Are Rib Tattoos That Bad? Pros and Cons to Consider

If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, you may be wondering if getting a rib tattoo is a good idea. We’ve all heard the rumors about how painful it is to get a tattoo on delicate areas like the ribs, but is it really that bad? And is the pain worth it for a beautiful piece of body art? Let’s explore the world of rib tattoos and find out if they are really that bad.

It’s no secret that getting a tattoo on your ribs can be a daunting task. The skin on your ribcage is thin and sensitive, and there’s no meat or muscle underneath to cushion the needle. That being said, some people find the pain to be manageable, while others can’t handle it at all. But pain isn’t the only thing to consider when getting a rib tattoo. You also need to think about size and placement, as some areas of the ribs are more painful than others. So, are rib tattoos that bad? The answer is subjective and depends on your pain tolerance, the size and placement of the tattoo, and your individual experience.

Rib tattoos can be a beautiful and meaningful addition to your body art collection, but they are not for everyone. If you’re someone who has a low pain tolerance or is sensitive about where they get tattoos, then a rib tattoo may not be the best choice for you. However, if you’re willing to withstand a bit of discomfort and are committed to the idea of a rib tattoo, then the end result can be nothing short of stunning. So, are rib tattoos that bad? It’s up to you to decide based on your own personal preferences and pain threshold.

Rib Tattoos: Pros and Cons

If you are considering getting a tattoo, you might be wondering if a rib tattoo is right for you. While rib tattoos can look beautiful and unique, they can also come with a few downsides that should be considered before booking your appointment. Below you will find the pros and cons of getting a rib tattoo.

  • Pros:
  • Unique Placement – Rib tattoos can be located on the side or underboob area, allowing for a unique and personal design.
  • Easy to Hide – Rib tattoos can be easily covered with clothing, making it a great option for those who want to keep their tattoo concealed in certain situations.
  • Less Painful – Due to the ample padding of flesh and fat, rib tattoos are generally less painful than tattoos placed on bony areas like the ankles or wrists.
  • Long-Lasting – Rib tattoos tend to hold ink well and have a longer lifespan compared to tattoos placed on areas that are frequently exposed to sunlight and other elements.

Overall, rib tattoos are unique and can be a great placement choice for those looking to add to their tattoo collection. However, it’s important to note that there are also some potential downsides to consider.

Pain Level of Rib Tattoos

If you are considering getting a rib tattoo, it is important to understand that they can be quite painful. The ribs are a bony and sensitive area of the body, and the skin in this area is usually thinner than other parts of the body. This means that the pain level of a rib tattoo is often higher than other areas. The pain can vary depending on factors such as the size of the tattoo, the design, the quality of the tattoo artist and your pain tolerance.

Factors That Affect Pain Level

  • Tattoo size: Larger tattoos take longer to complete, which means more pain for a longer period of time.
  • Tattoo design: Intricate designs with fine lines and shading will likely be more painful than a simple piece with thick lines.
  • Tattoo artist skill: An experienced artist who uses proper technique can help minimize the pain and discomfort of a rib tattoo.

Coping with Pain

If you have a low pain tolerance, there are a few things you can do to cope with the discomfort during your rib tattoo session. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen beforehand can help reduce the pain. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these can increase your sensitivity to pain. You can also ask your tattoo artist to take breaks during the session to give you a chance to rest and recover.


If you are interested in getting a rib tattoo, be prepared for some discomfort. The pain level will depend on several factors, but with some preparation and coping techniques, you can make the experience as comfortable as possible. Remember to choose an experienced tattoo artist and communicate openly with them about your pain tolerance and concerns. With the right mindset and approach, you can achieve the tattoo of your dreams on your ribcage.

Tattoo Size Pain Level
Small Mild to Moderate
Medium Moderate to Severe
Large Severe to Intense

Note: This table is a general guideline and pain level may vary from person to person.

Rib Tattoo Ideas and Designs

Getting a tattoo on your ribcage is definitely not for the faint of heart. The ribcage is one of the most painful places to get tattooed, and you should brace yourself for it if you decide to go for it. However, the end result can be worth the pain, especially if you select a tattoo design that represents something meaningful to you.

If you are considering getting a rib tattoo, here are some great ideas and designs to consider:

  • Script tattoos – The ribcage is an ideal spot for big, bold script tattoos. This type of tattoo looks fantastic stretched along the length of the ribcage, and there is a wide variety of fonts and styles to choose from. You can get a quote, song lyrics, or even a word that holds a special meaning to you.
  • Floral tattoos – Flowers have long been a popular tattoo design, and for good reason. They are beautiful, versatile, and hold different meanings depending on the type of flower you choose. For rib tattoos, consider big, vibrant flowers that cascades down your ribcage, like a colorful bouquet. You can also get a tattoo of a single stem or a group of smaller flowers for a daintier look.
  • Anatomical tattoos – This type of tattoo design is perfect for the ribcage because it can be entirely customized to your liking. You can choose to get a tattoo of your favorite organ, like a heart, lungs, or brain. You can also get a tattoo of the ribcage itself or even a skeleton. These tattoos are a great opportunity to show off your personality and interests.

Rib Tattoo Pain: Are They Really That Bad?

It’s no secret that rib tattoos can be incredibly painful. The ribcage is one of the most sensitive areas on the body due to the bones, nerves, and thin skin. However, the actual pain level is subjective and varies from person to person.

It’s important to note that pain tolerances vary, so what might be unbearable for one person could be tolerable for another. It’s also worth noting that the length and complexity of the design can increase the pain level. The longer the session, the more painful it may become.

However, most people agree that the pain of getting a rib tattoo is worth it in the end. The sense of accomplishment and the beautiful, permanent art on your skin is priceless. If you’re considering getting a rib tattoo, be prepared for some pain, but know that it’s not impossible to handle.

Rib Tattoo Aftercare: Tips to Follow

Getting a tattoo is only half the battle. Proper aftercare is crucial for a healthy, vibrant tattoo and to prevent any infection that could set in. Here are some tips to follow for rib tattoo aftercare:

  • Keep the area clean and dry for the first few days. Avoid swimming, saunas, and hot tubs until the tattoo is healed.
  • Apply unscented lotion or tattoo aftercare cream to the tattooed area to keep it hydrated. However, be cautious not to use too much or suffocate the tattoo.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing that can rub against the tattoo. Loose clothing, like a big t-shirt, should do the trick.
  • Avoid direct sunlight and tanning beds until the tattoo is fully healed. Sun and UV exposure can cause the ink to fade.
  • Listen to your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions and call them if you have any questions or concerns.

The Bottom Line

Rib tattoos are a great way to express yourself and create a permanent piece of artwork on your body. Whether you choose a script tattoo, a floral tattoo, or an anatomical tattoo, be prepared for some pain, take good care of your tattoo afterward, and enjoy the beautiful end result.

Pros Cons
Can be a unique way to express yourself Very painful
Large area to work with Long healing process
Tattoo can be hidden easily if needed May be more expensive due to the size and complexity of the design

Ultimately, the decision to get a rib tattoo is up to you. If you’re willing to put up with the pain and aftercare, you’ll have a beautiful piece of art to treasure for a lifetime.

Healing and Aftercare for Rib Tattoos

Getting a rib tattoo can be a painful experience, but with proper aftercare, you can ensure the tattoo heals properly, and you’re left with a beautiful piece of art. Here are some tips for healing and aftercare for rib tattoos:

1. Keep the Area Clean

  • Make sure to clean the area around the tattoo daily with unscented soap and warm water.
  • Avoid scrubbing the tattoo or using abrasive materials, as this can damage the healing skin and cause scarring.
  • Pat the area dry with a clean towel and avoid exposing the tattoo to direct sunlight or soaking it in water for prolonged periods of time.

2. Apply Healing Ointments

  • Use a thin layer of healing ointment or petroleum jelly to keep the tattoo moisturized and help it heal.
  • Avoid using any products that contain alcohol or fragrances, as these can cause irritation and slow down the healing process.
  • Apply the ointment in a thin layer 2-3 times per day, or as instructed by your tattoo artist or healthcare professional.

3. Watch for Signs of Infection

While rare, infections can occur after getting a tattoo. Keep an eye out for any signs of infection, such as:

  • Redness or swelling around the tattoo
  • Pus or discharge from the tattoo
  • Fever or chills
  • Increased pain or itching around the tattoo

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

4. Avoid Tight Clothing and Exercise

Wearing tight clothing or participating in strenuous exercise can cause friction on the tattooed area, which can slow down the healing process and cause scarring. It’s best to avoid these activities for at least 2-3 weeks while the tattoo is healing.

Do: Don’t:
Wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid rubbing the tattoo Wear tight clothing, such as skinny jeans or snug tops
Limit your time in the sun during the healing process Expose the tattoo to direct sunlight or tanning beds
Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet to promote healing Consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes, as these can slow down the healing process

Following these steps will help ensure your rib tattoo heals properly and looks beautiful for years to come!

Rib Tattoo Placement: Advantages and Disadvantages

If you’re considering getting a tattoo, you may be thinking about the placement. One popular option is getting a rib tattoo. While this can be a beautiful and unique area for a tattoo, there are some advantages and disadvantages to consider.


  • Large Canvas: Rib tattoos offer a large amount of space to work with. This means you can get a larger and more detailed tattoo than on other parts of the body.
  • Good for Discreet Tattoos: Rib tattoos are easy to hide under clothing, making them a good option if you want to keep your tattoo hidden from others.
  • Minimal Sun Exposure: The rib area doesn’t receive as much sun exposure as other areas like the arms or legs. This means your tattoo is less likely to fade or be damaged by the sun.


While there are benefits to getting a rib tattoo, there are also some disadvantages to consider:

  • Painful: Rib tattoos can be quite painful as the skin is thinner and there is less fat to cushion the needle. This can make the tattooing process more uncomfortable.
  • Difficult Healing Process: Healing a rib tattoo can be more difficult due to the constant movement of the area and the fact that clothing may stick to the tattoo during the healing process.
  • Not Ideal for Weight Fluctuations: The rib area is prone to weight fluctuations and changes in body shape. This can cause the tattoo to stretch and distort over time, making it less appealing.


Ultimately, the decision to get a rib tattoo is a personal one and depends on your individual preferences and tolerances. If you do decide to get a rib tattoo, it’s important to research tattoo artists carefully, take care of the tattoo during the healing process, and follow a healthy lifestyle to maintain your body shape and tattoo appearance.

Advantages Disadvantages
Large canvas Painful
Good for discreet tattoos Difficult healing process
Minimal sun exposure Not ideal for weight fluctuations

Consider carefully before getting a rib tattoo and consult with a trusted professional.

Rib Tattoos for Men vs. Women

When it comes to getting a tattoo on the rib cage, there are a few things to consider. One of these is whether the tattoo will be more suited for a man or a woman. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Size: Men usually have larger frames than women, and this can affect the size of the tattoo on the rib cage. Men can generally handle bigger and more complex designs, while women may prefer smaller, more delicate tattoos on this area.
  • Design: Similarly to the size, the design of the tattoo can also affect whether it is more suited for men or women. Men often go for tattoos with sharper lines and bolder colors. Women may opt for designs with more intricate details, lighter colors, and curvier shapes.
  • Pain tolerance: Pain tolerance varies from person to person, but it’s generally known that tattoos on the ribcage are among the most painful areas to get inked. Women are known to have a higher pain tolerance than men, so they may fare better when getting a rib tattoo.

Despite these differences, the ultimate decision should come down to personal preference. If a man wants a delicate floral design on his ribcage, or a woman wants a bold skull tattoo, they should go ahead and get it.

Ultimately, choosing a tattoo design and placement is a highly individual process. The most important thing is to do your research, find a reputable tattoo artist, and make sure the design and placement are right for you. Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, a rib tattoo can be a great way to express your personality and make a statement with your body art.

Getting a Rib Tattoo: What to Expect and Things to Consider

If you’re considering getting a tattoo on your ribs, it’s important to know what to expect before you head to the tattoo parlor. Rib tattoos have gained popularity in recent years, but they can be more painful than other tattoo locations. Here’s what you should know before you get inked:

  • Pain: Rib tattoos are known to be one of the most painful tattoo locations due to the thin skin and proximity to the bone. The pain can vary depending on your pain tolerance and the size of the tattoo. It’s important to mentally prepare yourself beforehand and communicate with your tattoo artist throughout the process about your pain level.
  • Healing: Ribs take longer to heal because of their location. Clothing rubbing against the tattoo and sleeping on the side can cause irritation and slow down the healing process. It’s important to keep the area clean and avoid clothing that may irritate the tattoo.
  • Size and Design: Rib tattoos can range in size, but larger designs may take multiple sessions. It’s also important to choose a design that fits the contour of your ribs and complements your body shape. Discussing your ideas with your tattoo artist beforehand can ensure that the design fits and looks well on your ribcage.

Things to Consider

Before you commit to getting a tattoo on your ribs, here are some additional things to consider:

  • Visibility: Rib tattoos are not easily visible, especially if you choose a design that wraps around the side of your torso. If you’re hoping to show off your new tattoo, a different location may be a better choice.
  • Workplace Policies: Depending on your workplace policies, you may need to consider the placement of your tattoo. Rib tattoos can be concealed easily with clothing, but it’s important to check your company’s policies before getting inked.
  • Cost: Rib tattoos can be more expensive than other areas because of the size and level of detail required. Multiple sessions may also increase the cost. It’s important to discuss pricing with your tattoo artist before getting started.
  • Experience: It’s important to choose a professional and experienced tattoo artist who specializes in rib tattoos. Researching their portfolio and reading reviews can help ensure that you’re making the right choice.

The Bottom Line

Rib tattoos can be a beautiful and meaningful addition to your body art, but they require careful consideration and planning beforehand. From pain to healing time to visibility, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. If you’re ready to take the leap, be sure to choose a reputable tattoo artist and prepare yourself mentally and physically for the process. With the proper care and attention, your rib tattoo can be a stunning piece of body art for years to come.

FAQs About Rib Tattoos

1. Do rib tattoos hurt more than other tattoos?
The rib area can be more painful than other areas due to the thin layer of skin and proximity to bones.

2. Will a rib tattoo fade faster?
If exposed to sunlight frequently, rib tattoos can fade faster due to the thin layer of skin and lack of natural protection.

3. Are rib tattoos harder to take care of?
It is important to keep the area clean and dry, but otherwise, rib tattoos do not require any different care than other tattoos.

4. Are rib tattoos suitable for everyone?
This is a personal decision, but some people may find that the pain or potential fading is not worth it.

5. How long do rib tattoos typically take?
Depending on size and complexity, rib tattoos can take several hours or multiple sessions to complete.

6. Can rib tattoos interfere with clothing?
Tattoos on the ribcage can potentially interfere with certain clothing items, but this is dependent on the placement and size of the tattoo.

7. Are rib tattoos a popular choice?
Many people choose to get rib tattoos due to the level of customization and unique placement options it provides.

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

While rib tattoos may come with some challenges, they are a popular choice for many individuals looking for a unique and customizable tattoo. It’s important to weigh the potential pain and fading against the personal meaning and significance of the tattoo. Don’t let fear hold you back from expressing yourself through body art. Thank you for reading, and we hope you visit again for more helpful information.