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Breast cancers toll lessened by tattoos

New TestimonialsBY BILL SAN ANTONIO

Olga Lucia is a certified micropigmentologist, which is to say she is both a doctor and tattoo artist, concealing surgical scars and thinning eyebrows and even crafting permanent makeup for her clients.

Lucia, an optometrist by trade, also has another specialty: She tattoos realistic areolas - in color, shape and depth - onto breast cancer patients who have undergone mastectomies.

On Oct. 21, in honor of breast cancer awareness month, Lucia will perform free areola tattooing for several patients out of her office, Olga Lucia Permanent Cosmetics, in Roslyn Heights.

At press time, Lucia had three, one-hour time slots still available.

A lot of people do this say, oh, my mother had breast cancer or my sister had breast cancer or I had breast cancer, but I don not have a story like that, the Port Washington resident said. God gave me an artistic talent that I use as a way to do some good. I want to make people happy, that is it.

Lucia said she began tattooing breasts gradually in the late 1990s, having practiced tattooing in both her native Colombia and in America after emigrating in 1994.

She perfected her craft the way most tattoo artists do before being entrusted with human canvasses, on pieces of fruit that provide a texture similar to flesh.

But Lucia is equipment and tattooing techniques are different from those of her often heavily-inked counterparts. She uses machinery and inks that offer a more refined tattoo and don not risk leaving the skin bruised.

I am considered a micropigmentologist, but people dont know what that is, so I tell them I am a tattoo artist, she said. At first, people were scared of the word tattoo. It had a negative stigma attached, but now, its getting more and more common. I try to educate people to not be scared of the word tattoo.

Lucia began her career in optometry, earning her medical degree from La Salle University in Colombia after studying anatomy, bacteriology, pathology, histology, physics and pharmacology.

She later began tattooing as a way of bridging her artistic passions with her medical expertise. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Micropigmentation, holds certifications from the Nassau County and New York City health departments to practice tattooing and is the only certified micropigmentation instructor on Long Island.

This makes people feel better, and when you feel better, you look better and have more confidence, Lucia said. When I get a hug from someone saying you have changed their life, what is better than that?

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