Tattoo Pain Chart: The Most Painful Places to Get a Tattoo

It’s obvious that some places are more painful to poke than others, but pain is a subjective thing. What one person thinks is fine may be excruciating to another. So when someone asks how much it hurts to get a tattoo, it’s a hard question to answer specifically.

However, some spots are certainly more painful to tattoo than others. That’s why we made this tattoo pain chart. You’ll also learn the factors that affect tattoo pain, the most painful and least painful places to get a tattoo, and how to reduce tattoo pain in general.

Tattoo Pain Chart

Understanding the tattoo pain chart is essential for anyone considering getting inked. We want to see everyone who wants a tattoo finish the process. A half-finished tattoo doesn’t look good! Yet we also want to ensure you get the tattoo you want, so you should fully know what to expect before you sit in the chair.

Pain levels during tattooing start with the tattoo placement. This tattoo pain chart will help you know if your planned spot might hurt more than you think. Numbers closer to one are more painful:

1. Head and face

Absolutely the most painful area to get a tattoo. The skin in this area is thinner than the rest of the body and there are more nerve endings. This means getting a tattoo here is incredibly intense. If you can handle a tattoo here, you’re probably fine for the rest of your body!

2. Ribs and sternum

The rib cage and sternum are areas with less flesh and more bone, which can make the tattooing process quite painful. The needle hitting the bone can cause a sharp and intense sensation.

3. Inner thigh and groin

This area is sensitive for tattoos, especially for those with more delicate skin, because of the proximity to nerve endings.

4. Feet and ankles

The feet and ankles, barring the soles of the feet, have very thin skin and are close to a lot of bones. This is a combination of increased pain. Getting a tattoo on the sole of the foot is rare, but anyone who is ticklish knows just how many nerves there are down there!

5. Neck and spine

The neck and spine are areas with a lot of bone and less flesh, making them more painful to tattoo. The spine, in particular, can be quite sensitive because of the spinal nerves.

6. Hands and fingers

The hands and fingers are like the feet and ankles. Any spot that has more nerve endings will have more pain during tattooing. The skin on the hands and fingers is also thinner, which can contribute to increased pain.

7. Elbows and knees

These areas have thin skin and are close to bone. The bony structure of the elbows and knees can cause a sharper and more intense sensation during tattoos.

8. Inner arm and wrist

The inner arm and wrist are areas that can be quite painful to tattoo. The skin in these areas is thinner and more sensitive, making the tattooing process more uncomfortable.

9. Outer arm and shoulder

The outer arm and shoulder are areas with more flesh and muscle, making them less painful to tattoo compared to other areas. However, the level of pain can still vary depending on individual pain tolerance.

10. Outer leg and thigh

The outer leg and thigh are areas with more flesh and muscle, similar to the outer arm and shoulder. The pain level can vary depending on individual pain tolerance, but it is less painful compared to areas with less flesh.

11. Back and chest

The back and chest are the least painful areas because the skin is thick and there are fewer nerve endings. However, certain areas on the back and chest, such as the spine or rib cage, have more bone or nerves and could be more intense.

Remember that this is a general guideline. Factors such as the size of the tattoo, the skill of the tattoo artist, and your personal pain tolerance can also influence the level of pain you feel. If you feel unsure about how much pain you’ll feel, get a tattoo consultation from us.

Most Painful Places to Get a Tattoo

  • Head and face: The skin in these areas is particularly sensitive, making the pain more intense.
  • Ribs and sternum: These areas have less padding and are close to the bone, causing increased discomfort.
  • Inner thigh and groin: The skin here is delicate and prone to irritation, making it a more painful spot.

Least Painful Place Tattoo Spots

  • Outer arm and shoulder: These areas have more muscle and fat, providing better cushioning and reducing discomfort.
  • Outer leg and thigh: Similar to the arms, these areas are less sensitive, resulting in a milder sensation.
  • Back and chest: The large surface area and thicker skin make these locations less painful for tattooing.

Factors That Affect Tattoo Pain

Besides the location of the tattoo, there are several other factors that can affect how painful your tattoo will be.

One important factor is the size of the tattoo. Larger tattoos require longer sessions and can be more painful as the tattoo needle penetrates the skin repeatedly. The style of the tattoo can also affect the level of pain. Fine lines and intricate details may require the tattoo artist to work more delicately, potentially causing more discomfort.

Another factor to consider is the experience and technique of the tattoo artist. A skilled artist will minimize the pain by using proper needle techniques and applying consistent pressure. A tattoo shop may have an artist that specializes in first-time subjects.

Lastly, you have a pain tolerance. Only you can know how sensitive you are to pain! If your session becomes too painful, let your artist know. They can help you through the process.

How to Reduce Tattoo Pain

While getting a tattoo will involve some discomfort, there are steps you can take to minimize the pain:

  • Choose a reputable tattoo artist with a large portfolio. This shows experience.
  • Consider using a numbing cream or gel before the tattooing session to reduce sensitivity.
  • Drink plenty of water and get a good night’s sleep before your appointment.
  • Avoid alcohol and painkillers before your appointment. Many artists will turn you away if you’re drunk or have taken aspirin because of the bleeding risk.
  • Try to stay as relaxed as possible during the process. It’ll calm your mind and it’ll keep you more still. The result is a better tattoo!
By considering the tattoo pain level chart here along with everything else you’ve learned, you’re now prepared to predict the pain of your tattoo. Everyone has a different pain tolerance, and you may find you can get ink on more painful areas with no problem. But there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the least painful tattoo spots!

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