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.

Do I really need areola tattooing? Definitely. Tattooing the breast is as safe as any other tattoo. Choosing an artist that uses safe sterilization and hygiene practices keeps the risk of infection extremely low. The FDA does not regulate ink manufacturing so an educated artist will choose companies with a good reputation. Reactions to ink are very rare but can occur. They occur most often with red ink. Since a breast tattoo is done with colors that similar to skin tone, there is little to no risk of a reaction. The internet is full of information about tattooing in general if you have additional questions. You may also call to ask about specific concerns if they are not covered here.

Is areola and nipple tattooing a good choice for me? Breasts tattoos aren’t just for breast cancer survivors, but it is also for anyone seeking to improve their overall breast appearance.

This service might be a good option if you relate to any of the following:

  • breast cancer survivor
  • post mastectomy
  • areola restoration
  • subcutaneous mastectomy
  • 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, 3-D Areola and 4-D Areola Tattoos? Try not to get caught up in terminology vs techniques. We consult with each of our guests to determine what tattoo technique best fits their needs. We are trained in the latest services for areola and nipple tattooing and will determine which approach and technique to use.

Additional terms you may have heard of, but are all cohesive with are services are as follows:

  • 3-D nipple tattoo
  • 4-D nipple tattoo
  • 3-D areola tattoo
  • 4-D areola tattoo
  • three dimensional nipple areola tattoo
  • areola restoration
  • realistic areola tattoo
  • nipple and areola micro-pigmentation
  • 3-D post mastectomy
  • breast tattoo design

Does it hurt? Normally, the client does not feel any pain. Each case is different though and depending on your particular surgery there may be some small amount of sensation but it usually is minimal or mildly uncomfortable.

What do I need to know about MRIs if I get a tattoo? Some people may have swelling or burning in the tattoo 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 tattoo before an MRI is ordered.

How long do I have to wait after surgery to have the procedure done? We require a minimum of 4 months of healing time to pass after the date of your final surgery and/or nipple reconstruction.

I had nipple reconstruction… can I still get tattooed? Yes, although there are occasions when the pigment does not take well on the reconstructed nipple.  The reconstructed nipple as well as 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 typically takes up to 3 hours. This includes numbing, layout, and pigment color selection. The actual tattoo time is about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

What should I wear to the 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 dressed with protective covering. 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 between 7-10 days. Some 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 thin coats of ointment are normally all that is required to get a good, well healed result in 7-10 days. Healing time can be decreased by nearly half with use of our Red Light for 10-20 min. Red Light for healing is a premium service add-on and should be scheduled at the time you schedule your appointment.

How long will the tattoo last? While a tattoo is generally expected to last a lifetime, we are using colors much lighter than a standard tattoo. Some fading may occur over many years time, and at some point, you may elect to have your color refreshed. Normally we try to tattoo the area lighter rather than darker, so it’s possible that a second visit may be required… remembering that we can always darken the area but we can not lighten it prior to completion. Thus, lighter is always better than darker.

Do you use sterile needles and equipment? YES! All of our needles are single use and sterile. We go above and beyond industry standards to insure your safety and ours.

Can I use my insurance to pay for the procedure? This is a tricky question. By law, insurance companies are required to cover the procedure. Unfortunately they can choose who they will work with. We are not health care providers, and not able to bill insurance directly. We suggest you contact your insurance company to ask them what their protocol is for covering this service. We will provide you with an itemized receipt, that some clients have submitted to insurance for reimbursement. We can provide all of the codes and information they require. We are unable to guarantee that they will cover this service, but we will help in any way we can. Some clients are pleasantly surprised their insurance will provide an easy way to submit receipts, some are disappointed. We suggest you give it a try and even apply a little pressure if they appear to be denying payment. We have been able to accept some HSA methods of payment. Thankfully, there are grants available via The United Breast Cancer Foundation to help offset the expenses of 3D Areola Tattooing. To learn more visit their website here.