Katrina: Boosting Self-Esteem with Tattoos for Women Recovering from Breast Surgery

A makeup artist who spotted the “desperate need” for post-surgery breast tattooing has said the treatment can be life-changing for many women.

Katrina McVeigh is a permanent makeup specialist who completed her training in England beginning in April. She has now become a medical tattooist.

Katrina, originally from Armagh, now lives in Aughnacloy. She became aware of a gap in Northern Ireland after one of her clients was forced to travel to England to receive 3D areola Tattooing following a double mastectomy.

“One of my brow clients had asked if I knew anyone with areola tattoos. She couldn’t bear to see her breasts in the mirror because she thought they looked abnormal,” she said.

“I told her I knew a woman in Kent, Vicky Martin, who was terrific, so she went and got the treatment.

“The artist contacted me to thank me for the referral, and after researching and discovering a real need here, I told her I would be interested in doing the course.

“Some people have been through a lot. During my training, a woman I worked with in England told me, ‘You have no idea how much of a difference this will make to me. I have felt like a Barbie doll up until now, with two lumps’.”

Women who have undergone other health problems can also benefit from this treatment.

Said Katrina: “I had a lady this morning who lost a nipple through another disease, and she said she was so glad the treatment was available in NI.

“Another woman is going to come to me who has had the reconstruction but doesn’t have the nipples. In many reconstructions, nipples can’t be saved or aren’t successfully saved.

“I also have a client who had a lumpectomy, but because of the radiotherapy, she has lost the color out of that nipple.”

Katrina explained that even though the tattoo is flat, it is made to look 3D, as though the nipple is “protruding.”

“It is so realistic – amazing – and I intend to add my touches as well, ” she said.

Each breast tattoo takes about two hours. Before the procedure, everyone must undergo a consultation with a patch test.

Katrina completed a scar camouflaging class as part of her training to treat all types of scarring.

“A client of mine was in a bad car accident more than 20 years ago but is still very conscious of her forehead scar,” she said.

Katrina is 46 years old, married, and has a son. She lived in Brazil from the age of 12. Although very creative and artistic, Katrina pursued a postgraduate law degree. She worked at the Department of Justice in the United States for 18 years.

After leaving the Civil Service in 2019, she set up her own business.

“I had already started this business, and it had taken off, so I decided to do it full-time,” she said.

“3D areola is quite a new concept to Northern Ireland. Some people have been through a lot, and I would tell them to feel free to contact any inquiry.”

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