Nipple Innovation Project: Empowering Breast Cancer Survivors and Previvors through 3D Nipple Tattoos

Passing the mic to our friends at the Nipple Innovation Project, the UK’s first cancer tattoo charity, who are going the extra mile for their patients.

Via @NipCharity

Passing the mic to our friends at the Nipple Innovation Project, the first cancer tattoo charity in the UK to provide free 3D nipple tattoos following mastectomy surgery. They’re a team of mostly women cancer survivors who not only provide these incredibly important tattoos to other survivors, previvors and people who’ve had gender affirming surgery – they’ve also put together a UK directory of safe and approved artists where folks can easily access this service. We love to see it!

However, these days on social media, “seeing it” is getting harder. This life-changing procedure, that so many potential recipients might not know is out there, is so realistic that photos of it are often restricted or banned on media platforms. And with the new “sensitive content” update on Instagram, we want to help the team at Nipple Innovation Project get out from the “shadows” of the algorithm.

They have a great, super informative blog that we’re sharing below, so grab a cup of tea and learn something new about the art of nipple tattooing, and the journey that represents for recipients. If you’d like to support their amazing work, you can donate to their work, buy a tit-tee, and give them a follow over on Instagram!


Education for Breast Cancer Survivors

Words by the Nipple Innovation Project

There are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation when it comes to this type of restorative tattooing. As a charity we aspire to raise awareness of this service and also educate people on the differences in what we offer and what is offered in hospitals.

If you have had breast cancer or gone through mastectomy surgery and are looking to explore your options, our aim is to assist you by answering any questions and offering knowledge and support. We will be holding regular free educational webinars via zoom on a variety of subjects regarding this areola tattooing.

We offer an alternative option to hospital nipple tattoos that fade away, we believe a nipple tattoo should never fade away and that’s why we offer a permanent and realistic solution. Our artists all work to the same consistent standard, using the same safe pigments which give long lasting results.

The general consensus is that after mastectomy and breast reconstructive surgery you are placed on a waiting list through the NHS to receive a semi-permanent nipple tattoo. This is usually a simple pink or brown circle done by a medical practitioner. The tattoo would need regular ‘top ups’, some breast cancer survivors are not told their tattoos will fade and they only find this out when they fade away, this can be devastating to the wearer.

Multiple tattoo sessions on this fragile, delicate skin can be extremely damaging and regular ‘top-ups’ can and often do cause further scarring which can leave the skin beyond tattooable, unable to retain pigment due to the excessive scarring caused by overworking the skin.

It is so important this specialist tattooing is done by an experienced practitioner using suitable equipment capable of tattooing scar tissue, using the right techniques and pigments to ensure the highest long lasting results possible.

Nipples fading away has a huge detrimental impact on ones confidence and self esteem. We wholeheartedly believe people should feel nothing less than empowered at the end of their cancer journey!

We have set a very high standard for this work through A.R.T and that’s why we’re proud of our team that’s built up of heART centered artists dedicated to making a real difference!

There is no regulation in this area so it’s important we continue to work together to not only raise the standard but to prevent bad nipple tattoos from happening & breast cancer survivors feeling the way they do in their “before” pictures.

If you have ever had any kind of areola tattooing previously – we welcome you to share your experience and complete our anonymous survey! It helps us gain further knowledge and information on this subject. Thank you!


Want to learn more about nipple tattoos and social media censorship? We’ve got a great piece by our tattoo bestie Tanya Buxton about her campaign, Celebrated Not Censored here!

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