3D and Areola tattoos should be natural, perhaps even lovely, and return a feeling of normalcy after mastectomy surgery. Just catching a glimpse in the mirror and seeing her whole, familiar body can make a significant difference for women who have gone through breast reconstruction but are left without an areola or even nipple. Often women do not want to go through any more surgeries, or maybe nipple reconstruction didn’t work; so 3D nipple tattooing can be a successful option to create a finished breast after cancer.
Tattoo artist Sasha Merritt brings a fine art background to areola and 3D nipple tattooing. With the highly specialized skills used in painting the human body on canvas, she uses body proportion, light and shadow, as well as color theory to create realistic areola/3D nipple restoration tattoo work. Working in collaboration with the client to choose the best color, size and shape for realistic, 3D nipples and areolas, each woman leaves the studio with a work of art that looks beautiful and natural, her reconstruction finally complete.
-> Sasha is happy to announce a partnership with SF General and the Plastic Surgery Foundation to offer FREE Areola/3d tattooing for SF General breast reconstruction patients. Please contact her for more info.
Areola and 3D Nipple Tattoos
Following mastectomy and breast reconstruction, many breast cancer survivors choose to undergo a non-invasive procedure called areola repigmentation/restoration and 3d nipple tattooing instead of nipple reconstruction surgeries. This is a process in which the areola, and sometimes a even 3-dimensional looking nipple, is tattooed onto the breast. This procedure can be performed either by a doctor or by a professional tattoo artist.
Tattoo artist Sasha Merritt has witnessed areola repigmentation and 3D nipple tattooing to be a powerful and triumphant reclaiming of wholeness for women who have survived breast cancer. Areola restoration and 3D nipple tattooing is delicate, sensitive work, requiring specialized, advanced training in areola repigmentation as well as artistic skill.
After multiple surgeries and treatments for breast cancer, areola repigmentation many people want to avoid yet another surgery. 3D nipple tattoos can be a great option- the “cherry on top”. It is a final step in a long journey and often helps clients move from survival to a welcome feeling of normalcy. As an artist, with a skill in creating a 3-dimensional illusion, Sasha can create realistic, natural looking nipple tattoos.
With either a bi-lateral or uni-lateral (one side) reconstruction, Sasha will work closely with each client to find the best color, shape and size for each client’s body and personal choices. The process includes a color and shape consultation as well as a follow up appointment to ensure the most natural results.
“Now when I see myself, my first thought isn’t to feel sorry I had breast cancer, but ‘Gee! I have good looking breasts!’ ”
- Wendy, client and breast cancer survivor
One of Dragonfly Ink’s clients, Wendy, slowly and methodically went through each step of breast reconstruction after her mastectomy. Wendy decided to get her areola tattooed as the final step of that process. Although she was nervous going in, Wendy experienced a feeling of wholeness after repigmentation. Plus, she had the chance to choose the areolas she always wanted.
Sasha has worked with many survivors and she is pleased to honor their journeys and to create the most realistic, natural areolas and 3 dimensional nipples as possible.
The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) of 1998 requires insurance to cover the cost of mastectomies and all breast reconstruction, generally areola and 3D tattooing is covered when done in doctor’s offices, but more clients are requesting their insurance cover the procedure done by a tattoo artist, although insurance companies are a bit behind the times on this. Start by ask your insurance company to cover areola and 3d nipple tattooing, feel free to contact the studio with any questions.
Here is a link to the US Department of Labor’s details on insurance coverage for women post breast cancer. http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/Publications/whcra.html
Call 415-550-1445 to learn more or to make an appointment.
Sasha has specialized training and certificates in areola repigmentation/restoration, cosmetic tattooing, body art, and fine art. Her training includes:
International Institute of Permanent Cosmetics: Areola repgimentation, skin needling/ scar reduction
SoftTaps: hand tattooing, cosmetic tattooing, permanent makekup
Beau Institute, Advanced Areola Complex and Camouflage: tattooing training
Natural Look Institute: Areola Repigmentation
Certified Member Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals
Member American Academy of Micropigmentation
Blood Borne Pathogens Certification
SF City College, fine arts and painting
Colorado State University, San Francisco City College, fine arts/painting