PMU is not just a confidence booster, it's a life changer. For women who have survived the biggest battles of their lives, areola reconstruction and scar camouflage give them the opportunity to start fresh. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we will be spotlighting four PMU artists who are helping their clients feel whole again.
Meet Shanika McCall (@chanelluxxe_3dareola), a highly experienced medical tattoo artist and owner of Chanel Luxxe 3D Areola and Cosmetic Tattooing LLC. She holds over 22 certifications, continuously seeking to expand her knowledge and expertise in paramedical tattooing and permanent makeup. She strives to empower remarkable individuals by providing realistic and natural-looking 3D areola tattooing, scar camouflage, and PMU. In addition, she actively trains and mentors aspiring paramedical tattoo artists, guiding them through the intricate techniques and best practices required to perform these specialized services. Through her years of experience, she has built a strong reputation in the PMU industry and is highly recommended by plastic surgeons in NC and SC.
Learn all about her journey into areola reconstruction and the importance of bedside manners when working with breast cancer survivors.
**PLUS, if you live in the Raeford, NC area, Shanika will be offering free 3D areola tattoos every day for the month of October. Check out her Instagram (@chanelluxxe_3dareola) for more information.**
What inspired you to venture into areola reconstruction?
As an artist, trainer, and mentor, my journey into 3D areola tattooing began with a profound desire to help individuals who have undergone mastectomies or breast reconstruction surgeries due to breast cancer or other medical reasons. Witnessing these brave individuals' physical and emotional challenges ignited a strong sense of empathy within me. I realized that I could use my artistic skills to make a tangible difference in their lives. The inspiration behind my work comes from a deep appreciation for the resilience of the human spirit. I've had the privilege of meeting incredible individuals who have faced breast cancer head-on and emerged as survivors, warriors, and beautiful souls. Their stories, strength, and courage have touched me in ways I can hardly describe.
Creating 3D areola tattoos allows me to give back, help survivors regain a sense of wholeness, and celebrate their healing journey. The process involves carefully studying the unique contours of each person's body, skin tone, and individual preferences. It's about understanding that beauty is not confined to conventional standards but rather lies in the uniqueness of each person. Through my art, I aim to restore physical symmetry and emotional well-being. Additionally, providing 3D areola tattoos is an ongoing learning journey for me. I continually strive to improve my skills, explore new techniques, and collaborate with medical professionals to ensure that my work meets the highest quality and safety standards. My inspiration for 3D areola tattooing comes from a place of compassion, empathy, and a deep appreciation for the human spirit's capacity to overcome adversity. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to use my art to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those I serve, and it is a privilege that continues to inspire and motivate me every day.
What advice or tips would you give to artists who want to specialize in this procedure?
For artists interested in starting 3D areola tattooing, it is crucial to prioritize education and training in medical tattooing, with a focus on breast reconstruction and restoration. This includes understanding breast surgery and skin anatomy, color theory, and the healing process. Building a strong portfolio that showcases your skills and empathy for patients who have undergone mastectomies is essential. Additionally, developing excellent communication and bedside manners is critical, as building trust and rapport with clients is essential. Compliance with hygiene and safety standards is non-negotiable in the medical tattooing field. Finally, it is important to continuously update your knowledge and stay informed about the latest techniques and technologies to offer the best possible service to your clients.
What do you think is the most important thing a PMU artist should say or do to make the client feel comfortable during your areola reconstruction procedures?
Firstly, show empathy and understanding towards the client's feelings and concerns. Let them know that you are there to support them through the process and that their comfort and satisfaction are your top priorities. Encourage them to share their preferences or concerns and take your time with the procedure. Secondly, provide a clear and detailed explanation of the entire procedure, including what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. Walk them through the steps involved, the choice of pigments, and the healing process. Transparency helps alleviate any uncertainty and builds trust. Lastly, personalize the consultation to the client's needs and preferences. Discuss options such as pigment color, size, and placement, ensuring they have a say in the final result. This collaborative approach empowers the client and helps them feel more in control of their body's restoration, promoting comfort and confidence throughout the process.
Which machine, needles or pigments would you recommend for areola reconstruction?
My favorite machine for performing 3D areola tattoos is the FLUX by FK Irons, paired with my preferred pigment line, World Famous Pigments. I exclusively use permanent pigments because I firmly believe that breast cancer survivors should not have to endure the emotional burden of returning for touch-ups and being reminded of the challenging journey they've overcome. It's crucial to provide them with a lasting and beautiful solution that empowers them to move forward with confidence and pride.