Brunswick Spa offers areola tattoos for breast cancer survivors

A Brunswick spa offers areola tattooing to breast cancer survivors.

Kerry Watterson, esthetician at At Last Salon and Day Spa in Brunswick. Contributed

Kerry Watterson is a Certified Skin Care Specialist in charge of areola tattoo repair at At Last Salon and Day Spa. Her permanent makeup technique restores a sense of depth and detail to the reconstructed breast without the need for tissue to reconstruct the nipple in women who have had a mastectomy.

Jen Bortolo of Boston was Watterson’s first areola restoration client in January. She decided to get the tattoo after undergoing a bilateral mastectomy – a surgery that removes both breasts.

“I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer a month before my 40th birthday. I had several rounds of chemotherapy before and after a bilateral mastectomy which was followed by radiation therapy,” Bartolo said. nipples had to be removed during the operation. Physically and emotionally, this has all been an extremely difficult process for me to go through.

The tattoo is described as an “image” of a nipple and areola on the breast which is flat to the touch but appears three-dimensional. These are real tattoos applied by tattoo artists who apply pigment to the skin.

Nipple tattoo artists must be trained and inspected for this specialized field. Locally in Maine, a license is required to perform any cosmetic tattooing. This involves proof of training with a licensed practitioner or academy, a high school diploma, blood-borne pathogen training, and county health inspector inspection.

“I waited until I was comfortable before deciding to get an areola tattoo. This tattoo makes my body look and feel whole again,” Bartolo said.

The tattoos are offered for $100 to $200.

According to the American Cancer Society, there have been 1,420 cases of breast cancer in women so far in Maine this year. This is an increase from the 1,173 cases reported by the Maine CDC cancer registry in 2015.

Data from Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows that more than 100,000 American women undergo mastectomy each year. It is usually performed to treat breast cancer, but in some cases it is performed to prevent it.

“I personally have never seen anyone close to me go through breast cancer. I was really interested in getting into permanent makeup because I heard about 3D areola restoration and it t’s kind of where I wanted my journey to go,” Watterson said. “I love doing permanent makeup for eyebrows and eyeliner, but I wanted to be able to give back to someone who’s been through trauma. because of cancer. I saw it as a way to give back to this community and to be able to do it for another woman is amazing.

Watterson added: ‘The women I’ve spoken to want it because they want their identity back. They want to rediscover that feeling of femininity. It lifts their spirits and makes them feel more comfortable with themselves. I know their confidence is exploding.

Watterson said the areola restoration sparked her interest in permanent makeup. She saw this cosmetic technique as a way to help breast cancer survivors.

“Cosmetic tattoos and 3D areola tattoos are semi-permanent. We don’t go as deep into the skin as traditional tattoos,” Watterson said. “Depending on environmental factors and how people take care of their skin, they may choose to have a touch-up after a while. The areola tattoo simply lasts longer because the skin is not exposed to the sun compared to to other areas of the body.

She added: “There are different choices of models. Of course, there are also different color ranges. You can have it very simple or have it a bit more detailed with Montgomery bumps or different types of area highlights to make it look realistic.


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