A breast cancer survivor shares her experiences with the BRCA gene.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tattoos for Ta Ta's

January, 2009--As my body continues to heal, and I've decided to keep my breast size the same (although this could change)...what's next?

Tattooing! And you thought that was only for Gen-X'rs.

Among us girls with mastectomies, a tattoo is the finishing touch in giving us a realistic appearance. First, you have to let all the scarring heal (meaning, no red marks) before you can begin the tattoo process.

My initial research provided me with this tip: avoid the plastic surgeon's nurse and opt for a professional permanent makeup artist.

Why? Most likely, a nurse doesn't get the cosmetic training as a permanent makeup artist...so more often than not, you don't get the color you want. (Also, depending on your insurance plan, my doctor's office was twice as expensive.)

Of course, I'm fortunate because I know an excellent permanent makeup artist--which is not to be confused with a regular tattoo place, in which they use synthetic dyes. A permanent makeup artist typically uses natural dyes and applies the tattoo with their hand, rather than a machine, for a more authentic look.

In addition to cosmetic tattoos (such as eyebrows, eyeliner, lipstick and even blush), many permanent makeup artists specialize in medical tattooing as well -- it's worthwhile to find out if they do and see photos of their work.

I discovered Cheryl Rosenblum, owner of Permanent Makeup of Atlanta (www.permanentmakeupofatlanta.com) when I finished chemotherapy and my eyebrows didn't fully come back.

After spending several frustrating months applying makeup to my brow line, I heard about Cheryl and paid her a visit. She showed me a portfolio of her clients who needed all sorts of medical tattooing (mainly covering up scars and filling in bald spots).

She not only filled in my brows, but my eyeliner as well. It looks natural--which is good, since I've never cared to look like a clown. (The jury is still out, however, on whether I've actually been a clown or not.)

I talked about my next tattoos with Cheryl, who said she often has to redo breast tattoos from doctors' offices.

So, when my scars heal, I'll head to Cheryl, and share anything else I learn.