The most painful spots to get tattooed

Tattoo pain: not for the faint-hearted?

Many people who want to get a tattoo wonder whether getting a tattoo hurts, which parts of the body are particularly painful and which are less sensitive. Everyone has an individual pain tolerance and yet most people feel pain when getting a tattoo.

During tattooing, a needle is repeatedly inserted into the skin, depositing tiny pigment particles into the upper layers of the skin, where they remain in the fibroblasts of the middle layer. Since a tattoo is a wound caused by multiple needle pricks, it’s not surprising that it causes pain. The needles can be uncomfortable, but generally, the pain is tolerable for several hours.

The distribution of nerve endings in the body varies from person to person, which is why not all tattoos are perceived as equally painful. Different pain experiences are made that cannot be clearly classified.


Pain scale tattoos: which spots hurt the most?

Parts of the body with a lot of fat, tendons and muscles are often less sensitive to pain when tattooed. These include, among others:

  • Shoulder: Hardly painful, only slightly more painful towards the neck and chest.
  • Upper arm: Perfect for the first tattoo. Only the inside can be a bit painful.
  • Forearm: Similar to the upper arm, only the inside is a little more painful.
  • Shoulder blade: Quite tolerable.
  • Shin: Opinions differ, but generally, a tattoo here is bearable.
  • Thigh: Less sensitive, hence relatively pain-free.

Particularly painful places for tattoos are bony parts of the body where there is little fat, such as:

  • Armpit: This area is very sensitive and tattooing can be unbearable.
  • Back: The back is perceived by some as a painful area, especially near the spine.
  • Hip: It can be uncomfortable, especially in the kidney area.
  • Chest: Stinging on the sternum can be very painful.
  • Calf: Tattooing the calf can be very painful.
  • Joints: The crook of the arm and the back of the knee are particularly sensitive, so tattooing here is very painful.
  • Foot: Due to the many bones close to the surface of the skin, tattooing the foot can be quite painful.


Tips on how to reduce pain while tattooing

To make the pain as bearable as possible, good preparation is important. Regularly moisturize your skin several days before the appointment, but not on the day of the appointment. Additionally, make sure to get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and have a nourishing meal. An empty stomach can amplify the pain, while a well-rested body can help you stay calm and composed.

Avoid coffee, alcohol and drugs before the appointment and do not go to the solarium. Customers under the influence of alcohol or drugs are generally not tattooed. Due to its blood-thinning effect, alcohol causes excessive wound water production and promotes bleeding.

When getting a tattoo, the pain can quickly become overwhelming and put you in a so-called pain spiral. However, there are ways to counteract the pain effectively. It’s important to remain relaxed, as tensing up will only intensify the pain. The tattoo artist can help you better manage the pain.

Breathe slowly, deeply, and calmly to calm yourself, lower your heart rate, and relax your muscles. Contracting and relaxing your muscles can also help reduce pain during the tattooing process. If the pain becomes unbearable, you can always communicate with your tattoo artist and take a break or divide the tattoo into multiple sessions to avoid overwhelm.

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