The Barton tattooist helping breast cancer survivors feel more comfortable in their own skin with areola tattoos

-Credit: (Image: Submitted)
-Credit: (Image: Submitted)

A local tattoo artist who is the first in the area to offer special tattoos for breast cancer survivors who have had mastectomy operations said she hopes to bring a positive end to the women's journeys and help them to move forward.

Katie Harrington, 25, lives in Cleethorpes and tattoos at the Illustrated Ink studio in George Street, Barton-upon-Humber. After working there for six years, she decided to do something she has "always wanted to do" and embarked on a course to learn how to tattoo areolas, delivered by renowned tattooist Tanya Buxton, based in Cheltenham.

Having now completed the training, Katie will welcome her first two clients next month, and is excited to make the areola tattooing service more accessible locally for breast cancer patients and trans or non-binary people who have undergone top surgery.


Speaking to Grimsby Live, Katie said: "I've followed Tanya's work for ages, I've tattooed for ages and this was always something I wanted to do for personal reasons. The course became available in January for the first time, so I immediately put my name down and paid the deposit. The reason I wanted to do the course was to help people, that was my main focus.

"The course was really difficult and very different to what I'm used to, but it was fantastic. From a health perspective, breast cancer treatments do affect the body and make the skin and muscle different to work with, but the techniques Tanya has taught me are much safer to apply to people who have had surgery with the scars.

She travelled to Cheltenham for the special course -Credit:Submitted
She travelled to Cheltenham for the special course -Credit:Submitted

"The techniques are different so it was almost like starting fresh again - I felt like a newbie all over again. Everything we use is normal tattooing equipment, but the techniques are different.

"I did loads of online lessons that covered everything from tattoo fundamentals, breast cancer and how it affects the skin and body and how that plays into tattooing. I worked in Tanya's shop for a week and tattooed two patients, one who had had a unilateral mastectomy and one who had had a bilateral mastectomy."

Katie has now booked in her first two clients, and plans to offer the service to many more people from next month onwards.

She said: "Now more than ever, tattoos are becoming more accepted, but also now more than ever people are hearing about the areola tattooing, and it's becoming more accessible. I wanted to bring it to the area and make it more accessible to people locally.

She will welcome her first two clients next month -Credit:Submitted
She will welcome her first two clients next month -Credit:Submitted

"When it comes to customers who may require the treatment, they've all been really nice and I want to make the experience a really welcoming, gentle, comfortable and friendly environment for them. They've just been through so much already, and I wanted to bring a positive end to their journey so they can move forward.

"It's so lovely to see the look on their faces when they look in the mirror. It's really heartfelt. It's exciting to be able to do this for people and bring them comfort in their new bodies."

To find out more information about areola tattooing, you can contact Katie by emailing her on or by messaging her on her Facebook page here.