A WOMAN who offers life-changing tattoos for people suffering with medical conditions has been recognised at an awards ceremony in London.

When Sarah Colton, 36, wanted a change of career she never thought that it would lead her to tattoo people at their most vulnerable stage of life.

Sarah left her job as a hairdresser seven years ago and retrained as a cosmetic tattoo artist to provide permanent make up to her clients, and set up her own business; Sarah Colton Permanent Cosmetics on Windhill Lane, Staincross.

However, during her training she discovered a skill she never knew she would have.

“I was at the point when I was a hairdresser where I felt like I was doing the same old thing every day,” said Sarah. “I had always had an obsession with eyebrows so I thought I would try cosmetic tattooing to give people permanent make-up.

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“While I was training I learned about the medical side of cosmetic tattooing and how it could be used for people who have had a mastectomy or alopecia and I really got into that so I offer medical tattooing alongside permanent make-up.”

Sarah offers one free day of tattooing per month for people with alopecia during her hair loss clinic. There, she uses a specialised pigment to create the effect of hair, which boosts the confidence of her clients.

“In cosmetic tattooing we used a specialised pigment rather than ink used in traditional tattoos. This means that the effects will look more natural and will fade as people age so it looks more natural. Ink tattoos would look really harsh on the face.”

Sarah runs the clinic at the end of every month which has been a popular hit, and the rest of the sessions are fully-booked for the rest of the year.

“I do the hair loss clinic at the end of every month and it’s on a first-come-first-served basis and I was shocked when every session this year sold out.

“It just goes to show the demand people have for it in Barnsley.

“I do nipple tattoos as well for people who have had a mastectomy and I use tattooing to create the illusion of a nipple. It takes time to make it look realistic but when it’s done it’s worth seeing the confidence my clients walk out of the shop with.

“I had a client who had cancer at 28 and said she felt really disconnected from her body after losing her breast. I tattooed her a nipple on and she said she couldn’t believe how good it looked and she wanted to show people.

“For her it was regaining that sense of normality and ownership over her own body.

“It’s lovely to think that I get to give something so important to someone I’ve only just met.”

In recognition for her work, Sarah was nominated for, and won, a Safety in Beauty Diamond Award in the Beauty Business of the Year Category and travelled to London for the awards ceremony.

“I had no idea I had even been nominated,” said Sarah. “I was up against businesses up and down the country and most of them were bigger companies than I am so I never thought I would win.

“I was gobsmacked when they called my name, I just couldn’t believe it.”

Sarah was judged on the quality of her work, how ethical her business is and her charity work, and won the award with unanimous votes from the judges.

“I believe in what I do and I think it shows in my work. I always say that if you’re passionate about something you can do more.”

For more information see sarahcolton.co.uk