Top Ten Most Painful Places to get a Tattoo – Part I

If you are thinking about getting tattooed for the first time, you are probably wondering how much it is going to hurt. The answer is – ranging from some to quite a bit. However, some places will be more painful than others. As we keep saying, pain tolerance is highly individual, both when it comes to tattoos and to piercings.

However, there seems to be some evidence – anecdotal and founded on anatomy, that certain places on the body are more prone to induce teeth-gritting and the odd grunting than others. Here is a list of the ten spots – from head to toe – you may want to avoid if you are on the more sensitive side of the spectrum. 

Head tattoo

By George from the Birmingham studio

1. Head

While it may not be the first idea you have to get your head tattooed, it could be good to know/keep in mind for the future that the skull is reportedly one of the worst places to get inked. Almost entirely devoid of fatty tissue underneath the skin, the needle vibrates right through the bone. This produces mentally uncomfortable sensations such as loud buzzing noises inside the head. People report having to take more frequent breaks when having their skull tattooed than anywhere else. Which, of course, also gives a head tattoo its own kind of badass mythology.

2. Face 

The face is painful both due to it being, well part of the skull, thus the uncomfortable vibrations and sensations tend to still be very intense. Because of the high density of the nerves especially in the forehead and around the nose, the needle can also cause quite a bit of pain. If you are absolutely intent on getting a face tat, may we suggest the fleshier part of the cheek to start with? 

ribcage tattoo

By Kiah at Vivid Ink Birmingham

3.  Rib Cage

The rib cage is a very popular spot to get tattooed. A small quote or fine line rose on the ribs is, honestly, really tolerable. However, when you get into bigger pieces, all the nerves running through the area makes for a pretty intense experience. The vibrations can also be felt throughout the whole chest, upper back, and even spine. Take long slow breaths all the way into your belly. This will calm you, help with the pain and at the same time keep your rib cage still so that your artist can work. 

4.  Sternum tattoos 

Sternum tattoos (sometimes also known as ‘underboob tattoos’) is very similar to the rest of the rib cage. It might be more uncomfortable at the very front and centre right on the breast bone. Due to the little protection from lack of substantial fatty tissues over the bony bits, it can feel as if the needle is hitting right into the bone repeatedly, even though, of course, it isn’t. As gorgeous as they are, they can take a little longer than other tattoos as the artist needs to move around the area to get a good angle, so you might end up dealing with the discomfort for just a little longer. But what is that in exchange for that gorgeous piece that will last a lifetime?