Everything You Need to Know Before Getting a Neck Tattoos

neck tattoos

Thinking about getting some ink on your neck Tattoos? While neck tattoos are bold statements and can look totally badass, there are some important things to consider before taking the plunge. You only have one neck, after all. Neck tattoos aren’t for the faint of heart or for those worried what their mom might think. They’re highly visible and impossible to hide, even with a collared shirt. But if you’re set on a neck tattoo and want to join the ranks of celebrities like Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and Miley Cyrus who proudly display their neck ink, here are the essential things you should know before getting a neck tattoo.

Meaning and Symbolism of Neck Tattoos

Neck tattoos have deep cultural and symbolic meaning. They represent strength, courage, and rebellion. Getting inked on such a visible part of your body shows you don’t care what others think and are willing to boldly express yourself.

Meaning and Symbolism

For centuries, neck tattoos have held significant meaning:

  • In ancient Egypt, neck tattoos on women symbolized fertility and status. Cleopatra was said to have a small neck tattoo.
  • In ancient China, neck tattoos were used to mark criminals. Now they represent courage against social norms.
  • In Polynesian cultures, neck tattoos represented status, bravery, and coming-of-age. Intricate patterns and symbols were etched into the skin.
  • For sailors, a neck tattoo of a swallow represented having traveled 5000 nautical miles at sea. A second swallow meant 10,000 miles.

Today, popular modern neck tattoo designs include:

• Words or phrases like “faith” or “never give up”

• Religious symbols like a cross

• Meaningful symbols like an anchor, dreamcatcher or feather

• Stylized letters of your name or initials

• Natural elements like the sun, moon or stars

• Tribal-inspired patterns

Getting inked on your neck is a bold choice and allows you to prominently display meaningful symbols, words or art. But it also means living with the reactions and judgments of others regarding your permanent body art. Make sure you fully understand all that is represented before proceeding with this expressive and rebellious form of self-expression.

Popular Neck Tattoo Designs and Ideas

Neck tattoos come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Here are some of the most popular designs to consider:

Tribal Tattoos

Tribal neck tattoos feature traditional tribal patterns like spirals, geometric shapes, and arrowheads. They have a cool, edgy look and the open areas of skin allow the intricate details of the tattoo to shine through. Tribal tattoos represent strength, courage, and loyalty.

Religious Symbols

Many people choose religious symbols like crosses, praying hands, or rosaries to put on their neck. These tats demonstrate your faith or spiritual connection. They can be simple or ornate, depending on your preferences.


Words, names, inspirational phrases or quotes are always a favorite. You can do block letters, script, or mix styles for a creative look. Consider having the text wrap around the neck for a dramatic effect. Lettering on the neck is bold but keep the content positive!

Stars, Feathers and Birds

Whether you like nautical stars, shooting stars or just simple star outlines, stars are a classic choice for neck tattoos. Delicate feathers, often tattered or quill-style, represent freedom and courage. Small flocking birds like sparrows or swallows on the neck symbolize travel, loyalty and new beginnings.

The neck is a visible and painful area, so think long and hard about your design and consider starting small before going for a large, elaborate piece. But if done well, a neck tattoo can be a stunning way to express yourself! With the proper aftercare, your neck ink will heal beautifully and become a permanent accessory you can show off for years to come.

Pain Level and Healing Time for Neck Tattoos

A neck tattoo is a big commitment, so it’s important to go in with realistic expectations about the pain level and healing process.

Pain Level

Get ready for some discomfort—neck tattoos are notorious for being quite painful. The neck area is very sensitive, with little cushioning between the needle and your bones and nerves. You’ll feel every puncture deeply. The pain level depends on your own tolerance, but most describe it as an intense stinging or burning sensation.

Some tips to help minimize discomfort:

•Take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen beforehand. This can help reduce inflammation and take the edge off.

•Get plenty of rest the night before. Being well-rested will help you tolerate the pain better.

•Bring a stress ball or squeeze toy. Giving your hands something to do can help distract you from the pain.

•Take breaks as needed. Don’t feel like you need to power through the entire tattoo in one sitting. Breaking it up into multiple sessions will make the process more bearable.

Healing Time

Due to the sensitivity of the area, neck tattoos typically require 2 to 3 weeks to fully heal. You’ll need to:

•Keep the tattoo bandaged for the first few hours, then wash gently with antibacterial soap 2-3 times a day. Pat dry with a clean cloth.

•Apply a fragrance-free moisturizer 3 times a day to keep the skin hydrated as it heals. Look for a non-comedogenic product meant for new tattoos.

•Avoid sun exposure and tanning beds while healing. Too much sun can fade the tattoo and slow down healing.

•Do not pick at any scabs that form. Let them fall off naturally. Picking can damage the tattoo and increase the chance of infection.

•Limit movement that stretches the neck. Avoid activities like yoga or weight training until cleared by your artist.

•Watch for signs of infection like swelling, oozing, or redness and see a doctor right away if noted.

With proper aftercare and patience, your new neck tattoo will heal beautifully. The pain and long healing time will be worth it for such a unique piece of body art! But go into the process fully aware of what to expect. Forewarned is forearmed.

Pros and Cons of Getting a Neck Tattoo

Getting inked around your neck is a bold choice that comes with both perks and drawbacks. Before you take the plunge, weigh these carefully.


  • Statement piece. A neck tattoo is hard to miss and makes a striking statement about your style and personality.
  • Conversation starter. Your neck ink is sure to spark interesting discussions with others.
  • Visible canvas. The neck offers a prominent area to feature meaningful symbols or art.


  • Job stopper. Visible tattoos may limit your career options, as many companies prefer a more conservative image. Neck tattoos in particular are still taboo in some professions.
  • Pain factor. The neck is a sensitive area, so getting tattooed there can be quite painful. The process may require multiple sessions to complete.
  • Regret risk. Bold neck tattoos are difficult to remove or cover up if your tastes change down the road. Think long and hard about your design choice.
  • Healing difficulties. Neck tattoos require special aftercare since the area is hard to keep moisturized and bandaged. The healing process can be problematic.

Before visiting a tattoo parlor, do thorough research on your state’s laws regarding visible tattoos and employment. Consider how a neck tattoo may impact your goals and lifestyle. Think about how you can design a meaningful, artistic piece that you’ll be happy with for life. If done right, a neck tattoo can be a rewarding form of self-expression. But go in with your eyes open to the potential downsides, and make sure you’re ready to commit to a piece of body art that’s meant to be seen.

Aftercare Tips for New Neck Tattoos

After getting your new neck tattoo, proper aftercare is essential while it heals. Follow these tips to help your ink heal quickly and stay vibrant.


Gently wash your new tattoo 2-3 times a day with antibacterial soap and water. Use lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean towel. Avoid submerging it in water like baths, hot tubs, pools, etc. for at least 2-4 weeks.


Apply a fragrance-free moisturizer like coconut oil, cocoa butter or a specialty tattoo aftercare product 3-5 times a day. This will keep your skin hydrated as it peels, reducing scabbing and ensuring even healing.


Only bandage your tattoo for the first few hours. Remove the initial bandage after 2-4 hours and allow the tattoo to air out and breathe. Bandaging for too long can cause irritation or infection. If bandaging is needed after the initial period due to location or clothing, use breathable bandages and change them daily.


Avoid touching your new tattoo with unwashed hands. Wash hands thoroughly before applying any product or touching the tattoo. Do not pick at scabs or crust that form during healing. Let them fall off naturally.


Try to sleep on the opposite side of your body as much as possible. Putting pressure on a new tattoo can cause fading or warping. When sleeping or sitting, use a rolled up towel under your neck for support.

Sun Protection

Avoid sun exposure and tanning beds for at least 2 weeks. The sun can cause severe damage and fading to a new tattoo. When going outside, use a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen on your tattoo. Limit sun exposure for the first few months of healing whenever possible.

Following these key aftercare steps will help ensure your new neck tattoo heals beautifully. Be patient through the process and avoid shortcuts for the best results. Happy healing!


Now you know everything you need to know before getting a neck tattoo. Neck tattoos are a big commitment but can be a rewarding form of self-expression if done right. Do your research, find an amazing artist, get a meaningful design, prepare for a long session, and take good care of it as it heals. While neck tattoos aren’t for everyone and you’ll likely face some judgment from others, don’t let that stop you from getting the tattoo you want. At the end of the day, it’s your body and your choice. If a neck tattoo is calling your name, go for it – just do it informed and with eyes wide open. The pain will be over before you know it but that awesome new neck tattoo will stay with you for life.

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