Nipple Tattoos Are Apparently a Trend

No more nipple shame (Photo by ThinkStock)Because women don't have enough body woes to obsess over, The Telegraph reports that a bizarre new trend is sweeping England: nipple tattoos.

Yup, women who aren't satisfied with their ordinary, run-of-the-mill nipples can now sport new and improved nipples by inking them so they're darker and more defined (that's good news for women with pesky undefined nipples). The treatment is touted to create a more symmetrical look for nipples that are mismatched, or colorless.

Here's how it works. The procedure takes two hours and can cost close to $2,000 (that's for both boobs). The patient's nipples are numbed and ink that most closely matches the skin tone is applied. The effects last for about 12-18 months, and then touch-ups are recommended as, just like with any other tattoo, the ink fades over time.

Gail Proudman, a UK-based independent clinician says she sees over three clients per week. "A lot of people want their nipples made darker. It’s the fashion," she told The Telegraph. "Some people think theirs are too pink or their boyfriends want them done. I think sometime they are doing it because they are conscious of them being pale and they think it’s fashionable to have dark nipples. They'll look at the magazines and page 3 [where The Sun tabloid features a topless model] and unfortunately a lot of it might be peer pressure. The girls get them done so they can go topless and not be embarrassed, or when they're in a changing room and getting changed. They can go on holiday in front of their partners, go for massages, spray tans, and just not be conscious of their body."

So, pink is out and dark is in? Men have nipple preference? The spray tan person looks at our nipples?

Danielle Price, an Essex-based technician has a more realistic take on the trend, telling The Telegraph, "A lot of people still don’t know about it, but it is definitely getting more popular. I have seen a huge change in clientele. They used to be so much older and professional. Now I'm getting really young girls aged 18 to 25. Some girls do come to me and say their boyfriends will like it more. It’s a bit worrying to think they would go out and get it done just because of that, and I wouldn’t do it for them until they were sure they wanted it. The younger generation are so hung up on everything being just so, it’s quite sad really.”

But clientele seemed to be pleased. Claire Jagger, 38, had the treatment following a boob job and told the paper, “To me, it was the finishing touch after getting my breasts done. My nipples were quite fair in color, no different from any ordinary girl, but I wanted to enhance them to make them darker. I wanted the shape to be perfect, and now I feel great because I have absolutely perfect nipples,” she says.

Michelle, 32, had hers done to make them bigger and more grown-up looking. “My nipples were very small and childlike. I felt like a young girl,” she told The Telegraph. “My boobs grew when I was younger but my nipples didn’t, and they didn’t have rings, so they looked a bit wrong. I decided to get it done and it was quite a simple procedure, really straightforward, quick and didn’t hurt. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I know my boobs aren’t on show but it has still given me so much more confidence. My new nipples are better than any natural ones I could have had. When I go swimming now I’m not self-conscious about my nipples showing through my bikini. With my partner I didn’t want to take my bra off before but now that’s gone, so our relationship is better. I feel more out-going and more content in my body.”

For better or worse, business is booming in Liverpool. According to The Telegraph there are currently more than 15 independent nipple technicians. However, Graham Offer from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons says while procedure is medically safe, women shouldn't hop down to the local tattoo parlor and to consider the long-term effects. “I'd recommend people give it consideration and thought because it’s permanent and you don't know what the effects will be as the breast changes over time. The nipple-areola complex will change with pregnancy, so people need to think about their future."

Will designer nipples come to the U.S.? That's one import we could do without.