Take tatt, Big C! Tattoo artists offer free nipple inkings to breast cancer survivors

TATTOO artists have launched a special free inking service – offering nipple tattoos to breast cancer survivors.

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Gary Valentine and Kenny Howden have been perfecting their technique to make their designs look as realistic as possible.

They aim to give any woman who has been forced to have breast reconstruction surgery because the illness new nipples and areolas at their Tattoo Centre in Inverness.

All they ask in return is that customers make a donation to a cancer charity.

Studio owner Gary said: “A few months ago we started looking into it, then we actually had a client who came in asking about it.

“She was quite emotional afterwards and said she felt feminine again. We asked her to make a donation to charity instead of paying us and she was even more emotional after that.

“The way I see it is that these women have been through enough so it doesn’t sit right with me to take money from them, I would rather it benefitted a charity.”

The two artists use freckles and the skin tone on the chest and neck to make the 3D effect tattoos look realistic as possible.

Gary added: “We tattoo professionally for a living so most of the skills can be transferred no matter what we are designing although we have come up with a technique which seems to be working really well.

“The last ones Kenny did were so realistic, they looked 3D. The skill involved totally blew me away.”

The service is available on the NHS but some patients prefer to be inked by full-time tattoo artists.

And Gary is offering training to other tattoo artists in the area who want to learn the skill in order to keep up with demand.

He said: “We want to provide the service in the Highland area but if any other tattooists or nurses want to learn how to do it, we are happy to pass on the skills and give them pointers because there are only two of us and we still have to run our normal business.

“The only thing we ask is anyone we pass these skills to does it for charity like we are.

“We would hate to pass the knowledge on to people who are going to use this to make a profit, I don’t think that’s how it should be done.”

More information is available by calling Inverness Tattoo Centre on 01463 711149 or leaving a message on its Facebook page.

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