Facebook bans artist who specializes in areola tattoos

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Woman highlights areola tattoos on Facebook. (KTRK)

After a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery, breast cancer survivor Elizabeth Wilson felt physically fine.

But emotionally, she was still down.

Her breasts didn't seem real until she got areola tattoos.

"I was tattooed and I'm no longer a blank canvas," Wilson explained. "Now when I look at myself, I see breasts."

Sherah Juarez does about 30 areola tattoos a week in the Houston area.

Two years ago, she started advertising her business, Ink Boutique, on Facebook.

But she has since gotten banned from the social media site several times.

"I'm back for now," Juarez laughed. "I'm out of Facebook jail!"

Every time Juarez posts a photo of her work, she said it gets removed and reported.

"Each time they remove it, they're banning me from my page longer and longer," she said. "It started with a day, then it went to three, then seven, then the last time was 30 days I was banned from my page. They have told me if I do it again, they will delete Ink Boutique's page permanently."

Facebook's own guidelines specify that while nudity is banned, there are exceptions for breast feeding and post mastectomy photos.

Juarez said she has disputed her ban multiple times, but never gets through to anybody.

"There's not a person," she said. "There's not ever anybody that I can just talk to. I'm scared to death to post because I have paid Facebook a lot of money for Ink Boutique to be able to reach as much people as they possibly can."

And for many of Juarez's clients, the ban means Facebook is no longer a place to share post-surgery photos and experiences.

"They need to allow this to be seen and shared with others so that women know that this is an option for them," Wilson said. "It's okay. It's nothing to be ashamed of and we shouldn't be shutting this down."

Eyewitness News has reached out to Facebook multiple times and a spokesperson issued this statement:
"We understand that sharing photos can help raise awareness about breast cancer and support the men and women facing a diagnosis, undergoing treatment or living with the scars of cancer. These images were removed in error, but have now been restored. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we occasionally do make a mistake. We apologize for this and for any inconvenience caused."

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