If you’re looking for a tattoo you can keep hidden at work and show off poolside, the sternum tattoo is for you.
Also known as the “underboob” tattoo, a sternum tattoo is a nice way to show off your shape.
With many celebrities choosing sternum tattoos, it’s no wonder they’ve become one of the top requested designs in tattoo shops.
What’s great about a sternum tattoo is that, while they’re very popular, you can choose any aesthetic you like, so it’s easy to avoid fads you may regret later.
Thinking you’d like to hold your favorite quote, constellation, or winged creature close to your heart?
While sternum tattoos are a gorgeous way to show off a bold or delicate design, there are definitely considerations to be made before getting one.
Sternum tattoos are not a “beginner-friendly” tattoo, and you should probably know how you deal with the process before taking on something so intense.
Let’s take a look at sternum tattoos.
Who has them, what looks good as a sternum tattoo, what’s the application process like, and what’s involved in aftercare.
What is the Sternum
Many people use “sternum” as a term to refer to both the ribs and the sternum.
While some “underboob” tattoos start at the sternum and flair out, some “underboob” tattoos are on the ribs only.
Strictly speaking, the sternum is the long, broad, flat bone at the center of your ribs.
It’s basically holding your torso together so, don’t leave home without it.
The sternum is shaped like a tie, and starts just under your clavicles, which join the sternum at the “knot” part of the necktie.
The sternum is also responsible for protecting the heart and lungs, not to mention a bunch of vitally important blood vessels.
It’s a pretty high stakes piece of your anatomy.
That said, it isn’t dangerous to get a sternum tattoo.
That piece of bone is very strong and can withstand a little needle.
Are Sternum Tattoos Unisex?
While sternum tattoos are generally popular for female bodies, they can look great on men too.
Men generally have a flatter canvas to work with in the chest area, which can make the process a little easier.
They can be a nice way to accentuate pectoral muscles and bring definition to the chest area.
Sternum tattoos are a sexy choice for female bodies, no matter how large or small their chest area is.
They have risen in popularity thanks to celebrities like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus, but have always been a fun surprise for the lucky people who get to see them.
Sternum and chest tattoos may also be a nice choice for someone who has survived breast cancer.
Many people who have to get mastectomies or lumpectomies are left feeling less confident about their chest area.
A tattoo can be a nice way to create something beautiful and new out of something painful.
Do Sternum Tattoos Hurt?
If you’re wondering if getting sternum tattoos is painful, the answer is a big resounding YES.
There are some tattoo artists who won’t even get inked in that area. The problem is it’s not a very fleshy part of the body.
Tattoos in areas that are mostly fat just aren’t as painful.
When thinking of bony areas like your sternum, feet, or clavicle, the tattoo needle is going to cause your bones to vibrate- which can be a really unpleasant sensation.
Good news for curvy people looking to get sternum tattoos: you’ll still experience some pain, but you have a little more padding to cushion your bones.
What Do I Wear to my Sternum Tattoo Appointment?
Another reason why sternum tattoos are not for the beginner tattoo canvas is that they’re extremely intimate, especially for women.
You’re better off wearing as little as possible.
If you’ve been to your tattoo artist before, you’ll know if you’re comfortable baring all to them.
If you meet in person for the first time on the day of the tattoo, perhaps not.
Consider also that this tattoo may involve your tattoo artist touching your chest.
If you are uncomfortable being touched in that area, best to hold off on the tattoo until you find a special artist you feel comfortable with.
You can bring something to cover yourself up with, but you definitely won’t be able to wear a bra during or after the appointment.
When Can I Wear a Bra Again after Getting a Sternum Tattoo?
If you wear bras, you will want to figure out an alternative for the next two weeks.
Friction is the number one enemy to a tattoo, and bras have to fit closely to the skin.
They’re also often made with underwire, which will dig into your healing ink.
Smaller chested people may opt for pasties, but there are some cup-less “sticky bra” alternatives for larger chested folks who need some support.
Best Time of Year for a Sternum Tattoo
It sounds funny, but planning a sternum tattoo during the colder months makes sense.
Form-fitting or light-colored clothing can get stained as your tattoo heals.
As gross as it sounds, you may “leak” puss and ink for the first little bit.
Loose clothing is best, as is staying away from the sun and any swimming for at least 2 weeks.
If you got your tattoo to show off at the beach, it will be ready for its closeup when summer arrives.
No one wants to show off a flaky, scabby tattoo, and that’s just a natural part of the process.
Something Else to Consider…
What position do you sleep in?
Tummy sleepers may have a difficult time with sternum tattoos, as you’ll want to sleep on your back while it heals.
The friction of your body up against the bed can interrupt the healing process.
So if you want a sternum tattoo, start practicing a new way to catch some Zzzs.
Sternum Tattoo Designs
A sternum tattoo is a statement piece and something that can stay your little secret if you want it to.
Why not dive in? Scared to take the plunge?
See if anything in our sternum tattoo gallery strikes your fancy.
Sternum Tattoo Ideas
To read more about trending tattoos, go to:
- Japanese Temple Tattoos
- Jellyfish Tattoos
- Hummingbird Tattoos
- Dog Paw Tattoos
- Elephant Head Tattoos
- Sugar Skull Tattoos
- Purple Tattoos
- Paisley Tattoos
- Interlocking Tattoos
- Ullr Tattoos
- Blue Marlin Tattoos
- New School Tattoos
- Hourglass Tattoos
- Compass Tattoos
Sternum Tattoos FAQ
While sternum tattoos are generally popular for female bodies, they can look great on men too. Men generally have a flatter canvas to work with in the chest area, which can make the process a little easier. They can be a nice way to accentuate pectoral muscles and bring definition to the chest area.
If you’re wondering if getting sternum tattoos is painful, the answer is a big resounding YES. There are some tattoo artists who won’t even get inked in that area. The problem is it’s not a very fleshy part of the body. Tattoos in areas that are mostly fat just aren’t as painful.
You’re better off wearing as little as possible. Consider also that this tattoo may involve your tattoo artist touching your chest!