Tattoo pain is a factor that depends on sex, age, threshold level, and placement when it comes to getting body ink. A tattoo pain chart may be helpful to men and women in determining how much a tattoo will hurt.
While getting a tattoo is a common sight, individuals will experience different degrees of pain depending on their body part, health, and tolerance. The worst areas that hurt the most typically have more nerve endings, less fat, thinner skin, and bony spots.
The most painful tattoo areas include the armpit, rib cage, ankle, finger, spine, shin, groin, kneecap, and elbow. Forearm, thigh, back, and shoulder are areas with little nerving endings, thicker skin, and additional fat for protection.
Most people describe the discomfort of a tattoo as a burning sensation combined with a sharp pricking sensation. With so many painful areas, it can be difficult to pinpoint which tattoos will hurt the most.
Weve compiled this list of the most painful places to get tattooed. From male to female, look through these charts to find the tattoos that will cause the least pain.
Tattoo Pain Chart
A tattoo pain chart can help you identify how much it will hurt to get tattooed on a body part, considering many factors.
This female tattoo pain chart shows that the sternum, stomach, pubic area, elbow, face, underboob, shin, foot, and knee cap will hurt the most. The least painful areas like the back, shoulder, outer thigh, and forearm have thicker skin, more fat, and less nerve endings.
The groin, butt, head, neck, rib cage, foot, shin, elbow, knee cap, and sternum are the most painful areas in a male tattoo pain chart. Getting a shoulder, arm, back, chest, and outer thigh tattoo will most likely hurt the least.
The Most Dangerous Places to Get A Tattoo
The most painful tattoo spots are the most nerve endings, the least fat, the thinnest skin, and several vibrating bony spots. Choosing tattoo spots like the armpit, rib cage, ankle, shin, breast, groin, neck, and spin will hurt the most.
An armpit tattoo will cause severe pain and can take a long time to heal. This nerve is usually responsible for the main arm's nerve that sends the pain to the armpit. These levels can increase when the skin around the area is thin, so you may flinch while your artist is working.
Expert artists caution against getting armpit tattoos unless you're an experienced artist or a first-timer. Avoid moist clothing and detergents if you're unfamiliar with the subject.
The rib cage is the second most painful area to get a tattoo, likely resulting in a session that will last longer than usual. Because the skin around the ribs is extremely thin and directly above several bones, the pain will be sharp and burning as opposed to dull and painful.
Because there are many nerve endings, low fat levels in the area, and prolonged breathing can cause severe pain during the session, rib tattoos are often reserved for people who have a high pain tolerance.
An ankle and shin tattoo is usually painful because there is very little fat surrounding these areas. It's sharp and painful, and getting your leg tattooed in this area will hurt because it's close to bones and doesn't come padded with fat, making the nerve endings more sensitive to strong needle vibrations.
Your ankles and shinbones will be rattled by repeated needle movements, causing your bones to rattle. For large artwork, the pain level will increase, so choose a small and simple design to minimize the discomfort.
The nipples and breasts are very delicate structures that will make getting a tattoo quite painful. Breast and nipple tattoos will irritate your nerve endings and cause soreness.
Breast skin is prone to being loose and stuffed with fat tissue, and women will naturally feel less pain in this area than men, who have pectoral muscles to support their skin. Tattoos closer to the sternum will hurt more as the skin in this area is thinner and close to the bone.
The groin is a particularly painful area to get tattooed due to its abundance of nerve endings and constant friction. This part of the body is also very close to the genitals, which contain several lymph nodes that make this area more susceptible.
Post-ink, your skin will be particularly irritated, so prepare to go commando for a few days and avoid irritating scrubs and lotions until completely healed.
The skin in this area is usually loose, stretched, and unpadded, making the healing process more difficult than in other areas.
The needle will also get very close to the bone, resulting in sharp pain and a strong rattling sensation. If you move your tattoo just below the kneecap, youll also experience extreme pain from the patellar tendon that runs down to the shin.
The neck and the spine are some of the most painful tattoo areas due to their sensitive nature. A spine tattoo will hurt for men and women because the area has many nerve endings and the skin is very thin. Places around the spine and the lower back will hurt less due to the cushioned by fat and muscle, but these entire area is difficult to ink.
Neck tattoos are particularly painful for men because the Adams apple is notoriously tricky to maneuver around. Youll want to keep your design placement to the side or back of the neck for a smoother experience.
Because the skin is thin and the nerve endings are close to the surface, getting a tattoo behind the knee will cause significant pain. At the back of the knee, youll also have to deal with veins and the sensitive sciatic nerve that runs directly down the leg.
Before you place your needle, you're likely to feel every vibration and poke of the needle. Be prepared for the painful rubbing that happens every time you sit down.
The area above the hip can be a painful place because it is close to the bone with little fat to cushion the needle, especially if you are skinny. This area also has several nerve endings and the skin is very thin.
The pain will not be as bad if you get a tattoo on the hip side and closer to the butt. You will also have the padding of your glute and leg muscles to protect you.
Tattoos on the head, face, and ears are all known to be extremely painful for men and women. The skin is extremely thin, meaning you will feel every vibration and poke as your artist works. For a large head tattoo or a design that extends across the face, you may want to complete the work in several sessions to alleviate the discomfort.
Although the face is less painful than the head, getting a tattoo on or near the eyes, cheekbones, and mouth can be exhausting. The ears are somewhat less painful, but the lobes and back of the ear will result in severe pain, allowing less fat cells to soothe the blow. A small behind the ear tattoo can be a good compromise.
The lips are one of the most painful tattoo areas and should be avoided due to their loose skin and many nerve endings. This can result in dryness and cracking. During the treatment, you should remain completely still.
People with thin lips tend to struggle since fat can help to alleviate the suffering. The healing process can also be frustrating and sore. You should be cautious when you eat or drink and regularly use an antiseptic mouthwash to prevent infections.
A hand and finger tattoo can be painful, although it is popular. It is important to avoid touching the hands because this delicate area is packed with various nerve endings that will not appreciate the constant needle stabbing sensation.
Hand spasms are common, but there isn't much fat and muscle in this area, so you have the perfect recipe for a harrowing session.
The feet and toes are extremely sensitive areas, making it a painful tattoo to get. The stinging sensation of the needle makes you feel numb.
The skin here is thin, lacking muscle or fat padding, and is very close to several bones, making it difficult to walk or move your feet.
The sensation of pain that comes with a stomach tattoo will vary depending on your body shape and sex. People who are healthy and have a lot of muscle mass can tolerate the discomfort better. Being too skinny can cause severe pain as well.
The great thing about this placement is that you wont have to deal with any cartilage or bone that will cause a tattoo to be damaged the most due to its proximity to the genitals and the groin, but the part of the stomach near the ribs can also be very sensitive.
Because the skin on the underside of the arm is thin, loose, and full of sensitive nerve endings, an inner bicep tattoo can cause pain, but the area is somewhat more tolerable than other placements due to its natural muscle mass.
This area is also adjacent to the elbow's armpit and crook, which are notoriously painful spots. During the healing process, you may have to deal with pain as your body and clothing rub against your skin. If you have a low pain tolerance or want a large design, the outer bicep is a better option.
The inner thigh will always be an extremely painful area to get tattooed because it is full of nerve endings that run to the top of the leg. The skin on the inner thigh is also extremely thin and soft, meaning that you'll feel every muscle contraction.
If you want to minimize pain, keep your art as far away from the groin area as possible, and keep it small. While your ink is healing, wear clothing that rubs against the area, to avoid friction and fade.
The underboob tattoo can be quite painful to obtain since there is little fat or muscle in this area. The fact that the underboob is right above the ribs and breastbone will also make you uncomfortable. As the needle stabs and rattles near the bone
As your ink begins to heal, the skin around the underboob is relatively thin, and you may experience painful swelling and bruising. If you can tolerate the pain, youll have a sexy look.
Chest tattoos are always painful because the tattoo is right by the sternum, collarbone, and nipples, which are all extremely sensitive areas with nerve endings. Although the upper chest is usually thicker and tattoos should be more tolerable, the proximity to bone and the lack of fat means you'll have virtually no cushioning to work with.
A chest tattoo may forego a biological male's muscle mass for a chest tattoo. Since most designs are statement pieces, youll need to prepare for a long and intense session.
The Least Painful Places To Get A Tattoo
The least painful places to get tattooed are the shoulders, arms, outer bicep, and upper thighs. These areas are less sensitive and have thicker flesh to absorb the needle.
Since the forearm is the least painful place to get a tattoo, it contains extensive muscle and fatty tissue. Forearm tattoos are a popular spot for cool designs and the half sleeve.
The outer forearm will be less painful than the inner arm, because the radial nerve flows through this area, causing problems as you move your pen closer to the wrist and elbow. It also helps that the lower arm allows your artist to complete their work efficiently.
The shoulder has a low to moderate pain level. A shoulder tattoo will not hurt more than other locations because there is thick flesh and muscle to cushion the needle. Ideal for large designs, there are fewer nerve endings to make you wince, and the skin is thick enough to endure a long session.
The front and back of the shoulder may be slightly more painful, but the outer shoulder is a great choice for tattoo novices who haven't yet developed their pain tolerance. This area tends to be less painful for men because they tend to have more muscle mass, but women shouldn't expect much more than moderate soreness from their session.
The bicep is a less painful area where you can get a tattoo because it has less nerve endings and thick muscle tissue. The inner section and underside of the bicep are more painful because the skin is thinner, but the outer bicep is well-cushioned against the tattoo needle's vibrations.
The discomfort in this area tends to be less painful than sharp, and should be understandable for most people. As a result, it is ideal for a stylish sleeve or expansive design.
The calf isn't a painful area to get a tattoo, and you should experience little to moderate-low pain. The calf muscle is thick and surrounded by fat and thick skin, allowing it to act as a strong shield against the needle. Calf tattoos are great for vibrant designs and large artwork.
This area is also far from any bones, reducing the rattling that comes with other placements. Youll also experience more pain as you get closer to the ankle and the back of the knee, which are packed with nerve endings, so keep this in mind before you commit to a design.
To get tattooed, the upper and lower back can be painful areas, but the size of your artwork will determine the severity of your tattoo. Because there are less nerves and a decent amount of muscle mass, you will be protected from the needle.
If your upper back is bony, you may be dealing with rattling and vibrating pain for the first time. For this reason, the lower back is a better choice for your first time because it provides a stronger barrier to the pain.
Because the muscle that supports your nerves and bones, an upper outer thigh tattoo will give you little pain. The skin on your thigh is also extremely thick and protected by a layer of fat that gives you support. A thigh tattoo will not hurt much, making it the ideal location for a cool design.
Tattoo Pain: Factors That Can Be Affected
Tattoo pain will vary depending on your sex, age, body weight, the artist, and adrenaline levels, although there are many factors to consider.
Biomechanical women will generally experience more pain than men when tattooed, although they tend to tolerate it somewhat better when tattooed. Several medical experts believe this may be due to hormones, which are said to aid guys in coping with injuries and extreme suffering more effectively. Placement may also be a factor since biological men will experience more severe pain in areas such as the throat, groin, upper thigh, and hips due to a naturally lower body fat.
Younger people are more able to handle tattoo pain because their skin is more resilient. Our skin thins considerably as we get older, so it offers less cushioning against the needle. Younger skin is also more breathable, meaning it will absorb the ink and will not need as many pokes to achieve a vibrant result.
The amount of pain you experience can also depend on your weight, and those at either end of the scale will feel more pain than those at normal body weight. Overweight individuals may have loose skin that makes their ink hurt more, and the same applies to underweight individuals who have little fat to buffer the needle.
The more tattoos you've had, the less likely you'll suffer severe pain. This is due to the fact that you've established a decent pain tolerance and are used to the sensation of the needle hitting your skin and vibrating near bones. You're also less likely to flinch or squirm if youve had several tattoos, thus reducing the frequency at which your artist has to halt work.
Your emotional state will largely depend on your personal threshold. This is dependent on several factors, but youll be far more attuned to the pain as an experienced ink lover than someone who just bought their first body art.
The amount of pain you will suffer as a result of a tattoo artist's experience, skill, and flair. Some artists are overly adamant while others are gentle with their needles.
Slower artists tend to lessen the pain than faster artists, but they will have to endure it longer. If your artist is new to the game, they may also struggle to get the pressure right initially.
Although inexpensive tattoos may seem like a bargain, you'll want to make sure you get a professional artist who will observe your reactions and modify their approach accordingly.
Endorphins help you to relax while the needle strikes your skin, reducing pain during your tattoo experience. This chemical reaction occurs when your brain senses pain in the skin and takes place in the pituitary gland.
Although endorphins may not be very helpful in relieving pain, the hormone can act as a natural painkiller, working alongside over-the-counter treatments and numbing cream.
What Does Tattoo Pain Feel Like?
While a needle penetrating your skin repeatedly will never feel good, how painful the tattoo process is will depend on you. Some people describe tattoo pain as a sharp burning sensation, while others say it is mildly painful in the finest parts.
Burning pain is one of the most common tattoo sensations that youll experience while getting a tattoo. This burning will make your skin feel like it has had a hot object pressed against it, and is caused by the repeated stabbing motion of the needle. The pain type is more common in areas with loose skin or fatty flesh and may last for a while during a tattoo session.
Dull pain is the easiest to deal with, and it is quite easy to ignore. This usually occurs after the first few drops of the needle, and gradually fades into a background state as adrenaline and hormones begin to manifest.
Although youll still feel a bit of pain during your session, it's fairly straightforward to distract yourself from the soreness by watching TV or talking to a friend. If you're getting a small one, you'll need to prepare for things to heal sooner at the end of your session.
When youre inked, it's very common and it's like an intense and repeated scratch from a cat across your skin. Although it's unpleasant, this type of pain can be tolerated by most people, and you can usually relax.
When your artist is shading or has been working in the same area for a while, you'll notice this pain. When multiple needles are used to boost your ink, as well as when you're starting to stroke your paint, you'll notice this pain.
Sharp stinging pain is thought to feel like bee stings beneath the skin and can be unbearable at times. It is most commonly felt when a tattoo artist is doing detailed work with a single needle or doing an outline for your design. It may also be felt when you are getting tattoos on areas with thin or tight skin, such as the ankle, wrists, or inner biceps.
When you get tattooed in an area with several bones, such as the wrist, ribs, ankle, or shin, the nerves surrounding the bones sense the needle's vibration and rattle against their surroundings. While it isn't severe, it can be strange and uncomfortable for a novice.