Where is it More Painful to get Tattooed?

So by now, you have had a lot of time to decide, plan, and even begin to long for that next piece of ink. How about we prepare a little mentally by looking at how much pain, hmm, we mean discomfort, you can actually expect on the different areas of your body. Naturally, everyone takes to getting tattooed differently, and everyone’s body and perception will differ. But here is a list to give you a general sense what level of uncomfortable you are in for during your next session. 

We go from “well, that kind of tickles,” to “Oh dear God please tell me there is no more shading!” 

Again, it is not an exact science but rather based on, albeit most often converging, anecdotal evidence. 

Least painful areas…

Black and Grey Realism Roses Tattoo by Liberty

Black and Grey roses by Liberty from Vivid Ink Sutton

Generally speaking, areas that tend to be a little more covered with a layer of fat and have fewer nerve endings, and aren’t that close to bones are also the least uncomfortable to get a tattoo. Some of these places are:

All of the outer arm, from the shoulder down to the forearm, is kind of ok-ish. The skin there is not so close to the nerves that run through the arm, and it is much thicker than that of the inside. That being said, the bone in the elbow could feel a little… funny, depending on how sensitive you are.  

The outer part of the upper thigh is usually a quite, dare we say it, pleasant place to get tattooed. Well, at least comparatively. It has a substantial amount of flesh, and no nerve endings to speak of. 

Calves are also round, juicy places to get inked. As long as the needled does not venture towards the thin skin over the shinbone in the front. High up on the back of the calf, towards the knee, also tends to be a little trickier. 

The upper and the lower back are also not too bad, although the vibrations from the machine can reverberate in a bit of an interesting way throughout your torso. 

…and slightly more tricky parts

So, that is for the good news. Let’s get into the gnarly places. 

painful places to get tattooed hand

Exquisite hand tattoo by Alan from Vivid Ink Birmingham

A lot of people say that getting tattooed on the ribcage causes them great discomfort, and there are even stories of tattoo artists sighing heavily when it is requested as they expect the canvas to twitch from the pain, making their job harder.

However, there are also people (no, not masochists) that have said it is a rather comfortable experience. Again, this just goes to show what a subjective experience it is. Hot tip: breathe slow and steady to make it easier on your artist. 

The breastbone? Yeah, let’s not go there…

According to all accounts, another of the most painful place to get inked is the armpit. This is because the axillary nerve runs through there, and the place is full of glands close to the surface of the skin.

The spine, the neck, the head, the face and the ears all have a multitude of nerve endings and not a lot of fat, which equals a lot of “ouch.” Plus, the noise and the vibrations in the skull from getting your head tattooed can surely be no picnic. 

Feet, ankles, wrists, fingers and hands all fall under the little-fat category, as does the groin and anything over the hip bones. 

So there you are, it may not change your thoughts on where you want to have your ink placed, nor should it, its s a few hours of discomfort for a life-long piece of art. But sometimes it is nice to be prepared.