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Tattoo artist spends her life savings on training to help breast cancer survivors

A TATTOOIST has spent her life savings on a 5,000-mile trip to pioneer a new service to help breast cancer survivors.

Lucy Thompson, a 27-year-old mum from Cullingworth, invested her savings in a trip to Texas so she could be the first UK tattoo artist to have specialist training in tattooing realistic areolas on women who have had a mastectomy.

Miss Thompson, who runs her Skinflicted business from Keighley, says she went to the States to learn the craft because she believes women deserve better when it comes to post-op cosmetic reconstruction.

She did her training at The House of A.R.T (Areola Restorative Tattooing) studying a ground-breaking new system that gives the illusion of a 3D nipple and uses a special ink to make it permanent solution.

Now she is back home in Yorkshire she has started offering the new restorative service to local mastectomy clients.

The service, part of her second year expansion plans for Skinflicted, is growing globally, and is popular with tattoo artists in Canada and France as well as America.

Miss Thompson, who has been a tattoo artist for four years, said: “Currently UK women only have the option of medical or cosmetic tattoo treatment using micro pigmentation which will wear away and require annual top-ups.

“After the trauma of going through cancer, I want to make the restorative period as stress-free as possible and help women feel whole again, drawing a line under the arduous journey they have been through.

“Why should they have to return for future treatment when it can be done in one process?”

Wanting to help women through cancer is close to her heart. She said: “We have a history of breast cancer in my family. My great auntie suffered from it, my auntie has endured it and my mum discovered a benign tumour which she has to regularly monitor.

“My auntie had a mastectomy and got a tattoo done in hospital which has now faded to almost nothing so it needs re-doing. This just isn’t good enough for a cancer survivor.”

Miss Thompson is hoping to get recognition from surgeons, doctors and medical insurance companies for referrals of patients so more women can be helped.

Miss Thompson is also exploring opportunities to work with local health authorities to obtain funding for clients.

She had her first tattoo when she was 18 and only decided to follow her dream of turning her passion for art into a career after her textiles teacher saw her working in her dad’s pub – and was shocked to find her not working with her artistic talent.

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She served an 18-month apprenticeship before setting up her own business which is getting bigger with plans to take on a second artist to join her.

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, she is offering £100 off restorative tattoos.

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