What You Need to Know About Collarbone Tattoos

Updated on April 26, 2019
Interested in getting a collarbone tattoo but not sure what to expect? Read on to find out everything you need to know about getting one!
Interested in getting a collarbone tattoo but not sure what to expect? Read on to find out everything you need to know about getting one!

A Few Things You Should Know About Collarbone Tattoos

If you’re a huge tattoo enthusiast or just thinking about getting your first one, you’ve more than likely been contemplating where you’d like to get some ink. Many opt for their arms, backs, and legs, or any space they still have open. However, many don’t really consider their collarbone, or clavicle, as an idea spot for their tattoo unless it’s the only spot that’s still open (for those who can’t seem to get enough ink).

It's an unusual choice due to its high visibility, but there are many elegant collarbone tattoo styles and designs out there for tattoo veterans and newbies alike. Whether you’re all tatted up or are a tattoo virgin, this article details the four things you should know before getting a collarbone tattoo.

Pros and Cons of Collarbone Tattoos

Pros
Cons
It's an unusual area for tattoos, so your tattoo will be distinctive.
You might not want all the attention that comes with having such a noticeable tattoo.
There are lots of options in terms of placement and design, so you can be really creative when designing your tattoo.
The tattoo will likely be right on the bone, so it'll be painful.
Your tattoo can be covered up with a shirt, so if you need to hide it for any reason, you'll be able to do so easily.
The collarbone is not a traditionally "socially acceptable" location for tattoos, so you might get some judgmental looks or remarks.
If you gain or lose weight, your tattoo won't stretch much because it's right on the bone.
A collarbone tattoo is more likely to fade due to the frequent occurrence of sun exposure.
Text tattoos are a popular choice for the clavicle area.
Text tattoos are a popular choice for the clavicle area.

1. Clavicle Tattoos Are Painful

Getting any tattoo will cause some pain (just how much depends on your pain threshold), but many say that a tattoo on your collarbone is more painful than other spots. The collarbone is a sensitive area to get a tattoo due to the lack of fatty tissues. Collarbone tattoos, depending on where exactly you get them, can also be directly on the bone, and there's not a lot of skin.

Any area where there is bone is painful, but it’s a popular place, so obviously, the pain is tolerable. If it’s your first tattoo ever, know going in that you’ve opted for a painful area, and other tattoos that you get later on probably won’t hurt as much as this one.

The level of pain you experience will depend on where exactly you're getting the tattoo. If it's right on the bone, it'll hurt a lot. Some even feel like they're getting their necks tattooed as opposed to their collarbones due to the strong vibrations during the tattooing process.

However, if you're getting a tattoo in the slightly fleshier area just underneath your collarbone, it's likely to be less painful. There are plenty of other tattoo locations that are more painful, but getting a collarbone tattoo is certainly no walk in the park.

Collarbone tattoos can be words, images, or any combination of the two.
Collarbone tattoos can be words, images, or any combination of the two.

2. There Are Various Styles and Designs

Collarbone tattoos range from dainty or word tattoos to bigger chest pieces. However, many who decide to get a collarbone tattoo want to make a statement since it’s at a very visible part of one’s body. The more popular collarbone tattoos seem to be wording and sayings, where people opt for delicate, cursive lettering to get their message across.

Collarbone tattoos can spill over into other areas like the neck, shoulder, and chest.
Collarbone tattoos can spill over into other areas like the neck, shoulder, and chest.

These types of tattoos can be simple words or inspiring, detailed sayings that mean a lot to the person getting it. They can also be tiny symbols that have sentimental meaning. Some opt for one single image, while others want a group of small tattoos lined along their collarbone. Currently, flying birds and music notes are popular.

This tattoo looks more painful than it was!
This tattoo looks more painful than it was!

If you’re looking to get a collarbone tattoo with some sort of wording or saying on it, it’s important to find a tattoo artist that does impeccable line work. Even though it seems like it would be an easy tattoo to get done that won’t take a lot of time, it’s still a challenging tattoo, considering the precision needed to make the line work perfect.

The more intricate your design, the longer it will take the artist to complete the work. Some tattoos require multiple sessions, although most collarbone tattoos (unless they are a landscape or another complex design) can be done in one session.

3. There Are Numerous Placement Options

Another thing to consider when getting a collarbone tattoo is placement. You can opt to get them right on your collarbone, right under it, or right above it. Your tattoo artist will be able to help you determine the right spot for the tattoo you want so that it looks visually pleasing when it’s all done.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you're deciding where to get your collarbone tattoo:

  • What kind of shirts do you most often wear? Your preferred shirt style is important to consider—this combined with the placement of your tattoo will determine whether it's most often visible, obscured by fabric, or partially obscured.
  • For text tattoos—do you want one long, uninterrupted line of text, or would you prefer a chunkier paragraph?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Music notes are a popular choice for the clavicle area.If you'd like to get words tattooed, think about whether you'd prefer a long string of text or several rows.
Music notes are a popular choice for the clavicle area.
Music notes are a popular choice for the clavicle area.
If you'd like to get words tattooed, think about whether you'd prefer a long string of text or several rows.
If you'd like to get words tattooed, think about whether you'd prefer a long string of text or several rows.

4. The Healing Process

Getting a tattoo on your collarbone might be painful, but if you're careful, it shouldn't take longer to heal than other tattoo locations on your body. There are steps you can take to ensure your tattoo doesn't get infected and speed up the healing process.

How to Heal a Tattoo

  1. Remove the bandage from your tattoo after about 24 hours.
  2. Apply antibacterial ointment to the fresh tattoo twice a day, and wash it with unscented soap and water a few times a day.
  3. Repeat this process for several weeks, then continue to apply unscented lotion to the tattoo to prevent it from drying out. (Avoid hot water, sun, and swimming during this time to prevent pain, infection, and fading.)

Special Considerations for Collarbone Tattoos

Here are some things you might want to think about before getting a collarbone tattoo:

  • For the first few weeks, be careful about backpacks, purses, book bags, shopping bags, and anything else you might keep on your shoulder.
  • Wear off-the-shoulder tops, halter tops, strapless shirts, or just go shirtless, depending on the exact location of your tattoo. If you wear bras, make sure to have a backup strapless bra (or a bra with interchangeable straps) ready to go before getting your tattoo.
  • Apply a protective layer of lotion before going to sleep (especially if you sleep on your stomach), as new tattoos can stick to the sheets.

Tattoo Placement

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Whichever type of tattoo you opt to get on your collarbone, make sure that you don’t mind wearing it for the rest of your life! But whatever you plan on getting, your collarbone is a standout place that will make a huge statement regardless of what you get!

And always think before you ink!

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