225 Cool Skull Tattoo Designs And Ideas

History Of Skull Tattoos

In 1988, a scholar named Arnold Rubin built up an entire collection of works that showcased the complete history of tattooing cultures, showing them off as a ‘mark of civilization’. And with this, the accompanying term ‘tattoo renaissance’ also came about, which made a reference to a period that was marked by artistic, technological, and a form of social change. Those who wore tattoos, as a part of their current counterculture, started to flaunt off their body art, as a way to resist the values given out by a middle-class society, which was composed of white and straight individuals. So the people who preferred these tattoos shifted from the stereotypical bikers, thugs and sailors to upper-class and middle-class people. A shift in iconography also occurred, from those badge-like images which were based from repetitive pre-made tattoo designs – Commonly known as flash tattoos – To a fully customized sleeve tattoo which takes its influence from Japanese and Polynesian designs. Sleeve tattoos were now categorized as a type of tattoo design found beneath a brand new genre at that time, known as ‘avant-garde’. A tattoo artist also became a legitimate profession, with young men and women working alongside older and more traditional artists. A lot of the new generation of tattoo artists carried fine arts degrees from colleges and universities.

Tattoos eventually experienced a strong surge in popularity throughout different parts of the globe, especially in places like Europe, Japan, and South America. The popularity of tattooing culture saw a huge influx of young and upcoming tattoo artists entering the industry, a lot of them holding degrees in fine arts and other technical degrees. Paired up with some advancements in tattooing technology, like machines and pigments used, there became an improvement in regards to the quality that these tattoos came with.

In 1993, Playboy model Jennifer LeRoy became the very first model to sport a visible tattoo on the cover of the popular men’s magazine.

In the 2000s, tattoos became mainstream in pop culture, bringing inspiration to reality TV shows that focused on tattoos, tattooing and tattoo artists – Like A&E’s ‘Inked’, and TLC’s wildly popular series ‘Miami Ink’, along with its spin-offs, ‘NY Ink’ and ‘LA Ink’. Apart from that, celebrities who have worn tattoos have made the concept fully acceptable in the most recent decade.

Plenty of visual art institutions, alongside contemporary forms of art exhibits have included tattoos as a form of art, through the means of showing them off as tattoo flashes, taking a closer look at tattoo artists’ works, as well as incorporating loads of great examples of body art inside the exhibits themselves. In 2009, a tattoo-focused exhibition in Chicago entitled ‘Freaks and Flash’ incorporated both samples of a historic form of body art, together with the artists who managed to build up these amazing tattoo designs. In 2010, a survey revealed that 25 percent of Australian youth wore tattoos.


Types Of Skull Tattoos

  • Sugar skull tattoo – A sugar skull, and in turn, a sugar skull tattoo, is mostly associated with the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration. This celebration is meant to be a celebration of the life of anyone who has passed. The overall look of these sugar skull tattoos can mimic the lively and upbeat celebration of anyone who has celebrated this festival. Most of the time, a sugar skull tattoo is often acquired to serve as a tribute to a loved one who has passed away. Sugar skull tattoos are an excellent idea since they look amazing on both men and women.
  • Skull and rose tattoos or skull and flower tattoos – A skull tattoo design with flowers attached can look captivating, especially if the flowers or roses in question are colorful. Maybe you would want to acquire a tattoo to honor a loved one or a pal who has passed away. However, both skulls and roses do play contrasting meanings. And as a result, these designs will not be misinterpreted by any individual who sees it. These tattoos are supposed to show off the difference that exists between two elements: Decay/beauty, and death/life. Both of them build up a symbol of duality, which shows off a never-ending struggle between beauty and ugliness, as well as good and evil.
  • Intriguing skull tattoo – This tattoo showcases a skull with a hood covering it up. One of the skull’s eye sockets is seemingly empty, while the other one has an eyeball in it. Meanwhile, the artist has also depicted it displaying a bone hand that holds four cards, just drawn at the bottom of the skull.
  • Girly skull tattoo – This tattoo design has been gaining so much popularity lately, especially among women. A feminine skull tattoo can showcase things like purple or pink bows on its head, heart-shaped eyes, or any other characteristics that are very girly. People who acquire this tattoo are usually couples who want to get a matching tattoo, and want a skull design.
  • Human skull tattoo on the wearer’s upper arm – This is an amazing skull tattoo design which shows off a black and white human skull set, drawn nicely on the wearer’s arm. The artist has drawn the skull in such a way that the tattoo’s interiors all show off a red hue. This suggests that there’s a beam of red light shining out from inside the skull.

Skull Tattoo Meaning

People who have long worn skull tattoos do have their own reason why this is so, as well as their own interpretation for their tattoo. However, there are loads of other meanings out there regarding the various types of skull tattoos. A lot of people actually consider skull tattoos to represent both anger and death. However, even during the early history of tattoos and tattooing, the skull wasn’t just meant to be a symbol of death or destruction. It also represented life. In ancient societies, a skull was supposed to be a nod to ‘greater change’, and one of the greatest changes in life is facing mortality. This is the reason why skulls are commonly associated with death.

A skull tattoo does have a whole assortment of meanings, and everything does depend on how the skull is depicted on the tattoo’s design. For example, a lot of people have associated a human skull tattoo with its giant, empty eye sockets as a symbol of death, but it also makes an amazing tattoo design. Certain people who acquire these tattoos will only do so as a proof that they do not fear the inevitability of death. And apart from that, a skull tattoo design can also symbolize that the wearer has accepted their own mortality. Another representation of a skull tattoo is that they serve to remind people that everyone will die eventually, and that they should enjoy their life to the fullest.

Best Placement For A Skull Tattoo

When choosing the best location of a skull tattoo, you also have to think of the other factors aside from the design of your new ink. For example, consider the areas on your body in which your current or dream career would want you to have a tattoo, as well as the things that can be improved alongside it.

You can place a skull tattoo on various spots of a person’s body. However, men would want to put them on their sleeves or biceps, both on the upper parts of the arm itself. Other preferred spots include the back, the shoulders, the thighs, and the chest. A few daring individuals like placing their tattoos on the back or side of the neck.

Thanks to the nature of this certain tattoo design, you can pretty much place it on any body part that you wish, and it’ll still look just as good. You can put the same design in between your shoulder blades, in the center of your back, or even right across it.

Anybody can look great with a skull tattoo, as long as they wear it correctly. Shoulder tattoos look great on anybody, so a skull design should look nice there too. One of the great things about shoulder tattoos is that you can control the amount of skin that gets exposed.

Each tattoo looks great, no matter if it’s a big one, a small one, and overly cliché design, a subtle tattoo, or even a face tattoo. But after you have managed to cover up all of the limbs and each crevice of skin you can think of, it’s now time to come up with an original idea for your new ink, especially when it comes to the placement.

A tattoo is clearly all about creativity. And this kind of creativity doesn’t just limit itself to the design, but it can go as far as the placement itself. And even though face tattoos are out of the question for some people out there, there are loads of individuals who will go as far as to put a tattoo in a more discreet place.

There are some celebrities out there who sport full-hand tattoos, like Rihanna and Zayn Malik. And now, the age of tattooing a simple heart on the forearm seems to be ending pretty soon. These intricate designs no longer have to be completely original, but with the positioning as well. Even though tradition is one of the cornerstones of tattooing culture, the future has finally arrived and is willing to know just how much of your body are you willing to put a tattoo on before you faint. Not to worry, though – You no longer have to go to the extremes for that.

For skull tattoos, an unconventional location is the back of the wearer’s head. Whenever the word ‘skull tattoo’ comes to mind, the first thing that pops into your head is the tattoo of a skull, and not the tattoo on a skull. Wearing a skull tattoo doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be hardcore to rock a head tattoo.

Preparation Tips For A Skull Tattoo

It helps to get your tattoo done at a shop with a stellar reputation. Doing a bit of research for testimonials on websites such as Yelp or Google will definitely go a long way towards the path to a fantastic tattooing experience.

Be sure not to rush too much into things and think about what kind of tattoo you want for yourself. Which place you want to put it, and, if possible, chat with somebody you really trust regarding their opinion.

And even though the chances are rare, there are still people out there who are downright allergic to tattoo ink – Red ink, most notably, can trigger allergies.

Whenever you sort out any medical notes that you feel like you need to bring with you to the appointment, you must be able to stop any potential delays before they rise up, to make sure that you won’t be facing any issues while, or right before, you get the tattoo done. But of course, when you’ve got a clean bill of health and don’t suffer from any underlying medical conditions that can impact the entire tattooing process, then this step isn’t for you.

Consider whether you really, really, really want a tattoo. Before you can officially book an appointment with the shop of your choice, make sure to sleep on your final choice – For at least a day or two – To ensure that deep, deep, down inside you really want to get this tattoo. This period is meant for you to stop any impulse choices that you may end up regretting several years later.

Getting ready for your appointment on the day itself can make you downright nervous – Especially if you have plans to travel to a faraway location for the shop, and just want to make sure that you don’t forget anything important. Always be sure that you’re fully prepared as you can be on the big day.

Check to see if you have all of the important requirements, like the valid ID. If you are underage – Or if you simply look youthful – Be sure to bring with you some form of identification, so the staff and the artist can confirm your age once you arrive for the appointment. You will not be allowed to push through with the session if you don’t have a valid ID with you.

Never go to your appointment if you’re feeling unwell. Not only will the entire experience be horrible for both you and the artist, but you can also spread your germs around the shop and make everyone sick, including the artist, the staff, and the other clients.

Always do the right thing and call up your artist as early as you possibly could in case you do fall sick on your appointment day, so the two of you can arrange it for another day.

Bring a small bag of important essentials with you. There are actually a couple of things you can bring along with you to a tattoo appointment which can help making things a bit easier for yourself. Be sure to carry a bag which contains some really important items like snacks, a packed lunch, a bottle of water, a fully-charged phone, or even some headphones or a tablet to help you pass the time.

Eat a protein-filled or carbohydrate-filled meal before you head on over to the shop. A full meal will help keep you alert and your blood sugar levels elevated for a couple of hours. This also ensures that you won’t feel exhausted even after the session is done. You can also bring a sugary snack with you during the session. Eating this snack – Like a chocolate bar or some candy – Can help you stay alert in case you feel like fainting during the session.


Frequently Asked Questions About Skull Tattoos

  • Do skull tattoos hurt?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions in regards to acquiring a tattoo, because it is surprisingly just that. The simple answer here is that: Yes, it does. But it really doesn’t hurt as much as some people will like you to believe. Because after a while, your body’s own natural pain receptors and endorphins will start working and hopefully make things easy for you to handle. Exactly how long will these endorphins last usually defines your own limit as to how long you will be able to handle – Usually up to two or three hours. And once that’s done, you’ll start to feel very uncomfortable.

  • Is there any way for me to cover up my skull tattoo?

There are actually plenty of makeup brands out there that specialize in covering tattoos. These products can go from around ten to fifty bucks, and come with concealers, powders, and kits.

  • Can I use a numbing cream or pain killer?

Coming from the artist’s own perspective, these numbing creams or topical anesthetics can cause the person’s skin to feel and look a bit puffy. This means that the artist has to work twice as hard to insert the ink and pigment inside the skin, creating some extra trauma for the person. This can have several repercussions regarding the healing process, and build a nasty amount of scarring and scabbing during the same period. And then there are the pain killers that could cause the same problem. Aspirin is perhaps the largest problem here since it works as a blood thinner and lessens clotting. This causes additional bleeding while you get your tattoo, affecting the finished quality. Aspirin also extends the healing time that your tattoo could need, so you must avoid taking it before your session. Paracetamol, meanwhile, only has little effect on the body apart from being a placebo. Ibuprofen gives a small amount of pain relief during the whole process, lessening the localized swelling, and won’t affect the tattoo in whatever way.

  • How do I pick a tattoo shop?

Go and visit some shops. Chat with several tattoo artists, and make sure to get an overall feel for all of them. Acquiring a tattoo can be a very personal experience for everyone. You need to have a lengthy discussion with your artist, and check to see if your chosen shop makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. Is the shop’s customer service good, or bad. A lot of artists do treat their clients with contempt, as if working with them feels like a chore – Especially if it’s your first. If this happens, then by all means, just walk away and pick another shop. On the other hand, plenty of artists will treat their clients with utmost respect. If you get nothing but bored or unhelpful answers, or are just told to pick a design from a tattoo Flash or a book of their previous designs when you ask them for help, then perhaps the best piece of advice is to not book an appointment with them or choose another shop instead.

A lot of people who have proudly flaunted their tattoos either in real life or in social media have mentioned that their new body art is one way of expressing their deeper feelings and what they’re like as a person. A tattoo is not just meant to decorate a person’s body, it can also record the story of the wearer’s life. No matter what your reason is for wanting a tattoo, there’s always that one question that goes through a person’s head – Does it hurt to get a tattoo?

Maybe you have heard plenty of horror stories regarding the pain of getting a tattoo, or someone who managed to breeze through the whole thing by falling asleep on the table. So it doesn’t really surprise anyone that the truth about painful tattooing comes in the middle of these two extremes.

The real truth here is that acquiring a tattoo is a deeply personal experience for the wearer, and there are loads of factors out there that greatly contribute towards making the entire session either a painful or pleasant one.

So does getting a tattoo really hurt? The short answer here is: Yes, it does.

Standard Cost Of Getting A Skull Tattoo

Plenty of tattoo shops will charge you by the hour, despite the fact that they won’t tell you that to your face. Exactly how much they will charge you for each piece will all depend on the length of time it takes for them to finish – Even if they haven’t told you beforehand that they’ll charge you for a flat price. But in the end, the price of your tattoo does depend on how big or small it is, as well as the amount of details involved, and the placement on your body.

Another huge factor in regards to figuring out how much your tattoo costs in the end, will depend on your artist’s skill levels. If you step inside a tattoo shop and ask a professional artist as to what their rating might be, then you shouldn’t feel too surprised when they tell you that they charge for $150 an hour.

Plenty of tattoo artists will charge you for their work, depending on the amount of time it took for them to finish making the tattoo. Perhaps the smallest charge you’ll receive is for an hour’s worth of work. So if you step inside the shop expecting a tattoo that’ll only take thirty minutes to complete, then there’s a possibility that you will still end up paying for the amount of hours it took for you to finish up.

Skull Tattoo Maintenance Tips

As a whole, you will want to make sure that your brand new tattoo is kept as dry and clean as possible, keep it safe from any irritation, and moisturize it until it is fully healed.

Do not touch your new tattoo with dirty hands, or even anything that hasn’t been sterilized. But if you touch it by accident, wash it with water and soap, then pat it dry with the help of a paper towel. Transferring even just a tiny bit of bacteria onto a fresh tattoo will result in an infection, which can alter the look of your tattoo.

When scabs have formed on your new tattoo, you must never pick and especially pull on them no matter what the circumstances are. These scabs that aren’t ready to fall off may still be connected to a deeper layer of your skin in which the tattoo ink is still adjusting to its new location. This means that potentially pulling off a scab can cause the ink itself to be pulled out along with it, damaging the tattoo’s look.

And with that, you shouldn’t pick off the peeling skin from your tattoo either. This step comes after the tattoo is done with the scabbing phase. The skin will start to flake and peel away. Even though pulling and picking it off may seem very inviting, you mustn’t pick, play, or pull it off.

Even though the skin might look like it’s literally hanging by a thread, it’s still technically connected to a pigmentation comprised of setting ink. This means that when you pick on the skin, you can end up removing the ink as well.

It’s advisable not to consume any form of seafood even though you don’t have any allergic reactions to it. A couple of food can cause your skin to break out into allergies, therefore making them feel twice as itchy. And if you end up scratching that brand new tattoo – Even though it’s already been three to four days since you left the shop – Your newly-healed wound can break open and start bleeding again.

You shouldn’t scratch your tattoo either. This is perhaps one of the most important rules in regards to taking care of a brand new tattoo. For instance, a lot of things can go wrong with a tattoo if you begin scratching it.



First off, when you scratch that tattoo, you can end up removing a whole bunch of scabs and a lot of peeling skin in a single go. And in turn, this can help you get rid of large amounts of ink, making the tattoo look horrible and patchy. This also ensures that your tattoo will require a touch-up over the damaged area by your artist at a certain point in the future.

Scratching that tattoo heavily can create pits to form inside your skin’s scabs. This can result in a much longer healing period for your tattoo, together with several permanent scars in certain cases. And not only that, your fingernails can carry some gross bacteria and germs inside – Coming from all sorts of different places. So when you scratch on your new tattoo using dirty fingernails, you can end up opening the wounds to all of these millions and millions of germs, further increasing the chances of your tattoo acquiring an infection. Some infections can be downright serious.

You mustn’t submerge your tattoo in water either. A lot of bodies of water can carry all types of nasty bacteria as well, and it’s pretty much imperative that your tattoo never comes into contact with all of these as you possibly can. Places such as baths, ponds, hot tubs, lakes, puddles, or even sinks can contain a large number of germs in there. Be sure to keep your tattoo away from these until it is fully healed up.

But in case your tattoo accidentally comes into contact with these water bodies, rinse your tattoo as soon as you possibly could using a mild, unscented antibacterial liquid soap.

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