AREOLA & NIPPLE TATTOO FAQ
About Face and Body follows the strictest hygiene and sterilization procedures. All equipment is sterile, including the use of disposable needles. Only the highest quality equipment and pigments are used. Strict OSHA and CDC guidelines are followed.
Is areola tattooing safe? Definitely. Areola tattooing is as safe as any other tattooing process. Choosing an artist who uses safe sterilization and hygiene practices keeps the risk of infection extremely low. Since the FDA does not regulate ink manufacturing, you’ll want to go to an educated artist who chooses companies with a good reputation.
Reactions to ink are very rare but can occur. The primary culprit is most commonly red ink. Since a nipple tattoo is done with colors that are similar to skin tone, there is little to no risk of a reaction.
We encourage you to check out online communities and forums run by women who’ve received nipple tattoos or mastectomy scar camouflage before to learn more about the experience. You may also call us to ask about specific concerns if they are not covered here.
Does areola tattooing hurt? We do our best to make the areola tattooing process as painless as possible. Depending on your particular surgery, there may be some small amount of sensation, but it usually is minimal or mildly uncomfortable. In most cases, our clients do not feel any pain.
Is areola tattooing a good choice for me? Breasts tattoos aren’t just for breast cancer survivors who are ready to show off their courage with masterful mastectomy scar camouflage. Breast, areola, and nipple tattoos are for anyone seeking to improve their overall breast appearance and 10x their confidence.
This service might be right for you if you are, have, or have had any of the following:
- Breast cancer survivor
- Post-mastectomy scars
- Subcutaneous mastectomy
- Areola restoration
- Breast augmentation
- Breast reconstruction
- Breast lift
- Male chest reconstruction
- Keyhole surgery
- Female to male surgery (FTM)
- Sex reassignment
What’s the difference between Areola, Nipple, 3D Areola, and 4D Areola Tattoos? Great question! Try not to get too caught up in terminology vs techniques. We consult with each of our guests to determine which tattoo technique best fits their needs. We are trained in the latest services for nipple and areola tattooing and will determine which approach and technique is the perfect match for you.
Additional terms you may have heard of that are all cohesive with our services:
- 3D nipple tattoo
- 4D nipple tattoo
- 3D areola tattoo
- 4D areola tattoo
- Three-dimensional nipple-areola tattoo
- Areola restoration
- Hyper-realistic nipple tattoo
- Nipple and areola micro-pigmentation
- 3D post-mastectomy
- Breast tattoo design
- Mastectomy scar camouflage
What do I need to know about MRIs if I get a 3D nipple tattoo? Some people may have swelling or burning around the tattoo area when they have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), although this happens rarely and does not last long. Let your health care professional know that you have a 3D nipple tattoo before they order an MRI for you.
How long do I have to wait after surgery to have areola tattooing done? We require you to heal for a minimum of 4 months from the date of your final surgery and/or nipple reconstruction before we start tattooing.
I had nipple reconstruction… can I still get a nipple tattoo? Yes, although there are occasions when the pigment does not take well on the reconstructed nipple. The reconstructed nipple and the area around it can still be tattooed, but follow-up visits may be needed to ensure adequate pigment retention in that area.
How long does the procedure take? The entire appointment for both bilateral and unilateral breast tattoos typically takes up to 3 hours. This includes numbing, layout, and pigment color selection. The actual tattoo time is about 20 minutes to 1 hour.
What should I wear to a nipple tattoo appointment? We recommend wearing a top that you can easily take on and off. To avoid transferring ink to your clothing, we will remove your top only, at which point we drape you with a paper vest. At the end of the service, the tattooed area is covered with a medical pad or clear bandage (unless you have a tape/adhesive allergy). Wearing a bra is optional but not required.
How long does it take for the tattoo area to heal? Healing times can vary. Typically, it takes 7-10 days. Slight scabbing or skin flaking will occur, but this is normal.
A thin coat of ointment may be applied as needed during the healing process. A small non-stick pad or bandage will be required for the first few days to avoid sticking to clothing. Washing the area once a day and applying the ointment is normally all that is required to get a beautiful, well-healed result in 7-10 days.
Healing time can be decreased nearly in half with LED Red Light Therapy. A 3–10-minute process taking place immediately after your treatment, Red Light Therapy for healing is a premium add-on we offer. You can schedule this add-on at the same time you make your appointment with us.
How many sessions are required? 2-3 visits are typically required to complete the breast, nipple, and areola tattooing process. Even if scars are not visible, the breast tissue has been compromised, and we consider the entire area to be scarred. The area has been surgically altered, stretched, and replaced with skin from another area of the body or another substance, etc. As experts in mastectomy scar camouflage, we know that tattooing over scars is unpredictable.
In the first session, we lay the base color. We want to see how that color heals on your skin. You may notice that we tattoo the area lighter than we want the result to be. This is because we can darken the area at the second appointment. If a 3D effect is required, we will create that effect in layers, as you return for each appointment.
How long will a breast, areola, or nipple tattoo last? While a tattoo is generally expected to last a lifetime, areola tattooing uses colors much lighter than standard tattooing. Some fading may occur over many years’ time, and at some point, you may elect to have your color refreshed.
Do you use sterile needles and equipment? YES! All our needles are single-use and sterile. We go above and beyond industry standards to ensure your safety and ours.
Can I use my insurance to pay for the procedure? The answer to this question depends on several factors.
If you used insurance to pay for your breast procedure, they may also pay for the areola tattooing.
For reconstruction related to breast cancer, the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA) is a federal law that provides protections to patients who choose to have breast reconstruction in connection with a mastectomy. Insurance companies are required to pay for all aspects of the reconstruction process.
Unfortunately, they can choose who they will work with. Because we are not health care providers, insurance companies consider us “Out-of-Network.” If your insurance policy includes Out-of-Network coverage, we will file a request that they make a “single-case exception” and provide In-Network level benefits for areola tattooing. Insurance companies may use a policy called Gap Exception (or something similar) to make this exception. We will submit all the proper codes and file the claim on your behalf. The insurance payment will be made to About Face and Body.
If you choose to proceed with your areola tattooing service before a determination has been made by your insurance company, we will reimburse you based on your policy coverage and our negotiated agreement with the insurance company. If you choose to wait until we have a determination on the insurance coverage, we require a non-refundable deposit to file the request with your insurance company. The deposit will be applied to the cost of the breast, areola, or nipple tattoo when you decide to proceed.
While we are unable to guarantee that they will cover this service, we will fight for the maximum amount they allow. We suggest you also contact your insurance company after the paperwork has been submitted and apply a little pressure, especially if they are denying payment. We will file an appeal for reconsideration if necessary.
Do you offer financing and other methods of payment? We accept all credit/debit cards and HSA cards. We prefer to process payments through our scheduling system, however, if necessary, we can accept electronic payments through Venmo, PayPal and Zelle. Other electronic payment methods may also be acceptable, so check with us before the procedure to verify.
There are often grants available via The United Breast Cancer Foundation to help offset the expenses of areola tattooing and other costs you have incurred. To learn more, visit their website here.