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How painful is a tattoo?

A question we are asked every day is, “Does getting a tattoo hurt?”

While the short answer is yes, in reality this is a complex question.

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.

  • The numerical scale: Measures pain on a scale of 0–10.

  • The tattoo verbal rating scale: Where people describe their pain verbally. on a scale from “yeah its fine” or "I cant really feel it" to “holy shit this feels like a knife made of fire”

Lets address another question we are asked frequently, "Who is better at getting tattooed men or women?" Men (or people who were assigned male at birth) tend to experience and cope with pain differently from those who are female (or were assigned female at birth).

I often hear people say "Ive survived childbirth I'll be fine" well thats fair enough if your midwife was smashing out a, full colour Japanese dragon on your back for 6 hours with a 21mag and a coil machine thats arcing like a welder. The reality is it's a completely different type of pain. If i was to generalise pain thresholds based on sex, based on my experience, I'd say males have slightly lower tattoo pain thresholds than females. Does it really matter?

As there are so many variables, age, style, machine, technique, skin type, hydration.

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 tattooed, we all agree tattoos hurt, some more than others.

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.

"Where's the worst places to get tattooed?' "Wheres the worst place you've had tattooed?" Personally the palm of my hand was pretty f*ckin wild, It faded quite quickly after it healed so I tattooed it again myself but its now faded badly and I think it will stay that way.

The usual suspects are the ribs, stomach, soles of the feet, armpits.

Have a look at this diagram it's not exact but it will give you a rough idea, how painful each area of the body can be when getting tattooed.

My advice is if you want it, then get it. Pain is temporary and your tattoos will be here a little longer than you will.

Maybe we should talk about numbing creams next? Which ones work, and should you use them?

Comment and let us know what your most painful tattoo has been so far...

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