Tattoo on Sternum: Pain, Preparation & Aftercare

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A tattoo that is placed on the sternum, also known as an underboob or chest tattoo, is gaining popularity due to its unique and eye-catching appearance.

One of the best parts of tattoos on the sternum is that you can show them off or cover them up, depending on what you’re wearing.

There are a ton of ideas for sternum tattoos, and you can get anything you want – there are no limits! It’s all up to you to pick the design you like.

If you’re considering getting a sternum tattoo, here’s what you need to know.

tattoo underboob or sternum on girl

How Painful Is A Sternum Tattoo?

Getting a sternum tattoo hurts more than getting a tattoo on other parts of your body. That’s because your sternum has a bony spot, and there’s not a lot of fat over it. Usually, bony areas are more painful to tattoo than fleshy ones. See our article on tattoos and pain for more details.

Because there aren’t many spots on your body where the bone is close to the skin like the sternum, getting a tattoo there can be extra painful.

If you don’t deal with pain well, it’s a good idea to get yourself mentally ready before getting the tattoo. This will help make the experience less difficult for you.

Can You Wear A Bra After Getting A Sternum Tattoo?

It’s generally recommended that you avoid wearing a bra immediately after getting a sternum tattoo, as the bra can rub against the sensitive area and cause irritation, slowing down the healing process.

3 Tips On What To Wear When Getting A Sternum Tattoo

Here are some tips to help you take care of your sternum tattoo and ensure it heals properly:

1# Ditch the bra

As mentioned before, avoid wearing a bra after getting your tattoo since it can rub against your skin and cause irritation, making it harder for your tattoo to heal.

2# Wear loose tops

Opt for loose-fitting tops during the healing period so that your tattoo can breathe and get enough air. This will help reduce any discomfort or irritation.

3# Use light, gentle fabrics

Choose lightweight fabrics that won’t irritate your skin. You can opt for soft cotton or other breathable materials that will be gentle on your tattoo.

Following these three important tips will ensure that your tattoo heals and your skin does not go through more than necessary.

Choosing a tattoo artist you are comfortable with is also crucial to take off your top and get a sternum tattoo.

tattoo of a death moth on sternum on a girl

Is The Sternum Hard To Tattoo?

Tattooing the sternum can be challenging for tattoo artists because the skin in that area is very thin and delicate. However, an experienced tattoo artist can create a beautiful and successful sternum tattoo without any problems.

To ensure the best outcome and least amount of pain, it’s crucial to choose an experienced tattoo artist who knows what they’re doing.

This way, you can have peace of mind that your tattoo is in good hands and will turn out exactly as you want it to. So, when considering a sternum tattoo, it’s important to do your research and find an experienced tattoo artist who can handle the job with care and precision.

Sternum Tattoo Aftercare

Taking care of your sternum tattoo after getting it is crucial for proper healing.

  • As we said before, one of the most important things to remember is to avoid wearing a bra during the healing process and opt for loose-fitting clothes.
  • Additionally, most tattoo artists suggest not covering up the tattoo with a wrap or bandage more than necessary to allow it to breathe. For more details on this topic, see our article “on protective film vs cling film “how long should you keep your tattoo wrapped?“.
  • Lastly, keeping the tattooed area moisturized is important to speed up the healing process. To do this, you can use a tattoo balm specifically made for this purpose on your sternum. It will keep your tattoo hydrated and promote a speedy recovery. For specific details, check our professional tattoo aftercare instructions.
tattoo on sternum man

How To Prepare For A Sternum Tattoo: 3 Tips

If you are looking to get a sternum tattoo and need the best tips to prepare yourself, here is what you must know:

1. Plan Ahead

Remember to avoid sun exposure, baths, and chlorine pools after getting a sternum tattoo. Plan ahead and avoid these activities to promote proper healing. If you can’t avoid them, it’s best to wait until you can care for your tattoo properly.

2. You Will Have To Say Goodbye To Your Bra

Consider your comfort level with going braless before getting a sternum tattoo. You’ll need to avoid wearing a bra for a while, which can be uncomfortable. If you have larger breasts, taking time off work to let the tattoo heal without a bra is a good idea.

3. Find An Experienced Tattoo Artist

Finally, you must find an experienced artist because a sternum tattoo is always challenging. It will allow you to have mental peace as you get the tattoo inked on your sternum.

Sternum Tattoos And Ageing

As you age, your body sags, and so do your breasts and/or chest. That is why sternum tattoos might also stretch with age. It all depends on the size of your tattoo and where it is on the sternum. Click here to find out about aged tattoos and how to keep them looking great.

Of course, it is best to consult a tattoo artist about this before you get a sternum tattoo. They will guide you better on how it will age on your body.

Sternum Tattoos: Inspiration

snake tattoo underboob with red flowers

sternum tattoo snake fineline

underboob tattoo snake with flowers

floral underboob tattoo


To sum up, sternum tattoos are a great option for those who want a distinctive and eye-catching tattoo. However, it’s important to consider the pain level and aftercare requirements that come with this type of tattoo. Proper aftercare, like moisturizing the area and avoiding sun exposure, is vital for optimal healing.

There are many design possibilities available, and collaborating with an experienced tattoo artist can guarantee a stunning and meaningful tattoo. By doing your research, planning ahead, and taking proper care of your sternum tattoo, you can enjoy a beautiful and lasting piece of body art.


Is it safe to get a tattoo on your sternum?

All tattoos are safe if you choose a reputable artist who follows proper hygiene and safety protocols. However, a sternum tattoo may be more painful, take longer to heal, and have a higher risk of infection. Talk to your artist about any concerns and follow their aftercare instructions carefully.

Are Sternum Tattoos Unisex?

Both men and women can get sternum tattoos, but they are more popular among women. The placement is discreet yet visible, and designs can range from small to large. Anyone can get a sternum tattoo and customize it to their personal style.

Will my sternum tattoo stretch?

Yes, a sternum tattoo can stretch or become distorted over time due to weight gain or pregnancy. The thin skin in this area is prone to stretching. To reduce the risk, maintain a healthy weight and take good care of your skin.

Is sternum tattoo more painful than ribs?

Many people believe that sternum tattoos are more painful than rib tattoos due to the sensitive nature of the area. However, pain tolerance varies from person to person, so the level of pain experienced can differ.

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