Everything You Need To Know About Getting An Underboob Tattoo

Whether commemorative, spontaneous, or spiritual in nature, 26% of Americans have at least one tattoo, according to Statista. For some, it's an opportunity to showcase beautiful art. For others, tattoos are a way to preserve a memory. Psychology Today confirms that the driving force behind the majority of body art is some sort of personal significance such as loss, struggle, or the birth of a child. Though an increasingly popular aesthetic, Ipsos clarifies that tattoos are nothing new. In fact, their origins date back over 5,000 years.

During the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, for example, dotwork tattoos were used to protect women during pregnancy. According to Joann Fletcher, a fellow in the department of archaeology at the University of York, "This is supported by the pattern of distribution, largely around the abdomen, on top of the thighs and the breasts, and would also explain the specific types of designs, in particular the net-like distribution of dots applied over the abdomen," (via World History Encyclopedia). 

Though dotwork or "stick and poke" tattoos remain popular, artists typically opt for multi-needle tattoo guns. Before any appointment, it's important to do your research. Most importantly, choose a tattooist well-versed in the style you're looking for: fine lines, watercolor, realism, etc. Consult them on how your tattoo will age, since variables like sun exposure and body creases, for instance, can impact its appearance over time. "Underboob" designs, specifically, require a certain amount of preparation. Here's what you need to know before booking your appointment. 

It's important to arrive at the studio well-fed

From Keke Palmer to Miley Cyrus, many celebrities have opted for an "underboob" tattoo, a design that sits, well, under the boobs and sometimes continues up the sternum (via Seventeen). As noted by Bustle, areas of the body that see less sun — in this case, below the breasts — are ideal for tattoos. UV rays can fade ink, especially colorful designs.

If you're getting ready for an underboob tattoo, first and foremost, ensure you come prepared. You need to be well-fed and hydrated before entering the studio. According to Inside Out, low blood sugar will make fainting more likely. In fact, tattoo artist Whitney Marie Donohue even recommends eating candy while getting inked.

It's also important to dress appropriately. Whereas a hip or thigh tattoo will necessitate loose-fitting sweats, tattooist Joanna Roman suggests wearing a zip-up sweatshirt to your underboob appointment. As she explained to Cosmopolitan: "You can zip open the middle and have your body covered, but it gives full access to the sternum." 

Find an artist you're comfortable with, as the process will require baring some skin. As Roman also pointed out, this region tends to be a bit more sensitive to pain. Likewise, "It's typically a more difficult area for a tattooist to tattoo because the skin is very thin in comparison to other areas like your forearm, so it is a little bit tricky." You may find that the cost of underboob tattoos is steeper as a result. 

Follow the aftercare guidelines carefully

Back home, assist your body in the healing process by eating plenty of protein and resting up. Tattoo artist Joanna Roman also warns against wearing bras for two weeks as tight fabrics can make the healing process more uncomfortable or even cause your design to fade more quickly (via Cosmopolitan). You might even be better off booking your appointment during the colder months when you can layer loose-fitting fabrics.

You also may need to change your sleeping habits. It's important to sleep on your back so the new tattoo doesn't cling to or rub against your sheets, a possibility that Authority Tattoo warns can happen. Keep in mind that a fresh tattoo is essentially an open wound and should be treated with similar care. After the first bandage comes off, keep the area cleansed and moisturized with gentle, unscented products (via WebMD). Avoid too-hot water and sun exposure until you're fully healed.

Many women opt for underboob designs that accentuate their natural curves — Cara Delevigne, for instance, has the words "don't worry" and "be happy" elegantly sloped on each side of her chest (via Seventeen). As tattooist Joanna Roman told Cosmopolitan, "[The tattoo] doesn't have to be perfectly symmetrical ... but at least balanced so that it doesn't look like one side is heavier than the other." Follow aftercare carefully to ensure your design stays looking its best.