Things to know about Nipple Tattoo for Breast Cancer Survivors

Breast cancer is considered one of the most common cancers in women. The first line of treatment for breast cancer is surgery which is called mastectomy. Post-mastectomy many breast cancer survivors are opting for reconstructive surgery to rebuild the contours and shape of the removed breast. Post-surgical cases after 6 months of mastectomy are recommended to undergo nipple reconstruction. However, you can opt for a nipple tattoo post-breast cancer surgery depending on the time frame as suggested by your doctor.

Let us go ahead and discover all you need to know about nipple tattoos.

What is a nipple tattoo?

A nipple tattoo is a form of permanent tattoo of the nipple and skin around the nipple (areola) on the breast. The tattoo helps in redefining the breast with nipple and areola to complete the breast structure.

Types of nipple tattoo

The 2 types of nipple tattoos are as follows-

  • Traditional nipple tattoo with micro-pigmentation
  • 3D nipple tattoo

Traditional nipple tattoo V/s 3D nipple tattoo

3D nipple tattoo is a nipple tattooing procedure performed by estheticians to add color in a new and realistic way by following a scientific procedure. 3D tattooing is considered the best tattooing solution instead of reconstruction post-mastectomy for cancer survivors. It uses the same technique involved in microblading eyebrows with the natural appearance of folds around the areola or nipple to provide deep pigmentation which matches your original skin color.

Steps involved in nipple tattoo procedure

The basic steps involved in the nipple tattoo procedure are as follows-

Step 1:- Consultation

Before the procedure, it is important to consult your PMU expert. The expert may ask you questions regarding your history related to nipple tattoos. This will allow them to work on some areas such as size, placement, and pigment colors for nipple tattoos to make them look more real and to build their self-confidence.

Step 2:- Examination of the nipple

An examination of the nipple will be done pre-treatment of the nipple tattoo to check for scar tissue and skin thickness. During the examination, you will also be provided with before and after care procedure instructions. Based on the expertise of PMU and the examination of the nipple, a strategic plan will be created.

Step 3:- Before, during, and after the nipple tattoo procedure

Before the procedure, it is important to follow nipple tattoo care instructions. Shower and wear clean clothes. Ensure to choose comfortable breathable cotton clothes. Avoid applying any creams or moisturizers.

During the procedure, the area to be worked on for the nipple tattoo will be cleaned and disinfected. Design markings will be done to recreate the nipple tattoo. Post that, placement and pigmentation will be done. The entire procedure may take 90-120 minutes depending on the extent of the nipple pigmentation.

After the procedure of the nipple tattoo, there are certain guidelines to be followed for long-lasting results. A bandage will be applied over the tattoo to allow it to heal which may take 1 week. Mild scabbing may be present during the healing process. Also, it is important to take into account aftercare instructions by your PMU expert with follow-ups.

Aftercare and recovery instructions post nipple tattooing

After the nipple tattooing procedure, a bandage and protective dressing is placed over the nipple area. It is important to follow instructions as well as post the nipple tattoo procedure as guided by your PMU expert for better positive results.

Here are some guidelines which you must know about the tattooing procedure

1. Shower as usual with dressing on. Ensure to check with your PMU expert if the dressing is waterproof.

2. Go for regular follow-ups with your PMU who will guide you through the healing process.

3. An ideal time for the healing process is 1 week, however, in some cases, if the healing process is good, the recovery time may be around 4 days to remove the bandages and dressing.

4. If there is crust or scab on the area, avoid peeling it off. This may lighten up the inking process of the tattoo.

5. Post-removal of the dressing, use some natural moisturizer that is unscented, paraben-free, or chemical-free to avoid dryness and hydrate the skin.

6. Regular apply some natural body lotion until your scab is removed naturally.

7. Avoid exercising for 1-week post-procedure during the healing process even in the presence of bandages, dressing, or scabs.

8. Avoid lifting heavy weights for 1-week post-procedure. This will fasten up your healing process.

9. In case of discomfort, you can pop in painkillers or other over-the-counter pain-relieving medications as prescribed by your PMU expert.

10. CT scans and MRIs for cancer survivors can be done during regular follow-ups safely

Who does the best nipple tattoo procedure?

The best nipple tattoo procedure is done by PMU-qualified and certified artists who have expertise in the recreation of realistic tattoos. An experienced PMU artist will go ahead and create nipple tattoos taking into account minor detailing with different pigments to match the undertones for the realistic appearance of the nipple. Some PMU artists also have expertise in performing 3D effects on nipple tattoos.

Things to remember before the nipple tattoo procedure

Certain things may keep ticking on your mind about nipple tattoo procedures. It is important to ask these questions to your PMU expert as well. Here are some things which you must remember before the nipple tattoo procedure if you are planning to get it done.

1. Medications: Ask your PMU expert about the medications required for the nipple tattoo procedure. Your PMU expert might suggest you some antibiotics a day before the procedure or painkillers.

2. Daily dose: Ensure to take your daily dose of medications as usual which may include blood pressure medication or other medication which you have been always taking. The procedure day for the nipple tattoo should be treated as a normal day.

3. You can shower as usual before the procedure with the same soap bar. It is advisable to use a medicated body wash or soap bar.

4. Avoid applying any lotion, creams, or powder on the chest and abdomen pre-procedure.

5. Ensure to wear comfortable fabric and breathable clothing preferably loose-fitting ones to avoid any pressure before and after the nipple tattoo procedure.

6. Stay stress-free and relax before the procedure.

7. Eat and drink your meals as usual to maintain optimum hydration and nutritional needs.


Nipple tattoos after mastectomy are considered a good option for breast cancer survivors. This is a non-invasive procedure, unlike surgical reconstruction of the breast. You might have some questions in your mind, in regards to nipple tattooing. Let us resolve your queries in the next part of the article by answering some common questions.


Is it safe to get a nipple tattoo?

Yes, nipple tattooing is completely safe provided it is done under the expertise and supreme care of the specialist who are certified and experienced in their field.

How painful are nipple tattoos?

Mastectomy may give an empty feeling to the breast as nerves are cut which may reduce the overall numbness. This may make the breast numb naturally post-mastectomy. Some people may feel little to zero pain when getting a nipple tattoo after a mastectomy.

What are the benefits of nipple tattoos?

The main benefit of nipple tattoos is to gain back self-confidence about your body image which will improve your quality of life.

Scroll to Top
Ashmi Singhai

Take My Free Courses Now

× How can I help you?