How these permanent makeup artists are helping North East breast cancer survivors regain their confidence
Through the power of areola tattooing, Amanda Patterson and Megan Jones are empowering women to reclaim their bodies again.
After overcoming breast cancer, many survivors undergo a mastectomy and reconstruction treatment, which transforms their bodies, can leave behind scars and results in the loss of nipples and areoles.
Understandably, this can often knock the confidence of many women, making them not feel like themselves when they look in the mirror. But after such a traumatic time, the very least these women deserve is to feel able to reclaim their bodies.
This is why the North East Nipple Project was born: to give these inspirational women a sense of normality back.
It was in lockdown when permanent makeup artists Amanda Patterson and Megan Jones discovered areola tattooing on Instagram. They soon realised there were very few artists offering the service in the North East, so decided to sign up for an online course to learn more about the treatment.
With long waiting times through the NHS, private clinics charging high prices and many tattoo artists unable to offer free treatments, it was a no-brainer for Amanda and Megan to set something up of their own.
So, what is areola tattooing? Very similar to getting a normal tattoo, this cosmetic procedure reconstructs the way your nipple looks with pigment, to make it appear more natural and realistic.
‘We wanted to create a way that women could have the areola tattooing as soon as it was safe after a mastectomy, to minimise waiting times and give them back their confidence,’ says Amanda.
‘We want to give women who have gone through such trauma a chance to regain their confidence and also help them with a new start and outlook. We have other plans to add to our services which will also help our women receive so much more than a tattoo, they will receive a lifelong memory and we are so lucky to be part of this.’
North East Nipple Project is a non-profit company which is soon set to offer free areola tattoos for women across the region at their regular clinics in Durham and Wallsend. Amanda and Megan are still applying for funding, but already have a waiting list for clients to sign up to and hope to start providing treatments by the end of the year.
‘Creating awareness right now is important, as not many women know that this is available and wait months on the NHS to get this done,’ says Megan. ‘We feel extremely privileged to be in the position to offer this service very soon. No money in the world could pay for such a feeling, which is why we will always keep the treatment free. The smile on our client’s faces when they leave our treatment room will mean the world to us.‘
North East Nipple Project hopes to venture further afield by building a team of artists around the UK, all with one mission – to help cancer survivors build back their confidence.