Nipple Areolar Tattooing

Micro-pigmentation is a procedure that permanently alters the skin. A trained and experienced practitioner will perform the procedure but it is not without risk. 

The main risks include:

  • Not achieving an exact skin match
  • Scarring
  • Pigment migration or spreading
  • Uneven pigment colour
  • Infection

You will be responsible for determining the colour match of your nipple in consultation with your micro-pigmentation practitioner.

How long will it take?

Patients can require a few treatments to achieve a desired outcome.  100% success cannot always be guaranteed and the extent of the procedure depends on what changes are desired and the method the practitioner deems appropriate.

What factors will affect the results?

The results of the pigment camouflage is partly determined by variations in skin type and can be affected by:

  • Medication
  • Natural skin overtones
  • Skin characteristic (dryness, oiliness, sun damage, thickness, colour) 
  • PH balance of the skin (acidity)
  • Alcohol intake
  • Smoking
  • Individual healing ability


All equipment used is sterile. Disposable needles are used for each individual procedure.

The procedure

The length of time it takes to complete the micro-pigmentation procedures varies with each individual according to:

  • The position, width and depth of the nipple / areola area
  • The depth of colour to be matched
  • Acceptance of the pigment to skin type
  • The pigment is applied using a pen-like device which basically works like a miniature sewing machine; the needles move up and down fast, penetrating the epidermis and the dermis of the skin, implanting the coloured pigment. The pigments are built up using dots, lines or a circular motion.

What would you expect after the procedure?

You will experience slight swelling and redness following the procedure and the skin may feel tight. These symptoms will subside within 1-7 days depending on how sensitive your skin is.

You should be able to resume normal activities immediately following the procedure. However use of cosmetics, excessive perspiration and exposure of the affected area to the sun should be avoided until the area is fully healed.

Over the initial few days afterwards the pigmented area of skin will form a scab. This will last for 14-21 days when exfoliation of the dead cells (the scab) will occur as healing takes place. You will then notice slight fading of the pigment and softening of the colour.

It is important that the healing process takes its natural course. Scarring can occur if the scabs are removed or knocked off prematurely.

Skin care instructions

The following instructions must be carefully followed for at least two weeks post procedure to ensure successful results:
The first dressing should be left on for five days. It can then be removed.

Before showering or bathing apply a light coating of Vaseline to the areola. This protects the area by enabling water to bead off the damaged tissue.

If a crust appears on the areola do not pick or peel it off. This would remove the pigment as well as the crust.

Do not use soap, sunbathe, swim, sauna or jacuzzi during the two weeks following initial or follow-up procedures.

To prevent infection do not touch the pigmented area with your fingers until it is completely healed.  Use cotton buds to apply ointments.

Should any problems occur please contact the clinical nurse specialists:    

Naomi Day or Lorraine Peall: 0117 414 7018

If you or the individual you are caring for need support reading this leaflet please ask a member of staff for advice.

© North Bristol NHS Trust.  This edition published May 2021. Review due May 2023. NBT003099