Frequently Asked Questions
I'm an experienced artist. Can I be part of your network?
If you'd like to be included in our upcoming new artist directory, or if you'd like to work with us on P.ink Day, email us a link to your portfolio with examples. Include work that clearly expresses your expertise with mastectomy tattoos: survivor testimonials, links to stories in the press, etc. Please note that our team receives many requests and cannot reply to each submission.
Does P.ink work outside North America?
Most artists with mastectomy expertise are located in the US and Canada. This is a solvable problem; we at P.ink will be seeding local hubs of training and expertise in Europe, Australia and South America. We'll need corporate + foundational sponsors to make this happen. Let us know if you can help.
How do I apply for a P.ink Day?
Our annual sign ups for P.ink Days are held every year, and are generally announced in the late spring when we have commitment from tattoo studios that wish to participate. Stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for announcements!
How do I know if I qualify to apply for a P.ink Day?
Following are the list of statements that you will need to be able to agree to when you apply, in order to be considered for a P.ink Day tattoo:
1.) You are seeking a decorative mastectomy tattoo on your reconstruction site. You understand that we do not provide areola tattoos, side tattoos, under-breast tattoos, TRAM or port scar tattoos on P.ink Days.
2.) You are at least 2 years out from your last surgery and have no pending surgeries
3.) You do not have any existing tattoos on your chest area - between the neck and your bra line area. Areola tattoos are ok.
4.) You agree to a design that is a medium sized (open hand sized) tattoo that can be performed in a 5-6 hour session in one day.
5.) You understand that you will be matched with an artist who is best suited to execute your design ideas.
6.) You understand that you will see your draft tattoo design at the meet and greet the night before the event, and the opportunity for adjustments will be available at that time. There will be a introductory phone consultation with your artist to discuss your design ideas prior to that.
7.) You are able to fully commit to the date and location that you sign up for.
8.) You agree to cover all travel related expenses should you choose to travel to a P.ink location that is not nearby.
9.) You agree that images of your tattoo from the event may be used by us for marketing purposes.
How are P.ink Day locations determined?
We are developing and maintaining a road-map for expansion into areas where we currently have no coverage, taking population density into account, as well as other demographics. We identify artists in those areas through recommendations from our current trusted artist network, and work with them to identify shops to host and local artists to participate.
That vetting process takes into account a number of variables, including, but not limited to, willingness. Artists have to have not just the right skills to work with scar tissue and radiated skin, but really also need to have an understanding of the truly emotional impact of this work! We find these things are best assessed by our already skilled and experienced artists.
Once we have a location willing and able to participate we recruit for a local leader, who would recruit other volunteers to help out.
I'm looking for areola tattoos. Do you have a list of artists that specialize in that?
Our main focus is on artists who specialize in decorative mastectomy tattoos, but we do know of a directory that might help. One of our artists does this type of training and has a list of artists that have completed it. Copy and paste the link below to access the directory.
If you cannot find an artist in your area on this list, we strongly recommend that you do your research and find a practitioner who has experience, and training in this specific work. As always, ask for references!
How long should I wait after my mastectomy to get tattooed? Do I need to consult my doctor?
Typically, doctors advise waiting 2 years after your mastectomy before starting the mastectomy tattoo process. Check with your doctor to be safe. Everyone heals a bit differently.
How do I know if a decorative mastectomy tattoo is right for me?
Mastectomy tattoos are an alternative that many choose to get for their own emoltional and physical healing. It's a very personal decision and we encourage you to consider you options carefully. Also, please consult with your doctor before applying to make sure this is right for you as everyone’s medical history is different.
How old do you have to be to get a tattoo?
Usually 18 but varies by state, for more information visit:
How much do mastectomy tattoos cost?
Everyone's medical demands and artistic tastes vary greatly. Artist fees run between $200 and $2,000 (USD) or more depending on the situation, size and complexity of the desired design.
Do you provide free tattoos?
Two of our programs, P.ink Day and the P.ink Fund, provide complimentary tattoos for survivors.
P.ink Day: Each October we organize P.ink Days, an all-out, volunteer-driven day of creative reclamation for survivors which culminates in a complementary tattoo.
P.ink Fund: October aside, we're also working year-round to impact change. Donations to the P.ink Fund at http://p-ink.org/give help us pay our most trusted artists to do their best work for survivors seeking a mastectomy tattoo, regardless of the time of year. The more donations we receive, the more survivors we can serve.
NOTE: Due to overwhelming demand and limited slots, new applications for the P.ink Fund are not currently being accepted as we work our way through the backlog of requests.
Can I tattoo over a mole?
You shouldn't. There is always the possibility that a mole could serve as an indicator of cancer. This makes the preservation of a mole important. One of the ways a mole can indicate a problem is by changing color. If it has been tattooed over with any kind of pigment, it will hinder your ability to spot any color differences.
Can I scar?
Scar tissue may form when you get a tattoo, or you could develop granulomas, small knots or bumps that may form around material that the body perceives as foreign. If you tend to get keloids—scars that grow beyond normal boundaries—you may develop the same kind of reaction to the tattoo.
Should I always use sunscreen on my tattoo?
Trick question, you should ALWAYS use sunscreen. Try to make sure you use mineral sunscreens without avobenze but that does have titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Does it hurt?
Tattoos aren't exactly pain-free, of course, even for women who've had a mastectomy. Your artist will talk you through the process and we encourage you to check out our resources page for more information.
Can I partake in alcohol or cannabis before getting tattooed to ease the pain?
Slamming a few shots right before getting your tattoo may seem like an easy way to curb the pain, but in reality, it can be dangerous. Alcohol thins your blood and can make you bleed more during your tattoo. Scary for health reasons and annoying for aesthetic reasons: The excess blood can thin the ink and mess with your final result.
And while marijuana may relax you for a semi unpleasant experience, it might also make you more anxious and sensitive to pain. Having anxiety or increased sensation while being tattooed probanbly wouldn't be much fun!
Is there anything I can use to numb the pain?
Emla Cream: It's a mixture of lidocaine and prilocaine. It’s a local anesthetic, which works by preventing nerve endings from sending signals to the brain about any sensation in the area, resulting in a numb feeling. The cream must be applied to the skin at least a half hour before the procedure, and covered in saran to prevent it from drying out.
Note that many artists discourage the use of numbing cream as it lessens their ability to gauge how your body is reacting to the tattooing process.
Please check with your artist on their preference for using numbing creams.
Will I need to get touch ups on my tattoo in the future?
Tattoos will fade over time. The rate at which this happens can vary, and the desire for touch ups in the future will vary depending on individual preferences.
I'm seeking design ideas. Where do I start?
A great resource is to search Instagram on #mastectomytattoo. You will find hundreds of design ideas there to inspire you!