Tattoos and Pain - How Much Do They Really Hurt?

 Probably the most popular question when it comes tattooing - Is it painful? Lots of people avoid getting tattooed because of the pain. Some are getting used to it, some are trying to find some anesthetics to prevent the pain, especially on long sitting sessions. But however, there is no a correct answer for this question. It depends on people pain threshold and immune system. Sometimes a big role plays the tattoo placement, some body areas are causing more pain than others, e.g. stomach, back of knees, armpit, inside of elbow, nipples, lips, inside of thighs and genitals.

Probably the first 60 seconds on the tattoo chair are usually the worst, and then when you realize it's just not that bad, you calm down and the rest is smooth sailing.

What scares you?

Needles, Blood?

The needles move in an up-and-down motion, carefully pushing the ink just below the surface of the skin. The damage to your skin is so minimal that many people don't bleed at all - or very little. The tattoo artist will also be constantly wiping up your skin to clean off any traces of blood, so it's done in a very clean and professional manner. Excessive bleeding usually only results when the patron has been drinking alcohol or taking some kind of blood thinner (like aspirin).

So which body areas hurt the most?

Not Really Painful
Upper arm, forearm, calf, Bum, and Thigh. For a 1st tattoo these are great points to begin your inked journey.

Paper Cuts or Blowtorch
Centre back, front / side of thighs and shoulders. This is also not too bad a start for your first tattoo. The shoulders and central back region can be area that require quite a lot of movement. The skin on these areas is much looser meaning it takes longer to tattoo and also longer to heal. On areas that have lots of movement such as these, require more care once a tattoo is completed. Due to the thigh area being quite a dense muscle mass and also quite tight skin, it may tend to bruise the day after.

Less Comfortable
These include the knees, elbows, hands, head, neck, feet, chest and back of thighs. Beginners beware of starting at these areas. You would need to be determined to have tattoos here as the high sensitivity would require a lot of mental focus to get you through. The poor quality of skin on both the knees and elbows will result in a very slow tattoo process and nerves are very close to the surface in these areas. This could result in the tattooing being unbearable for any length of time for some people. As with the orange areas these tend to be high movement areas and will require a longer healing timescale. You may find that to achieve a good solid color, you may have to repeat the tattoo process on these areas. As a side note the chest area on men can be much more sensitive to pain than a woman, yet due to the tighter skin on a male, the tattoo can be completed quicker.

The Pain Arrives
Areas include hips, ribcage, stomach, back of knees, armpit, inside of elbow, nipples, lips, inside of thighs and genitals. Are you really sure you want to get that tattoo? As these areas can elicit crying, half finished tattoos or even the customer passing out. This could just be more than you may be able to handle. All of these purple areas are considered by most to be the most painful areas to be tattooed. The stretchy or thin skin over bone are slow to tattoo, some of these may require multiple sessions to achieve solid colour and smooth shading. Healing can be just as painful as receiving the tattoo and may require a few days off from your regular activities.

- Always eat a good meal before being tattooed and drink plenty of fluids.
- Be sure to get a good nights rest before your appointment.
- Ask what kind of aftercare products you will need when you set up to get your tattoo.
- Mention any allergies you may have, pigments, dyes, perfumes.
- Some medication may thin your blood, check with your doctor before being tattooed. Anyone with an autoimmune disorder needs to check with their doctor and should bring a note to be tattooed.