DOES IT HURT?

While most people will say yes, in reality, this is a complex question to answer.

Tattooing involves repeatedly piercing your skin’s top layer with a sharp needle covered with pigment. So getting a tattoo is generally always painful, though people may experience different levels of pain.

People who are biologically male tend to experience and cope with pain differently from those who are biologically female. In addition, the various parts of the body experience different levels of pain when tattooed.

While there is no scientific evidence that says which areas of the body will feel the most and least pain when getting inked, we in the tattoo industry have a generality that we stick by (charts provided below).

Here’s the general consensus: The least painful places to get tattooed are those with the most fat, fewest nerve endings, and thickest skin. The most painful places to get tattooed are those with the least fat, most nerve endings, and thinnest skin. Bony areas usually hurt a lot.

Read on to find out more.....

Biological Female Pain Chart
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Biological Male Pain Chart
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It’s likely most painful to get a tattoo on a part of your body with many nerve endings, close to bones without much fat, or where your skin is very thin. Pain in these areas may be high to severe.

Areas that likely cause the least amount of pain when tattooed tend to be padded with some fat, have tight skin, have few nerve endings, and are not close to bones. Pain in these areas will be low to moderate.

How to minimize pain

Here are a few tips to minimize tattoo pain:

  • Ask your tattoo artist to take breaks when you’re having trouble dealing with the pain.

  • Choose a very experienced tattoo artist. Insist on seeing their certification and checking out their equipment beforehand. Your tattoo artist should always wear clean gloves and use sterilized equipment.

  • Don’t eat before you get your tattoo if you’re getting your stomach tattooed.

  • Follow tattoo aftercare instructions such as washing your tattoo, wearing loose clothing over your tattoo, and applying ointment and moisturizer to reduce pain and the risks of complications after your tattoo is finished.

  • Make sure you’ve gotten enough sleep before your tattoo. Having had sufficient sleep before a tattoo will make it easier for you to endure the pain.

  • Stay sober for your tattoo. Alcohol thins your blood and can cause bleeding and bruising. This can bring on a lot of pain and even ruin your tattoo.

  • Stay hydrated to keep your skin supple and tight to reduce the pain of a tattoo.

  • Try a numbing product on your skin before getting your tattoo to reduce the amount of pain you experience. 

The Bottom Line

Getting a tattoo is a painful experience for everyone. But there are factors affecting how much pain you as an individual experience while getting inked. Things like sex, skin condition, and tattoo placement can affect how much it hurts to get a tattoo.

Make sure you’re aware of the pain, complications, and risks of tattoo regret before you head to the tattoo parlor