Tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people opting to get inked. But what does tattoo feel like? Is it painful? What can you expect during the tattooing process? Here’s everything you need to know about getting a tattoo, from the pain factor to the aftercare. 

Where Is The Least Painful Place To Get A Tattoo?

Where Is The Least Painful Place To Get A Tattoo

According to Roman, the size of your tattoo and its location on your body can influence how painful the tattoo procedure is. Tiny or thin line tattoos on fleshier portions of your body will often hurt the least. According to Roman, tattoos on your wrist or forearm are other ideal places to start, but a pinch test (yes, really pinching yourself with your nails) is a good sign of which sections of your own body may be more sensitive than others.

Although everyone’s pain tolerance varies, you should anticipate the tattoo discomfort to be greater on your ribs, hips, feet, ankles, neck, back of your knees, or insides of your elbows. Do tattoo artists care if you’re fat? Any area of your body that is bony lacks fat and has a high density of nerve endings will be painful to tattoo.

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So, if you’re considering getting a tattoo in one or more of those places, prepare yourself. Or take a Tylenol (not ibuprofen, aspirin, or even a quick shot of tequila, since they all thin your blood and can make the process dangerous).

Larger, more colorful tattoos or tattoos with sophisticated patterns with lots of shading and detail work tend to be more painful since they take much longer to complete.

What Does Tattoo Feel Like?

Tattoo Feel Like

First and foremost, what does it feel like to have a tattoo? Tattoo artist JoJo Roman describes the experience of getting a tattoo as a continual cat scratch (all my cat people out there know what she means). Others claim to get a tattoo feels like someone is constantly scraping a hot needle across your skin, which is partly true.

Your adrenaline will kick in and help control some of the pain after around 15 minutes into your tattoo appointment (FYI, tattoo sessions may be as brief as 30 minutes or done over many days), but if you’re having a bigger piece done, Roman says the agony can come in waves.

What It Feels Like To Get A Tattoo On Various Parts Of The Body

What It Feels Like To Get A Tattoo On Various Parts Of The Body

If you have many tattoos on various parts of your body, you probably already know that the location of your tattoo has a lot to do with does getting a tattoo on your arm hurt?

How bad does an ankle tattoo hurt? Places near the bone, such as the ankles or ribs, will pain more than fleshier areas.

Some people believe that getting a tattoo near the armpits or forehead is the most painful.

Ankles, shins, and rib cage

Ankles, shins, and rib cage

Thinner layers of skin cover bone in the ankles, shins, and rib cage. Because there isn’t much tissue to cushion the needle, these places are notorious for causing significant agony when tattooed.


A hip tattoo may be quite painful, depending on how much skin covers your hip bones.

Hands, fingers, feet, and toes

Many individuals appreciate the aesthetic of tattoos on their hands or feet, but since the skin is thinner and there are so many nerve endings in these areas, tattoos may be rather painful.

During the operation, some patients report feeling spasms in their hands, which may be painful.

Outer shoulders, biceps, and outer thighs

Outer shoulders, biceps, and outer thighs

The shoulders, bicep tattoo pain, and thighs are three regions on the tattoo pain scale that score quite low. There is greater room between the needle and the bone and fewer nerve endings.

Upper and lower back

The back seems uncomfortable to tattoo, but the skin is rather thick and contains few nerve endings. The back discomfort is predicted to be mild to severe.

Forearms and calves

The tattoo on inner forearm pain and calves contains more fat and fewer nerve endings than the rest of the body. When tattooing one of these body regions, you should anticipate mild to moderate discomfort.

What Do I Need To Know Before Getting A Tattoo?

What Do I Need To Know Before Getting A Tattoo

Having a concept of what you want (may I propose a lovely moon tattoo?) Yes, knowing where you want it put is vital, but picking your tattoo artist is just as important in having a tattoo you’ll be delighted with.

Check that the building is clean, that the artwork on the walls is decent, and that you get a positive feeling from the employees before scheduling a session with the artist to discuss the price and any queries you may have. Also, if you have dark skin and want a tattoo, be sure your tattoo artist has expertise in tattooing individuals with your skin tone.

You may (and should!) also request to check the artist’s state tattoo license to ensure they have met all relevant standards (such as a blood-borne pathogens safety course). Trust is essential). Run if the artists aren’t wearing gloves and using single-use needles. Fast.

Other Factors That Impact Pain Level

Other Factors That Impact Pain Level

Other elements that influence the degree of discomfort you may feel while getting a tattoo, according to our experts, include:

Pain tolerance/ skin sensitivity

The tattoo’s complexity (Multiple colors, heavy shading, and intricate details require a lot more time and therefore can be more painful.)

What Do Tattoos Feel Like While Healing?

What Do Tattoos Feel Like While Healing

Tattoo healing differs from one individual to the next. “You may feel a little pulsating or dull discomfort for a short time after the treatment is completed,” Forte explains, “but that goes away fast.” According to Mariah, little tattoos usually don’t feel like much as they heal. However, huge and detailed designs may cause scabbing or skin stiffness.

Some individuals may have discomfort around the tattooed region, while others may experience itching—often due to excessive ink or scabbing around the tattoo, according to Nazarian. In Velvet’s perspective, a healing tattoo is excessively dry and “feels like an uncomfortable sunburn.”

“When a tattoo is completely healed, it feels nestled into your skin—you can run your hands over it, and it feels like the rest of your skin,” Mariah adds.

“Ask your tattoo artist for product ideas for tattoo maintenance,” Dillon suggests. “A skilled artist will guide you through the whole process, making you feel at ease with every stage and question you have.”

Hydrate your new tattoo with a moisturizing cream to keep it looking excellent while it heals.

Nazarian suggests keeping tattooed areas dry or scabbing moisturized with Aquaphor, which “helps prevent further loss of skin moisture and avoid[s] infection,” she says.

Velvet suggests Mad Rabbit Tattoo Balm for tattoo maintenance, claiming that it maintains skin “healthy and unagitated.”

Related post:

How Long Does It Take For A Tattoo To Heal 2022: What To Know

When to See a Doctor

If you have any of the following symptoms, it might be an indication that your tattoo is infected or that you are allergic to the ink:

  • Increasing soreness or agony
  • Bumpy terrain
  • Itching that persists
  • The skin is oozing or draining.
  • Fever
  • Rash near the tattoo

Seek medical care as quickly as possible if you have one or more of these reactions.


How painful is a tattoo?

How painful are tattoos? No one-size-fits-all answer to how much pain you may experience after being tattooed. Caranfa compares the sensation to a cat scratch or a sunburn if you’re wondering what kind of a pain to expect.

Does tattoo pain feel good?

Endorphins are released by the body when you receive a tattoo. Endorphins are naturally occurring molecules that your body produces to alleviate stress and pain. When released, they provide a euphoric experience comparable to that of the opioid medication class.

Is a tattoo more painful than an injection?

How does tattoo pain feel? Even though needles are used to create tattoos, it does not feel like you are being stabbed. It’s also nothing like receiving a shot. Because the artist is sketching on your flesh, it feels similar — but more burnt.


There’s no one answer to this question since everyone experiences pain differently. For some people, getting a tattoo can feel like a minor annoyance or a sharp prick, while others compare it to being burned by a hot poker. It also depends on where on the body you’re getting the tattoo and how big it is. Generally, though, most people would say getting a tattoo feels unpleasant. Thanks for reading!