If you’re reading this blog, then you’re probably interested in tattoos and know how amazing they can look. Astoundingly talented artists put countless hours into training and practice to provide you with spectacular tattoos, and while tattoos are awesome, it’s undeniable that getting a tattoo can hurt. Tattoo pain is a real thing, and if you have a skilled artist, tattoos are definitely worth it. However, there are things you can keep in mind to minimize and deal with that tattoo pain.
The most important consideration when it comes to tattoo pain is the location of the tattoo. A seasoned, expert artist may cause only the slightest irritation on a place like your outer thigh, but there’s not an artist alive who could make a tattoo on the back of the knee painless. By choosing an area of the body that isn’t very bony and has even a little bit of fat, you can substantially minimize the pain. On the other hand, a bony part of your body with thin skin and no fat will likely hurt much worse. Everyone is different, and there’s no guaranteed way to experience very little tattoo pain, but the following locations tend to cause the least pain:
On the flip side, these locations tend to experience a lot of tattoo pain and probably aren’t recommended for your first tattoo:
The type and style of tattoo you get also plays a role in how much tattoo pain you’ll feel. If your tattoo design features lots of shading and coloring, you might feel a lot more of a scratching pain sensation. On the other hand, dot work or watercolor tattoos tend to require a much softer touch and the level of tattoo pain can be substantially less. Make sure you discuss the style of your tattoo with your tattoo artist and ask about how painful it might be if you’re concerned.
The next big factor that will determine tattoo pain is the skill and training of your tattoo artist. A tattoo artist who works out of their house and has received little or no formal tattoo training is not only going to cause a lot more tattoo pain, but might use tattoo equipment that isn’t acceptable for human use. Only get tattoos from state-licensed artists at tattoo studios that are clean and well-maintained. A tattoo artist should be able to walk you through their safety and sanitary procedures and make you feel comfortable at all times. If you’re looking for clean, world-class tattoo studios, look no further than our 7 locations around the US!
On top of picking a good location on your body for your tattoo and going to a professional, well-trained artist, there are other tips you can follow to feel less tattoo pain. The first is to simply be honest and discuss your concerns with your tattoo artist. If you have a fear of needles or can’t handle seeing blood, it’s better to let your tattoo artist know so they can plan accordingly.
Your health is also a big factor when it comes to managing tattoo pain. Eating a full meal beforehand and being well hydrated will help considerably, especially if your tattoo session is going to run longer than an hour. It’s also better to get a full night’s sleep the night before and to head to the tattoo studio when you’re in a good mental place. On top of it being inappropriate, it’s a very bad idea to get tattooed while drunk. While it’s often harder to sit still while drunk, there’s evidence that your pain receptors may be particularly susceptible to tattoo pain as well!
While some tattoo artists will be delighted to chat with you during your tattoo, you can also load up a podcast ahead of time or watch something on your phone. There’s no shame in distracting yourself from tattoo pain!
Tattoo pain is an undeniable part of getting a tattoo, but with these tips and considerations, you can minimize that pain and make sure that you’re getting a high-quality tattoo that will last. If the idea of giving a tattoo is just as exciting as getting one, you should check out our tattoo apprenticeships! We offer the kind of training necessary to become a skilled, caring, and safe tattoo artist, capable of ensuring that clients experience the least pain possible.