Skin Holistic Dermagraphic Clinic is trying to bring tattoo art back to one of its ancient uses: wellness and health. While today a tattoo is generally considered an artistic expression, clinic co-founders Gwynn “Wolf” Wolfstar and Tara Gray-Wolfstar believe it goes beyond the surface and can help heal external and internal scars.
So Skin HDC is offering cancer survivors an opportunity to receive a free scar-concealment tattoo or pigment augmentation with its October giveaway, Tatts for Ta-Tas.
Gray-Wolfstar and Wolfstar are both registered nurses and have more than sixteen years of experience in tattoo art. They opened the clinic in September 2014 to fulfill their dream of offering all the wellness options that patients might not be able to find in a hospital. “We wanted a place where people could get nutrition counseling and learn proper exercise and yoga and offer all kinds of treatment modalities like acupuncture or ayurveda,” Gray-Wolfstar says.
Having dedicatted their lives to helping people heal, they have found that many patients need help beyond surgery or medication. “All these things that we found to be beneficial, we also discovered that they’re not offered in one place,” Wolfstar explains. “So this is a one-of-a-kind clinic; we don’t want people to have to travel everywhere to go get their services.”
While tattoos might not seem to fit in with the other forms of treatments Skin HDC offers, Gray-Wolfstar and Wolfstar maintain that it can be an important step in helping someone heal. “I think tattoos have kind of become a way to love that scar,” Gray-Wolfstar says. “It’s definitely people turning it into a way to love their body again, to reclaim their body image.”
Through experience, they found that there's more to it than just tattooing an image over a scar. Medications can interfere with ink uptake, scars can be made of different tissue, and some inks can be toxic. They point out that all tattoo artists should be aware of these issues. “If you’re going to be tattooing someone’s organ, you need to have a little bit more knowledge about it,” Gray-Wolfstar says.
The clinic lets an entire family share in the experience, with discount tattoos for cancer survivors, their significant others and temporary tattoos for kids. They also provide community classes and a gallery space for local artists.
Because many of their patients are breast-cancer survivors, the co-founders saw a need to make services like scar concealment and nipple pigment augmentation more accessible, too. These services are not generally covered by insurance, so Skin HDC provides a sliding fee scale for patients with financial constraints.
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And this summer they’re launching their Tatts for Ta-Tas giveaway, a contest that will result in one winner receiving a free scar concealment tattoo, and three other patients receiving nipple pigment augmentations.
Anyone interested can fill out a form online or call Skin HDC. The winners will be chosen randomly on September 1, and the clinic will perform one service a week in October.
To learn more or enter the giveaway, visit the Skin Holistic Dermagraphic Clinic website or call 303-440-6611.