Thinking of a tattoo? Here are the most and least painful spots to get inked – Insider

Posted in New York Tattoo on Jul 25, 2021

Getting a tattoo involves an ink-filled needle repeatedly puncturing your skin. Consequently, it's not unusual to wonder how much pain you should expect when considering a tattoo.

As it turns out, pain is a highly subjective experience, and how much discomfort you feel while getting tattoed can depend on a couple of factors including your biological sex, pain tolerance, and most importantly the area of your body getting tattooed.

Most of the data on tattoos and pain is anecdotal, but some general rules apply. The most painful places to get tattooed are typically bony and have very little fat covering them, says Gianna Caranfa, a New York-based tattoo artist.

Quick tip: Caranfa says a simple "pinch test" can help you understand how pain can vary based on where you're getting tattooed: "Imagine the areas that hurt when you are pinched. The inner biceps would hurt more from a pinch versus the top of your forearm, this relates to tattooing too."

The most painful areas for all people include the:

Less painful areas to get tattooed include parts of the body with thicker skin and more fat, including the:

There's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how much pain you'll feel when getting tattooed. But if you're wondering what type of pain to expect, Caranfa says the experience is comparable to the feeling of a cat scratch or a sunburn.

"Long periods of irritation and tenderness are what make you feel any discomfort," Caranfa says. "The sensation of a tattoo needle is very dull compared to a syringe [and needle], it isn't the needle that causes discomfort as much as it is prolonged tenderness of being tattooed."

Importantly, different people will report varying experiences of pain based on their individual nervous systems and pain thresholds, says Channelle Charest, a California-based tattoo artist and Co-founder of tattoo scheduling platform Tatstat.

Other factors that could affect pain during tattooing include:

Important: People might experience increased sensitivity to pain during menstruation.

Fortunately, most of the discomfort you feel while getting tattooed will end when your tattoo artist puts down the tattoo gun.

"The sensation is only when the needle is in you," Caranfa says, adding that while it's typical to experience some soreness, swelling, and itchiness in the days after getting tattooed, it's "not debilitating."

It's natural to feel nervous about pain when getting tattooed, but there are steps you can take to prepare yourself and make the process a more pleasant experience.

"Make sure you eat an hour before you go, drink plenty of water, and wear comfortable clothes," Charest says, and always be communicative and honest with your artist if you need to take a break while getting tattooed.

If you're really worried about pain, you might opt to use a numbing cream. Remember to avoid NSAIDS or drink alcohol prior to being tattooed as they can thin your blood and cause excess bleeding, making it harder for the tattoo artist to do their job.

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Thinking of a tattoo? Here are the most and least painful spots to get inked - Insider

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