those small scars and stretch marks will disappear to the naked eye however the larger scars and stretch marks will not disappear completely, but rather just be less obvious. Adding freckles into the scar can really help disguise a scar, and help someone feel more confident.
If a scar has any kind of acute edge, again the effect will be lost because healthy skin has no edges. I have performed camouflage on scars such as this, and while I can say with absolute certainty that pigment has been implanted successfully, which is my job, it does not help the appearance of the scar because it it still obviously a scar.
Some scars already have pigment in them, meaning camouflage is redundant but micro needling or massage is your best way forward in reducing the appearance of your scar.
The worst thing is, scars are sneaky. They may look like a perfect candidate for camouflage and then for whatever reason, the ink will just not stay in the scar! I have had clients I have done session after session, and it gets to that point where there’s nothing more I can do. If at this point, the client is still not happy, I really feel that there is nothing a physical change will do to help someone with their confidence.
Sometimes, we have to just bite the bullet and accept our skin as it and love it all, without hiding away. It’s hard I know, and it just takes that one comment from someone to set you right back into trauma city but I have to tell you, that little thing that stops you living your best life is such a small part of what makes you attractive and beautiful. If society embraced these ‘imperfections’ instead of trying to make us all fit into one mould, no one would ever blink at a stretch mark or scar again. I can say this, as my skin on my face is so heavily pigmented in areas due to a chronic condition that I have, and when I say Ive tried everything, I really have. Make up doesn’t cover it and I hate my bare face most of the time. I know that I cant change my skin. I actually went out without makeup this summer (when it was hot) and you know, no one said anything. My smile and expressiveness detracted from my awful skin. I realised, the way my face looks is not what defines me and I feel that I have accepted my short comings and am learning to love my body. When camouflage doesn’t erase a scar or stretch mark, some times we really have to dig deep and acknowledge the improvement and accept that we are beautiful
So what I’m trying to say is, yes Camouflage can be an amazingly empowering procedure IF you’re expectations match the reality. Remember some photos you see online will be filtered, or even make up camouflage and not a tattoo. My portfolio gives an honest representation of what I can achieve, and if i recommend micro needling first (which you can actually do herself at home). It’s because I know that camo will not work for you right now. It may work further down the line. There are no guarantees with this work, its always a bit of a gamble.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch xxx