Searching for ‘angels’

Peart aims to offer medical tattooing for breast cancer survivors at no cost

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Local stylist Amanda Peart, right, recently began offering post-mastectomy medical tattooing. Her best friend Alyssa Sparks, left, is a breast cancer survivor and was Peart's inspiration for learning the craft.

For nearly 20 years, Amanda Peart has made it her mission to help everyone who walks into her salon look and feel their best, and to feel comfortable in their own skin.

For years, that included hair services like cuts and colorings, but about five years ago, it began to include permanent makeup. More recently, her repertoire expanded to include post-mastectomy medical tattooing, a service she hopes to offer area breast cancer survivors at no cost.

Peart was inspired to offer these services by her best friend, Alyssa Sparks, who is a two-time breast cancer survivor herself.

“My goal is to make women feel more complete when they are done with their journey,” Peart said. “I just want women to be comfortable in their own skin.”

Peart said she plans to learn skin camouflaging, another tattoo technique that is used to mask scars.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Amanda Peart had a client donate a jar filled with little inspirational and encouraging notes for clients who are fighting or have survived breast cancer. Peart is also a licensed to tattoo permanent makeup and post-mastectomy medical tattoos. Next to the jar sit some of the tattoo pigments she uses to make the tattoos as realistic as possible.

“I want to be able to make people feel comfortable. I’ve done hair for almost 20 years and I’ve dealt with the shaving of the head and looking for wigs and stuff, so I wanted to expand that out,” she said. “I didn’t realize that [post-mastectomy tattooing] was even a service until a few years ago.”

For the last several years, Peart has offered permanent makeup services, which include eyebrow tattooing and shading, permanent eyeliner and lip pigment. She’s had several clients who booked with her because after they went through chemotherapy treatment, they lost the hair in their eyebrows and eyelashes and lost color in their lips. Peart provides her permanent makeup services on the second floor of The Hair Receiver, 1220 Second Ave. N.

Earlier this year, Peart learned of an opportunity to train for post-mastectomy medical tattooing in Naples, Florida. In March, she and Sparks flew down for the week-long class. Sparks, being the inspiration for this new adventure, was Peart’s model for the training.

“I was 29 when I had breast cancer the first time and then the second time three years — to the day, almost — I was diagnosed again and that’s when I had the full mastectomy and everything,” Sparks said.

The medical tattooing to replace the areolas and nipples that were removed during the surgery isn’t something she thought she needed or wanted until the opportunity came up when she and Peart went to Naples.

“Having it done has completely changed how I look and feel about myself,” Sparks said. “I’m scarred up from all the surgeries I’ve had, and this really increased my confidence. It made me feel one million percent better about my body.”

Seeing the impact the service has had on her best friend, Peart wants to be able to offer that to as many women as she can.

“Ultimately my goal is to be able to provide the post-mastectomy areola and nipple tattooing free for any cancer patient that has gone through that whole journey,” Peart said.

She’s hoping to find donors and sponsors — she plans to call them “Personal Expressions Angels” — to cover the cost of the service.

The training, continuing education and materials are expensive, but Peart doesn’t want to pass that cost along to the clients she aims to help.

“I just want to be able to give this to somebody, but I can’t do it alone,” she said. “I need other people to want to help and support that.”

Each session can take more than three hours and some clients need more than one session to get the results they want.

“I’ve reached out to a couple nonprofits without really any luck,” she said.

For now, Peart’s accepting donations through her Venmo account, @Amanda-Peart-1. She asks that donors include their name and “Personal Expressions Angels” in the memo line.

“And then I have this board back here that we are going to print wings and the names of each donor on so hopefully one day I have a whole wall of those,” she said.

“I’ve never met anybody like Amanda. Truly, she has the biggest heart and she really cares about people and wants people to be comfortable in their skin and be happy,” Sparks said. “So for her to even take my experience with breast cancer and try to improve as many women’s lives as she can, that’s amazing to me. She’s amazing.”

Peart spends a lot of her free time practicing what she learned in Naples.

“I really want to perfect my skill,” she said. “You’ll see me working on my fake skins all the time.”

The process of learning how to create hyper-realistic tattoos was not easy, Peart said.

“I’m not a trained artist — I didn’t take art classes or anything,” she said. “So learning the 3D effects has been a little mind challenging for me to understand that.”

Peart also does some of her tattooing work at HT Tattoos in Humboldt. When Peart had to close her shop in downtown Fort Dodge several months back, HT Tattoos was the only place willing to take her in so she could continue performing her permanent makeup services, she said. They also mentored her and encouraged her to do the class in Naples.

“Hayley, one of the tattooers that I work with up in Humboldt, she is a phenomenal artist and has been giving me pointers on the shading and it’s just crazy how realistic you can make them with the right shading.”

Peart will be using her shading skills to tattoo fingernails for a client who lost two fingernails in an accident.

“My goal is really just to help people feel more comfortable and confident,” Peart said.

Peart invites cancer survivors to schedule a consultation just to learn more about it, even if they’re not sure if the tattooing is something they want. She also invites women currently battling breast cancer to schedule a consultation. Though she isn’t able to tattoo a patient going through chemo because of the risk of infection, she can start the process of finding the right pigments for when the client is able to be tattooed.

“My real goal is to be able to recreate what you started with,” she said.

To schedule a consultation, call 515-571-7039 or visit www.personalexpressionsstudio.com.


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