It’s now almost become normal for me not to have nipples, and strangely, it does not bother me at all. But I am fairly sure I am going to get my nipples reconstructed in a few months. Until then, I am going to test out some options for temporary nipples to see how I feel about them.
I hadn’t thought much about temporary nipples, but while I was in hospital after my exchange surgery I was chatting to my breast care nurse about whether on not I was going to get my nipples reconstructed. I mentioned I was undecided and would look into other options while I was deciding. She later returned with a sample set of nipple tattoos.
These are from a local supplier here in Adelaide called Pink Lotus Australia (who do have an online shop!)
My first reaction when I saw them was that they were huge! And very pink. But I would give them a try anyway, to see what I think of them.
I waited until six weeks after my surgery to give them a try. The main reason is because every day I massage my scars for ten minutes with Bio Oil. Oil though is what is used to remove the tattoos, so I knew that while I had them on I would have to be very careful to only massage the parts of the scars not covered.
Putting them on was simple, just like those temporary tattoos we all loved as kids. Peel off the plastic coating on the front, place it tattoo side down where you want it and hold a wet cloth over it for 30 seconds.
I did note that there was a correct way up, the shadows around the nipples should go towards the bottom, although this wasn’t mentioned in the instructions.
Pink Lotus Australia also sells a product called Shine Remover that gets rid of the shiny look that the tattoos have for a more realistic appearance and to help them stay on longer. Since I only have this trial set of nipples I do not have the shine remover, and I honestly didn’t really notice them being shiny. I guess if you were planning to use the tattoos long term, then I would give the shine remover a go and see what you thought of it.
So what did I think? I didn’t quite get the placement right, but that would come with practice, and I think I would try the smaller size next time, but once on I liked the colour. I liked that the edges blended quite naturally into my skin. I liked that the process to put them on was easy. I quite liked the look in the mirror.
I really liked that they lasted for quite a few days (the website says 10-14) without any extra effort. I did notice that at about day 7 they started to peel around the edges a little, and by day ten about 1/3 had rubbed off (but I had done some big hikes and they had rubbed a lot against my tight bra!). My husband also was impressed by them.
If you want to give them a go, click through to order some from Pink Lotus Australia
For my US readers, I have not been able to find the exact same ones, but there are some temporary nipple tattoos available on Amazon here. If you have tried them, I’d love to hear about it below in the comments and what you thought.
When I started searching for other options for nipples these came up. Amoena is the brand of post surgical bras I have been wearing so I thought these could be a good option to try. I ordered them and waited for them to arrive.
Funnily enough, my name was tiny on the package and a friend who I share my PO Box with was the first to come across it. She didn’t notice the name so then proceeded to open it, in front of the PO staff, to make sure it was something she had ordered! No, it wasn’t, but now half my suburb probably knows I have prosthetic nipples lol. But I digress…
My first impressions were that I liked the size of these nipples better. They are available in three sizes, small, medium and large. I went with the medium ones. There were also four different colours available. I didn’t go with the lightest ones, mostly because I saw beforehand how light the tattoos were and thought I’d go for the next darker one called Almond.
Putting them on is super easy. Peel them off the back and put them where you want them to go. If you get it wrong, pull them off and reposition them.
Each night they need to be removed, cleaned with the cleaner supplied, left to air dry, then later, stored away back on their backing sheet. This preserves the “stick”.
These prosthetic nipples had some good features and some bad. In general I liked them. I probably should have gone for the lighter colour, but that’s not their fault. I really liked that they were 3D. A bump could be seen through my clothing, including when wearing my Amoena super tight post surgical bra (US link here). They did not move at all during the day and I felt confident they weren’t going to. The extra effort to remove and clean them each night was a little annoying to me though.
So far, after three weeks of wear, they have not yet lost any of their sticking ability. If they do, I would consider trying some sort of body adhesive (we called it “Bum Glue” when my daughter did gymnastics and it was used to keep the leotards in place) to extend their life.
Which were the Best Temporary Nipples?
I liked both types of temporary nipples for different reasons, and I think which type to go with really depends on why you want them in the first place. While I really liked the 3D look of the prosthetic nipples, the extra effort to take them on and off each day was a bit much for me. It also defeated one of the main reasons I am trialling nipples – for my husband – since they weren’t on at night time anyway.
If I really felt like something was missing and having nipples would help with how I felt about myself when I looked in the mirror, then the prosthetic nipples I think give a more realistic “look” when wearing clothes as well as when looking in the mirror.
The prosthetic nipples would also be great if you have only had a single mastectomy to help match with the remaining natural nipple.
But if I had to choose again for myself, I would go with the tattoos, just because they take less effort to look after and are there 24/7. Yes, I’m a bit lazy 🙂
But What About Nipple Reconstruction?
Trying out these temporary nipples has definitely helped me with my decision on whether to get my nipples reconstructed. My feeling after this was that “temporary” is not for me since that was the thing that annoyed me the most. For myself I was just as happy to go without nipples as to make the effort to put them on!
That means my solution could be nipple reconstruction then permanent tattoos (my first!) for the colour, or I could just go with some of the amazing 3D tattoos that can be done now.
I did quite like that with the prosthetic nipples I had that bump again. I also quite like that without nipples I would be able to go bra-less without that “high beam” effect! But would I really do that? After so many years of wearing a bra I feel almost naked without one.
I still have six weeks before I see my surgeon again, but at this stage I am leaning towards nipple reconstruction. Like my surgeon says, I think it will just help me to feel “finished”.
Want to read more of my story? Here are some of the key posts
- Lumpectomy and Finally the Results
- My Bilateral Mastectomy with Tissue Expanders
- Exchange Surgery – From Expanders to Implants
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