Tattoos can be painful for women and men because of the multiple nerve endings on the head and face. Check out the tattoo pain level chart.
Tattoo Pain Overview
- Tattoo Pain Variability: Tattoo pain is subjective, with different people experiencing varied pain levels based on individual tolerance, tattoo location, and body anatomy.
- Most Painful Areas: Regions with thinner skin, proximity to bones, and high nerve endings like the ankles, ribs, spine, and elbows are typically the most painful for tattoos.
- Least Painful Areas: Areas with more cushioning, like the upper outer thigh, back, and outer bicep, are generally considered less painful for tattoos.
- Nerve Considerations: The body has numerous nerves, and understanding their locations can help predict the potential pain intensity of a tattoo in a particular area.
- Tattoo Preparation: Ensure a good night’s sleep, eat a nutritious meal, avoid alcohol, stay hydrated, and consider numbing cream for a better tattoo experience.
- Professionalism Matters: The expertise and technique of the tattoo artist play a role in pain perception. Choosing a certified professional is crucial, and ensuring they use sterilized equipment.
- Post-Tattoo Care: Following the recommended aftercare routine, which includes washing the tattoo, wearing loose clothing, and moisturizing, can alleviate post-tattoo discomfort and aid in healing.
Global Tattoo Trends
Body decorations, such as tattoos, are common across the globe. An estimated 38 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 have been tattooed at least once in their lifetimes.
The question that naturally arises is, “Does getting a tattoo hurt?”.”
Most people would say yes to this question, but the answer is much more complicated.
An ink-covered needle pierces the top layer of your skin repeatedly. Getting a tattoo is always painful, though the pain level may vary from person to person.
A man’s perception of and reaction to pain differs from a woman’s. The degree of pain felt by various body parts varies as well.
The tattoo industry runs sites with anecdotal information about which body parts get inked most and least heavily. So, we collected anecdotal information about those sites.
There is general agreement that areas with the most fat, fewest nerve endings, and thickest skin are the least painful for getting tattooed. The places where tattoos hurt the most are those with the least fat and most nerve endings. Usually, bone areas hurt a lot.
Are you scared of tattoo pain? Check out this nice piece in Cosmo.
Here are the spots most likely to be painful and those most likely to be less painful.
Tattoo pain scale chart
Prepare yourself for some pain when getting a tattoo you’ve been eyeing. If someone says that getting a tiny heart pounded into their finger didn’t hurt, their pain tolerance might differ from yours.
First of all, tattoos hurt. This situation is, without a doubt, why tattoo culture has existed since ages before the concept of anesthesia was even considered.
Tattoo pain tolerance chart
Tattoo pain chart female
The piercing needle of a tattoo artist reacts differently to different parts of the body. The feeling can differ depending on the nerves under your skin or the structure underneath the skin.
When getting tattooed, the most painful parts are:
- The groin
- The armpits
- The Elbow
- The spine area
- The inner arm
It is important to examine the body’s major nerves to understand how tattoo needling affects the structure of the flesh and the pain it involves. You should also know that the muscle and flesh covering these important nerves impact this.
Where will you feel it the most?
If 15 different people were to respond to a question about the most painful place to get a tattoo, there would probably be 15 responses. Science and anatomy only go so far. Only the pain threshold for each injection can determine the actual sensation.
Tattoos are among the most common body modifications. The ink trend is expanding quickly and does not necessarily have to be overdone. Wearing a word on your wrist or finger can suffice if it satisfies you.
Here is a list of painful and non-painful tattoo locations you can choose from:
Ankles and Shins: Pain Level: 10
As a result of their thin skin and proximity to the surface, ankles and shins are extremely sensitive to tattooing. Participants in the survey reported getting tattoos on the ankles and shins as the most painful part.
Calves: Pain Level: 10
According to our survey, one of the most painful areas to get tattooed is the calves. Considering calves are often rated as one of the less painful places to get a tattoo, this indicates that tattoo pain is highly subjective. Since the back of the calf has many nerve endings, respondents note that it is more painful. The back of the calf is much more painful than the side.
Chest: Pain Level: 10
Tattoos on the chest can be extremely painful for many people. Tattoo placement will vary from person to person and from tattoo to tattoo. Among the most vulnerable areas are around the collarbones. In addition, breast tattoos may feel less painful because there is more tissue between the dermis and the chest plate.
Hands and Feet: Pain Level: 10
The tattoo pain chart demonstrates how sensitive the hands and feet are due to the presence of fine bones near the skin. Plus, they have a lot of nerves!
Elbow: Pain Level: 10
Additionally, the elbow has the bone directly under the skin, which makes it particularly sensitive to pain. Nerve endings and thin skin make the inner part of the elbow extremely sensitive.
Ribcage: Pain Level: 10
In the rib cage, tattooing is more painful since nerves and bones are close together, and the bones are under the surface. As well, even after tattooing, breathing increases the feeling of pain!
Knees: Pain Level: 8
Many respondents found that getting a tattoo on the front of the knee was tolerable due to its thicker skin. Its back, however, is very sensitive due to its numerous nerve endings.
Tattoo pain scale chart
Due to their high nerve endings, certain other areas, such as the armpits and groins, are more sensitive to tattooing. There were no tattoos in these spots among respondents to the survey, and tattoos in these areas are rare. As you might imagine, tattoos in such areas can be rather sensitive, even if they did not appear in our tattoo pain chart’s top results.
The Least Painful Place to Get a Tattoo
These are the seven places on the body where getting a tattoo is the least painful. Unlike bonier areas like the ankles and feet, these body parts have much more padding.
Many factors, such as age and skill level, affect pain. We surveyed tattoo artists and enthusiasts to determine tattoo pain levels and compiled the results here.
Upper Outer Thigh: Pain Level: 2
The least painful place to get a tattoo is on the top of the outer thigh because it is fat-padded.
Upper and Lower Back: Pain Level: 4
Because of fewer nerve endings and fairly thick skin, the back is less sensitive to pain than the spinal area.
Sternum: Pain Level: 8
Respondents in our survey had the least painful experience of having a tattoo on the sternum. Nevertheless, some find the sternum to be a sensitive area.
Shoulder: Pain Level: 5
Shoulders have more cushioning and fewer nerve ends, allowing them to handle pain less severely during tattooing.
Stomach: Pain Level: 6
Many other body parts have much less padding than the stomach does. In addition, the stomach has no bones, so getting a tattoo there is less painful. People with tighter stomach skin are less sensitive to tattoos in this area.
Outer Bicep: Pain Level: 6.5
With its cushioning, the outer bicep is not as sensitive as other parts of the arm, like the elbow.
Which spots are the least painful?
In regards to painless tattoos, your buttocks are the perfect place. People don’t want tattoos here, so we’ll move on to places where you might want to get one. Those with lower pain tolerance can opt for the thighs, forearms, and calves.
These regions have many cushions and very few or almost no nerve endings. The burning and stinging sensation is quite intense in these areas. Many people will get inked to display their bonier sides. No one likes it when their skin burns, especially if they cannot show it off.
Sensitive nerves run through the body
You can thoroughly research how well these nerves can receive pain and where they are located. Here are the nerves’ names.
- The small occipital nerve
- Superficial cervical
- Middle trunk
- Anterior cutaneous
- Deep Branch
- Medial Cord
- Inferior trunk
- Lateral Femoral cutaneous
- Lateral cord
- Posterior cord
- Medial Brachial cutaneous
- Common Peroneal
- Superficial Peroneal
- Deep peroneal
- Medial Antebrachial Cutaneous
- Superior Trunk
- Great Auricular
Tolerance chart: Tattoo pain
Painful tattoo areas chart
Tips to minimize tattoo pain
- Consider taking breaks when the pain is too much for you.
- Make sure the tattoo artist you choose is very experienced. You should check their equipment and certifications before engaging them. You should ensure your tattoo artist wears clean gloves and uses sterilized equipment.
- When getting your stomach tattooed, you shouldn’t eat anything beforehand.
- You can reduce pain and complications following a tattoo by following aftercare instructions, including washing your tattoo, wearing loose clothing over your tattoo, and applying ointment and moisturizer after your tattoo has been completed.
- Prior to your tattoo, ensure you have slept enough. You can handle the pain better if you sleep enough before your tattoo.
- Don’t drink before you get a tattoo. Bruising and bleeding are caused by alcohol-thinned blood. Pain may result, and the tattoo may even be ruined.
- Be sure to stay hydrated to avoid pain from tattoos.
- For less pain, try applying numbing cream before your tattoo.
- tattoo pain chart male
- tattoo pain chart women
What is the pain of getting a tattoo?
It is more likely that getting inked will irritate pain. When getting a tattoo, several factors come into play, including how you feel and your anxiety. In reality, most people don’t experience as much pain as they think they will.
The sensation of needles jabbing and prodding the tissue through the skin is unpleasant, but you’ll soon recover with some perseverance and proper aftercare. Choosing a professional tattoo artist and doing homework will greatly increase your chances of enjoying the process.
Depending on the tattoo, some may sting, some may itch, and some may even cause hair loss. Individuals deal with pain differently. For instance, a friend may tell you it wasn’t very painful, but someone else may have a different experience.
You may also experience discomfort depending on the tattoo artist’s technique. Some artists apply the needles lightly, while others apply heavy pressure.
How to prepare for getting tattooed
Before you enter a tattoo parlor, you should know and do a few things. Consuming a nutritious meal is part of this process. Try eating two hours before your procedure so you’ll have enough time to recover. A physician’s approval is crucial if you suffer from a medical condition.
Tell your tattoo artist your pain tolerance to determine the tattoo’s placement.
How does the process feel?
The experience of getting inked on different body parts is completely different. You can get a tattoo on some parts much easier and less painfully than others. In addition, the context of a particular placement will also affect the experience. Surfaces with sufficient skin and muscle cushioning are called cushions.
The rib cage and the areas around it are not as cushioned as the thighs or the areas around the hips. A lot of pain can also occur around the major nerves.
When the needle is dragged across your skin in a thicker area like the thigh, it will feel like it is being dragged. Unlike getting an injection, tattoo needles do not go deep into the skin, so these sensations are superficial. This is similar to the feeling of being scratched by a claw or stung by a bee. A fine needle will prod your skin with its sharpness.
During the process of making a design, the metal needle will also cause a burning sensation. Friction causes heat to be emitted, resulting in a burning sensation. The level of detail in the tattoo also depends on how elaborate it is.
It may be more painful for bonier areas. Similar to the feeling of a dull metal object cutting into your skin. The discomfort and pain will increase as you approach the major nerves.