Whether you love them or hate them, chest tattoos are a huge part of the industry and collector world. If you're looking to go big or go home, a chest piece is your best bet for covering major tattoo territory. However, let it be known that getting your torso blasted is no easy feat. Getting tattooed on the chest and sternum are some of the most painful areas on the body—and the experience is uncomfortable for a variety of reasons.
Number One: The Pain is Brutal. Let's face it, getting tattooed directly on the bone is no picnic and chest tattoos span from the ribs to the collar bones in most cases. And, for an added level of discomfort, breast tissue is extremely sensitive and don't even get us started about the nipples. Anyone who has their nipples tattooed is one bad mo-fo.
Number Two: The Positioning is Awkward. When you get your chest tattooed, your movement has to be extremely limited. Unlike other parts of the body, you cannot move your arms or head without warning. Additionally, your artist will need to position themselves over you and this can be uncomfortable for those who experience claustrophobia. And not only is the positioning uncomfortable for the client but for the artist as well. Make sure you show up to your appointment showered and with deodorant because there's nothing worse than a client with body odor.
Number Three: Just Breathe...but do it carefully. Breathing can be tricky when getting this area of the body tattooed, as our natural instinct is to hold our breath. However, holding your breath is not only exhausting, but the tension makes the process more unbearable. Be sure to work with your artist and do your best to breathe as naturally as possible.
Number Four: The Healing Process. Sure, healing tattoos, in general, can be a pain depending on your process, but this area is especially tricky. The skin on your chest and sternum moves throughout the day more than you think, making the stiff and cracked stages super annoying. In addition, this area of the body sees plenty of sun during the summer months and we'd recommend keeping everything covered for at least two weeks. A product like Saniderm, Tegaderm or Second Skin will be a lifesaver for a chest piece, as it minimizes the awkward healing phases and preserves the color like no other aftercare product on the market.
Yet, while the process of getting a chest tattoo may be tricky, let these photos show you that the aftermath is 100% worth the pain. We've collected 75 of our favorite chest tattoos from talented artists around the world, many of whom will knock you off your seat. So, if you've ever been on the fence about getting a chest piece, be prepared to start reaching out to artists immediately after closing this gallery. Take a look at our top picks below, then let us know which piece jumped off the screen for you in the comments section on Facebook. We want to hear from you!