October is breast cancer awareness month, a worldwide campaign which sees thousands of organisations highlight the importance of breast awareness, education and research. Breast cancer is sadly the most common cancer in the UK, with one woman diagnosed every ten minutes. Despite the fact that breast cancer is so common, the survival rates are reassuringly high. Indeed, according to Breast Cancer Now, almost nine in ten women survive breast cancer for five years or more. Breast cancer survival rates are gradually improving and has doubled in the past 40 years in the UK due to a combination of improvements in treatment and care, earlier detection due to an increased number of screenings and the fact that most cases are diagnosed early and therefore treated faster. The statistics provided by Breast Cancer Now state that an estimated 600,000 people live in the UK after a diagnosis of breast cancer, a statistic that is predicted to rise to 1.2 million in 2030.
There are number of ways that breast cancer can be treated and/or prevented. One of the main ways of removing cancerous cells from the breast is through a mastectomy. A mastectomy is an operation which removes one or both of the breasts from a man or woman suffering with cancer of the breast. There are a variety of different mastectomy operations and some involve removing the nipple. This can leave many patients feeling insecure and unhappy about their body. Because of the amount of people who undergo breast reconstructive surgeries, a number of semi-permanent makeup artists have developed and extended their skills so that they are able to recreate a natural-looking areola through pigment tattooing. Areola repigmentation (sometimes called medical tattooing) is a technique that requires advanced experience as well as a brilliant artistic technique. Areola repigmentation techniques can “create” an areola after breast reconstruction or a mastectomy, minimize the appearance of surgical scares or restore a client’s nipples to a more natural looking colour or shape. The procedure uses a blend of pigments that are injected into the skin to create an illusion of skin texture with highlights, shadows and lowlights.
What happens during an areola repigmentation process?
Every technician performs areola repigmentation differently but each artist should fellow a few basic steps.
Before the procedure, a local anaesthetic ointment will be applied to the skin 30-45 minutes before the pigment is injected into the skin. You will then discuss with your technician what colour, shape and size you would like the areola to be. The technician will then custom blend the colour of the pigment to ensure that the areola looks as natural as possible in contrast to the surrounding skin. The chosen colour will appear darker immediately after injection but will fade up to 40% during the next week.
The majority of the aftercare required for looking after your areola repigmentation involves just sitting back and letting your tattoo heal naturally. You will be able to drive yourself home and resume regular activities straight after the repigmentation procedure. However, excessive use of cosmetics and makeup, perspiration and exposure to sun on the area should be avoided as much as possible until the tattoo has completely healed.
There are a number of amazing clinics all over the UK who offer areola repigmentation. However, we have identified three different technicians whose work we think is amazing and whose reasons for performing areola repigmentation are inspiring!
Lucy White Permanent Makeup and Aesthetics:
Our first areola artist we want to talk about is Lucy from Lucy White Permanent Makeup and Aesthetics, an aesthetics clinic based in Essex. Lucy is an extremely talented semi-permanent makeup artist who has a number of advanced qualifications in the aesthetics world and has achieved finalist status in several prestigious awards including the PMU Awards and The British Hair and Beauty Awards.
Throughout Lucy’s career in PMU, she has worked with a number of clients who have undergone chemotherapy. Lucy has helped these patients by tattooing on eyebrows in replacement of the hair loss they experienced during chemotherapy. Lucy has always been really moved by the stories these clients tell and the courage they have shown when facing such a horrible illness. After meeting so many women who had undergone such invasive treatments, Lucy decided early on in her career that she wanted to train areola repigmentation.
After extensive training and having mastered her tattoo technique, Lucy now offers free sessions every fortnight for people who desire to create the illusion of an areola after having an invasive breast procedure. She regularly receives referrals from local surgeons and works closely with the amazing Bennos Boobs Foundation, an organisation that provides support for people facing triple negative breast cancer. Lucy is now recognised by BUPA and has launched Areola Restoration UK as a separate organisation to her very busy beauty clinic! See some of Lucy’s amazing areola work.
Lucy’s journey and experience as an areola repigmentation artist has challenged her immensely. She says that along the way there has been tears of both sadness and laughter, incredible stories of courage, love and bravery but what resonates with her the most is how inspired she is by her clients who have shown such an immense amount of bravery in the face of tragedy.
Jenny Brown from Beauty Boutique
The second artist we think deserves a special mention is Jenny Cader from Cader Cosmetics at the Beauty Boutique in Hertford. Jenny has over 15 years of experience within the beauty industry and has been accredited with a number of advanced qualifications throughout her career, making her an exceptional beauty therapist and SPMU artist.
Jenny began her career within the permanent cosmetics industry in 2011. She always knew she wanted to take her SPMU and PMU skills to the highest level and, after having a close friend go through a double mastectomy at a very young age, Jenny knew she wanted to learn how to perform medical tattooing. Jenny trained in areola repigmentation in 2016 and, since then, has gone onto hold regular areola clinics at her salon, The Beauty Boutique in Hertford. In 2019, Jenny attended further advanced training in order to widen her medical skill set. Jenny is inspired by her areola repigmentation clients daily and loves being able to give them something special at the end of a hard, and often devastating, journey.
Jenny now teaches students how to perform PMU and offers small, intense training days at her salon. She loves teaching people how to succeed within the aesthetics industry and hopes that one day she will be able to train others in areola reconstruction so that so many more people can benefit from this amazing treatment.
Jenny explained to us what is involved during an areola reconstruction procedure. When a client arrives at The Beauty Boutique, they will be given a blue robe to wear in order to feel more comfortable. After that, Jenny will assess the area and discuss what her client would like to achieve; everything from colour to the size and position is taken into account during the consultation. The areolas are then measured and drawn on to the chosen area so that the client can check what the reconstruction is going to look like. Jenny also tests the chosen pigment on the client’s skin to ensure that the blended colour is correct. After everything has been double checked with the patient, Jenny performs the procedure itself which can take between one and three hours depending on whether she is recreating one or two areolas. After the procedure, which Jenny states is comfortable and pain free, the client is given advice on how to look after the area whilst the tattoo heals. The areola tattoo usually heals within one or two weeks. If a retouch is required, Jenny can book her clients into a clinic after eight weeks to perfect the tattoo.
Our sister company, Cosmedic Supplies, offers machinery and products that help these amazing artists achieve unbelievable results. Contact Cosmedic Supplies here to find out more!