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How Much Does it Hurt to Get a Tattoo

An apprehension and fear that most people have before getting their first tattoo done is, does it hurt a lot? It is a question that most people have, although few can give you a good answer. Will you be crying out with pain? Will you feel pain at all? Will you be able to take the pain and go through with the entire tattoo? Here is an attempt to answer a few of these questions.

Does it hurt a lot when getting a tattoo?

To give you a simple answer, yes it does hurt to get a tattoo. Needles pricking your body, no matter where, no matter how gently, will hurt. Tattooing is done by pricking needles into the skin, so it is going to hurt at least a little.

However, some may tell you that people faint and cry uncontrollably when getting a tattoo, while some say it feels relaxing, almost like a massage. These are two extremes and such people do exist, no doubt, but they are few and far between. So what is the reality?

Frankly, there is no one answer. The amount of pain you experience while getting a tattoo depends on various factors:

  • Skin sensitivity to pain
  • Your threshold for pain tolerance
  • The part of the body being tattooed
  • The skill of your tattoo artist

A combination of these factors will decide how much pain you experience. You cannot do anything about the first two, and the last one can be taken care of by doing some research and only going to a good and reputed tattooist. So what about where does it hurt the most?

Where on the body does it hurt more during inking?

Quick guide to which body parts hurt how much during tattooing.

Parts that hurt the least:

  • Outer arms
  • Calves
  • Shoulders
  • Inner wrists
  • Outer thighs

Parts that hurt a little more:

  • Neck
  • Inner thighs
  • Inner arms
  • Center of the back and lower back
  • Ankles
  • Head

Parts that can hurt quite a bit:

  • Hips
  • Armpits and sides of the chest
  • Nipples
  • Inside of elbows and back of knees
  • Top of the foot
  • Stomach
  • Lips

The most excruciating pain, though is experienced when tattooing private parts. Although not common, some people do get them tattooed.



Tips to reduce pain during tattooing

  • Avoid blood thinning drugs like Advil, aspirin and Tylenol. Also avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks as these can thin blood and make it difficult for the ink to take to the skin.
  • Drink lot of water. It keeps skin hydrated, helps color absorb better and faster. Also, try to eat a bit before going for your session. An empty stomach can make pain worse.
  • Get enough sleep. Being rested helps increase tolerance to pain, especially if you have a long tattooing sessions ahead of you.
  • Take few and small quick breaks during long sessions to get a snack and relax a bit.

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These tips can be very useful if you have highly sensitive skin, have low tolerance for pain or are getting a body part tattooed that is known for hurting quite a bit. The best way to be prepared for tattooing is to be informed about facts about the process, so that you can mentally prepare yourself for your first tattooing session.


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