4 things to Know About Areola Tattooing (from an expert!) 

April 22, 2024

Recovery from breast cancer treatment can look differently for everyone, with unique choices and decisions to make that can feel really personal. One step some people with breast cancer may take in their post-surgery experience is areola tattooing. Areola tattooing is exactly what it sounds like; using tattooing to permanently draw a natural-looking areola onto the reconstructed breast. While nothing can replace the original nipple, many people find the application of areola tattoos a positive and empowering experience.    

To help us learn more about areola tattooing, we’ve brought in expert Verushka Hille. Verushka is a restorative and cosmetic tattoo artist with training in scar management. As the founder and principal artist at Body Love Ink in Toronto, Canada, Verushka has focused her artistry specifically in 3D restorative areola tattooing, as well as scar reduction, with a focus on how to work with scar tissue to better address the scars left behind. Verushka combines her past dental care training, including her skills in patient care and consideration, her impeccable infection control protocol and her skill at natural tattoo artistry to work with patients following breast reconstruction surgery. With a trauma informed, care focused approach, Verushka’s goal is to help restore her patients’ breasts to their most natural looking form to help people impacted by breast cancer look and feel more like themselves. 

Verushka was kind enough to share her expertise with us and these are the fast facts she wants you to know:

You can’t rush recovery

While it’s understandable that patients want to recover as soon as possible, Verushka cautions against rushing through recovery for any reason, least of all areola tattooing. “Breast reconstruction comes in so many forms,” says Verushka, “so it is important that all reconstruction is final and complete before taking this next step. These timelines are typically anywhere between 3-4 months or a year. Your surgeon will give you the thumbs up when you are ready and an evaluation between you and your chosen areola artist will be done taking all aspects into account.”

What will “it” look like?

It, in this case, being the new nipple(s)! And like people, every nipple is unique, and Veruskha will work with the client to ensure they achieve the results they are looking for. “We will work with the client to determine the best size for the new breast and colour to match their skin tone. Once the colour and size are agreed upon, we will create dimension with colour and shading, creating a realistic nipple and areola. If you have a colour picture of your original areola, we can use this as a guide. We can also look to the colouring of your lips as inspiration.”

How long will the process take?

Not unlike a regular tattoo, the areola tattoo process is typically completed across two sessions taking place 6-8 weeks apart, to allow for healing time between sessions. There are many variables that determine if a third visit is needed, including the presence of scar tissue, or if the area to be tattooed was previously eradiated. “Each session is approximately 3 hours depending on if it’s bilateral or unilateral. The first appointment will serve as the basis for the foundation of the new tattoo. In the second session, we will add details and dimension and touch up any areas where needed,” Verushka explains, adding “I make sure to book ample time for each appointment, to ensure an unhurried service for the comfort and ease of each patient.” Speaking of comfort…

Will it hurt?

Unsurprisingly this is a question that tattoo artists hear a lot, and that doesn’t change even if nipples are their speciality. Verushka assures us however that there is very little discomfort in the areola tattooing process. “80% of the time, there is no discomfort in the reconstructed breast,” Verushka shared. “More often than not, scar tissue has little to no feeling, though some areas might have some feeling or even restored sensation. If you do experience discomfort, we will apply a topical anaesthetic to make you more comfortable.”

Lastly, Verushka leaves us with these words: “expect to feel great about your decision!” And we love the sound of that.

To learn more about areola tattooing or scar treatments, please feel free to reach out to Verushka and Body Love Ink through her website or social media!


Verushka began her work in the dental industry and developed a high standard of patient and medical professionalism.

With a keen eye for design and style, she now combines her love of aesthetic beauty with her clinical knowledge and expertise.

Her cosmetic education includes certifications in eyebrow enhancement, areola restoration, scar camouflage and more.

She has studied with specialists and experts and is proud to provide the highest standards of care to those seeking permanent beauty and restorative options.

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