Instead of expensive or risky cosmetic surgeries, people are taking a new approach to covering up injuries: “paramedical” tattoos.
Tattoo artists have offered post-mastectomy tattoos to breast cancer survivors for years. Now, artists have started expanding outward to other medical procedures, The New York Times reports. A man who lost two fingertips in a workplace got fingernails tattooed on. A woman with severe dog bites on her face had them camouflaged with flesh-colored ink rather than corrected with surgery.
“I went to plastic surgeons that were supposed to be the best in Memphis,” the woman, a dog breeder named Leslie Pollan, told the NYT. “They gave me no hope, so I started looking for other options.”
Instead, she found a tattoo artist who could mask her scars, a process she found crucial to emotional healing and restoring her self-confidence after her injury.
“You don’t understand until you’ve been through it,” Ms. Pollan said. “It really made me have a different outlook on life.”
Her tattoo artist, Eric Catalano, offers this sort of restorative, paramedical tattoo for free, financing them through his more conventional work and a crowdfunding campaign that brought him $12,000, the NYT reports.
“Financially it doesn’t make sense, but it’s just something that I love to do,” Catalano told the NYT. “Every time I see that emotion, I’m 100 percent sure this is something that I can’t stop doing.”
Keep up. Subscribe to our daily newsletter.
READ MORE: Ink Rx? Welcome to the World of Paramedical Tattoos [The New York Times]
More on tattoos: Invisible Ink “Tattoos” Could Be Used To ID Vaccinated Kids