Breast Scar Camouflage – All You Need to Know
For people that underwent breast surgery, breast scar camouflage can be life-changing. Find all the important information on this procedure below.
Breast scar camouflage treatments are a way to leave painful memories behind and regain your confidence.
They can significantly improve the appearance of healed post-surgery scars and recreate the look of the nipple and areola, which are oftentimes removed as part of the cancer treatment procedure and gender reassignment surgery.
Read this guide to find answers to all your breast scar camouflage questions and learn more about the treatments available.
Click on the link to go directly to a specific step:
What Is Breast Scar Camouflage?
Breast scar camouflage is a term that combines several cosmetic treatments intended for reducing the visibility of breast scars and reconstructing the nipple and areola.
Also known as Medical or Paramedical tattooing, the main purpose of cosmetic tattoos for breast scar camouflage is to cover up discoloration and add pigment to the skin areas lacking color.
However, some breast surgeries create vertical scars from the nipple to the lower portion of the breast which may need to be relaxed first in order to later be covered up by cosmetic tattoos.
To achieve this, many artists recommend scar relaxation treatments like Inkless Stretch Mark Revision or MCA Dry Needling, which are highly effective as part of breast scar camouflage.
Still, the most important role in breast scar camouflage goes to various cosmetic tattoo treatments like 3D nipple tattoos, areola tattoos, and micropigmentation.
These tattoo treatments recreate the look of natural nipples and areolas, and they can be amazingly realistic.
Image source: Instagram @breastcancernippletattoo
Which Surgical Procedures Leave Breast Scars?
Some of the most common surgical procedures that lead to breast scarring are:
- Breast Augmentation Surgery
- Breast Reduction Surgery (Reduction Mammoplasty)
- Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
- Male Breast Reduction (Gynecomastia)
What Breast Scar Camouflage Treatments Are Available?
Breast scar camouflage treatments fall into two categories – scar relaxation and breast scar tattoo. Here’s a quick look at what these treatments entail:
Scar relaxation or non-surgical scar revision uses advanced skin needling techniques like Inkless Stretch Mark Revision or MCA Dry Needling to stimulate collagen production which reduces the appearance of scars.
These techniques create microscopic punctures in the scar tissue which can repair the skin naturally working below the epidermis layer in the dermis layer of the skin tissue.
As new collagen and elastin fibers are formed, scars are softened, and blood supply is enhanced. Results can be seen in as little as a few weeks with a dramatic improvement in the appearance and size of scars.
Scar relaxation is a beneficial procedure for women and men who have surgical scars from mastectomy or breast reconstruction, as well as a highly recommended step before nipple and areola tattoos and re-pigmentation.
Image source: Instagram @blend_skinsolutions
Breast Scar Tattoo
Breast scar tattoos fall in the Medical or Paramedical tattooing category.
Unlike scar relaxation treatments that only use thin needles to treat scar tissue from within, breast scar tattoos work on camouflaging the scarring on the skin’s surface with the use of cosmetic and traditional tattoo pigments.
Breast scar camouflage is most often a form of micropigmentation, where an electric PMU machine is used to deposit cosmetic tattoo pigments to the scar tissue.
Through a process called pixelation, PMU artists use a mix of colors and pigments to seamlessly blend the scar with the skin’s natural color patterns, masking the scar’s appearance.
Cosmetic tattoo pigments and traditional tattoo pigments are both used as part of nipple and areola scar camouflage, to add color, correct, or re-create nipples that had to be surgically removed.
Image source: Instagram @linalutattoo
Breast Scar Camouflage After Mastectomy & Breast Cancer
Breast cancer surgery scars are the most common reason for getting a breast scar camouflage treatment. Scar relaxation treatments are generally recommended first, in order to flatten out the scarred area.
The next step in camouflaging breast cancer scars is micropigmentation and/or 3D nipple and areola tattoo.
Halo scars around the areola can be blended into the surrounding skin with micropigmentation, as well as portacath scars, and scars from TRAM or DIEP flap surgery.
An alternative way to cover up breast cancer scarring is to do a decorative mastectomy tattoo. This is designed to cover surgery scars and draw the eye away from them by creating an empowering image that flatters the shape of the breast.
Image source: Instagram @travisbrowntattoos
Breast Enlargement, Breast Reduction & Breast Lift Scar Camouflage
Breast augmentation and reduction surgeries leave a white halo scar around the nipple or a lollipop scar running vertically down the breast.
Micropigmentation in combination with MCA Dry Needling is a good option to camouflage these scars as well as others that may occur as part of cosmetic breast surgery.
3D nipple and areola tattoos can also be done as a corrective treatment for necrosis of the nipple-areolar complex and other surgery-related complications that may occur.
Breast Scar Camouflage After Gender Reassignment Surgery
Gender reassignment surgery results in scarring to the chest area. To minimize the appearance of post-surgery scars, the best thing to do is to first book a scar relaxation treatment.
After the scar tissue is relaxed, a breast scar tattoo can be done through micropigmentation to blend the scarring with the surrounding skin.
If a nipple graft has failed, cosmetic or traditional tattooing can restore the appearance of a realistic 3D Nipple. Chest scars may also be able to be hidden by a decorative tattoo if appropriate.
Image source: Instagram @boy.king.tattoo
Can Everyone Get Breast Scar Camouflage?
Before booking a breast scar camouflage treatment, your chosen artist or technician will need to assess the state of your breasts in order to tell you what to expect and what can be done. It’s a customized treatment, so you need to discuss the desired outcome with them.
This is also a good opportunity to do a patch test to make sure you’re not allergic to the pigments or serums and numbing creams used during the procedure.
Generally speaking, everyone who has had breast surgery is a candidate for various scar camouflage treatments, as long as the scar has healed.
Also, these procedures can be unsafe or have a less successful outcome for people with the following skin conditions:
- Proneness to keloids
- Spider veins
- Thinned, translucent skin
It is also important to note that people with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and cardiac disease are also advised against getting these procedures.
How Long Does Breast Scar Camouflage Last?
The longevity of breast scar camouflage depends on your chosen treatment.
In the case of breast scar camouflage tattoo, the skin is broken by using needles, and pigments are deposited into it.
Scar tissue cannot break down the cosmetic pigments or ink as quickly as undamaged skin, so the results can last 3-5 years for semi-permanent pigments, and about 7 years or longer for permanent ink.
Scar relaxation treatments like MCA dry needling provide permanent results once you have healed.
However, they do require a couple of sessions to provide noticeable results. Before booking a touch-up appointment, it is important to wait at least 60 days after the initial procedure, or as long as your skin needs to be fully healed.
Image source: Instagram @the.areola.tattooist
Breast Scar Camouflage – Main Takeaways
A well-executed breast scar camouflage treatment can be truly life-changing for breast cancer survivors, people that underwent breast augmentation surgery, or gender reassignment.
Breast scar camouflage treatments can reduce the appearance of scars naturally by stimulating collagen production, or by blending them in with the surrounding skin using cosmetic or tattoo ink.