Artist who tattooed her own cancer scar now helps others – and goes viral on TikTok with incredible inkings

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A tattoo artist who covered her own scar after treatment for thyroid cancer is now helping clients camouflage scars and stretch marks with 3D works.

Jody Stoski, 47, from Calgary, Canada, had the thyroid gland on her neck removed in 2013 but was able to conceal her surgery scar the following year by inking over it herself.

Now, the mum-of-two uses the art of 3D tattooing to recreate natural features such as aureolas, lips and eyebrows, as well as covering self-harm or surgery scars.

Pictured: Jody Stoski

“Some people wear their scars proudly as a badge of honour, unfortunately, I was never secure enough to do so,” Jody told Jam Press.

“Before I tattooed my scar I felt people were always looking at it. I was super self-conscious about it.

“After camouflaging it, I felt much more confident.”

Starting out as a makeup artist, Jody decided to take up paramedical tattooing in 2008, but had no idea that she would end up using the technique on herself.

She said: “I was a makeup artist (MUA) for years doing film, fashion, print and television.

Pictured: An example of Jody Stoski’s medical tattoo work

“I wanted to expand in a field where I could find more stability and growth so paramedical makeup at the time was just starting to emerge and I made the leap. I have also been an artist so I wanted to build a career where I could also practice art.

“I worked out of a private clinic for cancer patients and I began my journey offering them both cosmetic and paramedical tattoos to restore their appearance and their self-esteem.”

Now Jody has founded her own Cinnamon Girl Clinic, while also working as a subcontractor at a local plastic surgeons’ office.

In 2020, she set up a training business called the Jody Stoski Paramedical Tattoo Academy, and her husband Kevin Stoski left his job to work with her full-time.

Pictured: An example of Jody Stoski’s medical tattoo work

She has hundreds of students across the world in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, USA and Canada.  

She offers her clients a range of different treatments depending on the scar or skin condition.

Her methods include tattooing to conceal using ink that mimics permanent makeup and needling scars, with or without a vitamin serum, to improve texture and appearance.

Before being treated by Jody, it is important that any scarring is no longer red or inflamed and that it has been left to heal for at least a year, although longer is better.

Jody said: “My favourite tattoos are anything 3D like a realistic areola that looks like a raised nipple although it’s completely smooth to the touch, but really any of them that can create or restore lost confidence are all amazing.”

Pictured: Jody Stoski’s neck after the sutures were removed following the removal of her thyroid gland (L) and after three tattoo treatments to cover the scar (R)

For Jody, seeing the reaction to her work is incredibly special as she knows personally how much it means.

Speaking about her clients, she said: “[My clients] often cry and are so happy to finally have closure.

“For so many of them, it’s the final chapter in closing the door on the trauma they experienced that caused the scar initially.

“Areola patients will say the scars left from surgeries or the poorly tattooed areolas that their doctor did were a constant reminder of the trauma and that the realistic work our team provided allowed them to avoid the memory every time they looked in the mirror. It’s so fulfilling!”

Jody aims to make others aware of the benefits of paramedical tattooing by sharing examples of her work across TikTok, where she has 48,000 followers and 260,000 likes.

She added: “99.99% of comments are positive, along the lines of thanking me for what I do for other people, for making a difference in the lives of others, and commending my skills.

“The negative comments aren’t even that negative, they just tend to question why anyone would want to cover their scar/stretchmarks/etc – which is a totally valid position given some people are proud of their ‘battle’ scars.

“Many people thank me for sharing my posts as they had no idea these services were available and will share a story about a scar they have or tag a friend or family member that I can only assume might benefit from these services.

“One cool thing about having students around the word is that I can often recommend an artist (student) who is close to them and can be contacted for help with their issue.”

One user commented: “Oh my gosh this could change my life. I have a huge keloid scar from heart surgery. Can you tattoo keloid? It’s mostly flat now.”

“Jody – I have been trying to find someone to camouflage hypopigmentation [sic] on my face for about three years…” Another person said.

Pictured: An example of Jody Stoski’s medical tattoo work

Someone else commented: “Will you please help my 14yr [sic] old son? He has so much scarring on his face and it affects his self-confidence.”

“I never knew this existed. Someone I love would love this. Ty [sic] for bringing this type of tattooing to us. You’re amazing for changing so many lives,” said another hopeful commenter.

Another user said: Omg [sic] I’d love to have this for my dad. he also had cancer in his lip and had a skin graphed!”

“How can I book in with you? I have a scar from a burn covering most of my thigh,” asked someone else.

In other news, mum-of-three has both breasts and womb removed at 27 after cancer gene mutation diagnosis