Do Sternum Tattoos Hurt

Yes, sternum tattoos hurt. The pain is due to the thin skin and proximity to bones.

Sternum tattoos are becoming increasingly popular among tattoo enthusiasts. The sternum area, located in the center of the chest, offers a unique canvas for intricate designs. The thin skin and minimal fat in this region mean that the tattoo needle is closer to the bone, intensifying the pain.

Many people describe the sensation as a sharp, stinging pain, which can be more intense than tattoos on fleshier parts of the body. Despite the pain, sternum tattoos are highly sought after for their aesthetic appeal. Proper aftercare is crucial to ensure the tattoo heals well and maintains its vibrant appearance.

Anatomy Of The Sternum

Do Sternum Tattoos Hurt

The sternum is a long flat bone. It is located in the center of the chest. It connects to the ribs. This forms the front of the rib cage. The sternum protects the heart and lungs. It is vital for body structure and safety. The sternum supports the upper body. It is an important part of our skeleton.

The sternum has many nerve endings. These make it very sensitive. Pain can be strong in this area. Tattoos on the sternum can hurt more. The skin is thin over the bone. This adds to the pain. Many people find sternum tattoos painful. The level of pain can vary.

History Of Sternum Tattoos

Do Sternum Tattoos Hurt

Sternum tattoos have deep roots in many cultures. In ancient tribes, they symbolized strength and bravery. Warriors often had sternum tattoos to show their courage. For some, these tattoos had spiritual meanings. They believed tattoos on the chest protected their hearts. The designs often included sacred symbols and animals.

Tattoo artistry has evolved over the years. Modern designs are more detailed and colorful. Advanced tools make intricate designs possible. Artists now use safer inks and techniques. This evolution has made sternum tattoos more popular. Many people choose unique and personal designs. The pain level varies, but the result is often worth it.

Pain Scale Of Tattoos

Do Sternum Tattoos Hurt

The pain of tattoos varies by body part. Sternum tattoos are known to be painful. Areas with thin skin and little fat hurt more. The ribs, spine, and elbows are also painful spots. Places with more muscle and fat hurt less. The upper arm and thigh are less painful.

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Everyone has a different pain threshold. Some people feel more pain than others. Experience with tattoos can affect this. First-time tattoos might feel more painful. Mindset and relaxation can help reduce pain. Taking breaks during the tattoo session can also help.

The Sternum Tattoo Experience

Do Sternum Tattoos Hurt

Many people say sternum tattoos are very painful. The skin on the sternum is thin. Bones are close to the surface. This makes the area sensitive. Some compare the pain to a sharp scratch. Others feel a deep, burning sensation. Pain levels can vary. Personal pain tolerance plays a big role. Some find the process bearable. Others feel intense discomfort.

Tattoo artists often notice discomfort during sternum tattoos. Clients may squirm or tense up. Artists suggest breaks to help manage pain. They recommend deep breaths. Staying relaxed can ease the process. Good communication with the artist is key. Artists aim to make clients as comfortable as possible.

Design Considerations

Sternum tattoos involve significant pain due to the thin skin and proximity to bone. Artists recommend careful design choices to minimize discomfort. Selecting an experienced tattoo artist can also help manage the pain effectively.

Do Sternum Tattoos Hurt

Size And Detail

Sternum tattoos can be small or large. Larger tattoos take more time to finish. More detail means more pain. The sternum is a sensitive area. The skin here is thin. Bones are close to the skin. This makes it more painful. Small tattoos hurt less. Less detail can also mean less pain.

Choice Of Imagery

Imagery can change the pain level. Simple designs are quicker. They hurt less. Complex images take more time. They need more work. This can be more painful. Choose images that fit your pain tolerance. Butterflies and flowers are popular choices. They can be simple or detailed.

Preparation For A Sternum Tattoo

Do Sternum Tattoos Hurt

Choose an experienced tattoo artist. Look at their portfolio. Make sure they have done sternum tattoos before. Read reviews from other clients. Ask friends for recommendations. A good artist will help you feel comfortable. They will also give you the best results.

Get a good night’s sleep before your tattoo appointment. Eat a healthy meal to keep your energy up. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Wear comfortable clothing that gives easy access to your sternum. Bring a friend for support if you feel nervous. Stay calm and relaxed. Trust your artist and the process.

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Aftercare And Healing

Do Sternum Tattoos Hurt

Keep the tattoo clean and dry. Use a gentle soap and water. Pat the area dry with a clean towel. Apply a thin layer of healing ointment. Avoid tight clothing that may rub the tattoo. Stay out of direct sunlight. Avoid swimming pools and hot tubs. Do not scratch or pick at the tattoo. Let it breathe by avoiding heavy bandages.

Moisturize the tattoo daily with a fragrance-free lotion. Protect it from the sun using sunscreen. Avoid soaking it in water for long periods. Keep the tattoo clean to prevent infection. Touch up the tattoo if the color fades. Stay hydrated to help your skin heal. Eat a balanced diet to support skin health.

Alternative Pain Management Techniques

Sternum tattoos can be quite painful due to the thin skin and proximity to bone. Pain management techniques like deep breathing, numbing creams, and meditation can help alleviate discomfort during the tattooing process.

Topical Anesthetics

Topical anesthetics can numb the skin. They come in creams, gels, or sprays. Apply them before getting a tattoo. This can reduce the pain. Some anesthetics need a prescription. Ask your tattoo artist for advice. Always follow the instructions on the package.

Breathing And Mindfulness

Breathing techniques can help manage pain. Take deep breaths in and out. Stay calm and focused. Think about happy things. Mindfulness helps you stay in the present. This can make the pain feel less intense. Practice these techniques before your tattoo session.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Sternum Tattoos Hurt A Lot?

Yes, sternum tattoos can be quite painful due to the thin skin and proximity to bone.

How Painful Are Sternum Tattoos?

Sternum tattoos are generally more painful than tattoos on fleshier areas due to fewer nerve endings.

What To Expect During Sternum Tattoo Pain?

Expect sharp, intense pain during the process, especially on the bone and near the ribs.

Can You Numb The Pain For Sternum Tattoos?

Yes, numbing creams can be applied, but they may only reduce the pain slightly.

How Long Does Sternum Tattoo Pain Last?

Initial pain subsides within a few hours, but tenderness can last several days to a week.


Deciding on a sternum tattoo involves considering the pain factor. Everyone’s pain threshold is different. Proper aftercare can ease discomfort. Consulting with a professional tattoo artist can help you prepare. Remember, the pain is temporary, but the art lasts a lifetime.

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About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

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