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Sternum Tattoos: Procedure Preparation and Aftercare

Updated: Jan 16

Thinking of a sternum tattoo?

I know how exciting it is to get a new tattoo, especially one that's going to be in a unique place like the sternum. However, getting a sternum tattoo can be a painful and risky process if its prep work and aftercare is not done correctly. In this post, I'll lay out the importance of proper preparation and aftercare for sternum tattoos, how to minimize infection and scarring risks, and how to ensure the best possible outcome of your new tattoo.

Sternum Tattoo: Pain & Risks

The sternum, or breastbone, is an attractive area for tattoos due to its ability to complement the curves of one's chest. When thinking of a tattoo on your sternum, there are things to keep in mind. Getting a tattoo on the sternum can be more painful than other areas of the body due to the thin layer of skin and the proximity to the bone. Pain levels can vary depending on the individual's pain tolerance, and the size / complexity of the design. For those with larger breasts, it is important to note that proper healing may be more challenging as well. These challenges include higher risks of infection, scarring, and improper healing.

Sternum Tattoo: Proper Preparation

Proper preparation is essential for minimizing some of the risks associated with getting a sternum tattoo. Issues that I have personally encountered on my clients is acne and intertrigo (aka: sweat rash). If these problems are present the day of your tattoo procedure, rescheduling will be required.

Symptoms of intertrigo are:

  • Redness as a rash or sore in the affected area.

  • Small, red bumps on the skin.

  • Itching, stinging, burning and/or pain in the area.

Intertrigo infection happens when bacteria and fungus gets into broken skin. The symptoms of an infection include:

  • Pus and/or bleeding of acne like sores.

  • A foul odor/smell.

PLEASE NOTE>>> The risks of major complications during healing are extremely high if you have intertrigo with a fresh tattoo. I will NOT proceed with your tattoo if you show signs of open sores, intertrigo infection, or any type of infection. I will reschedule you only once, 4–6 weeks out, without loosing your non-refundable deposit.
This will allow time for you to properly heal the area for your new tattoo.

To prepare and prevent skin issues for your tattoo, 7–14 days before your tattoo procedure, make sure you wash the part of your sternum you wish to be tattooed twice a day with a gentle cleanser for acne-prone skin, and pat it dry. It is important to get under the breast near the crease to minimize skin issues.

Then, gently apply diluted tea tree oil by dabbing it on your blemishes with a cotton round or pad. Allow the area to dry completely.

Tattoo Bra Hack >>> If you need to wear a bra during your tattoo preparation time and sweat a great deal under your breasts, consider warping a thin maxi-pad wrapped around the underwire/under band part of the bra to collect the sweat and to keep your skin dry.

Sternum Tattoo: During Your Tattoo Procedure

During your tattoo procedure, it's important for you to communicate with me about any pain or discomfort that you may be experiencing. We will take breaks as needed. Staying relaxed while breathing deeply and slowly will help manage pain levels. The option of using numbing cream is also a possibility if discussed before your procedure. If you wish to learn more about numbing creams, CLICK HERE.

Sternum Tattoo: Aftercare

Proper aftercare is crucial for ensuring the best possible healing, and to minimize the risk of infection or scarring. You can view my AFTERCARE instructions HERE. Additionally, to my after instructions, sternum tattoos need a bit more attention.

Make sure that you allow the tattoo to breath as much as possible, during the healing process. This is usually the first 2–3 weeks after your tattoo procedure. Make sure you do not have any tight clothing, such as a bra, rubbing against your tattoo. If the absolute need arises that you must wear a bra, only do so for a short time (2 hours max) with a thin maxi-pad wrapped around the underwire/under band part of the bra to collect the sweat and to keep your tattoo dry.

Do you still wish to get a sternum tattoo?

Let me know in the comments below!

About me, the tattoo artist:

I am a professional tattoo artist that works from my private tattoo studio and art gallery, located in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. As an experienced tattoo artist with a commercial art background, I specialize in large, color, detailed tattoos and digital paintings. I

Thanks for reading!


Tattoo Artist, Commercial Artist, and Manager of Mystic Moon Media LLC

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Contact me for a consultation, I would love to discuss your tattoo design ideas today.

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