Image: unsplash

Tattoo Pain Levels and How To Minimize Pain Before Getting One

Getting a tattoo is exciting. However, the process can be quite painful depending on the location you want it done. In this article, I will walk you through the pain chart and safety guidelines you should know. Although there is a beautiful side to getting a new tattoo, it is always worth knowing all the risks you are getting yourself into and how to prevent them.

Is it painful to get a tattoo? 

The answer is simple, yes. However, the pain varies for each individual and the place you want to get one. Other things to think about are skin sensitivity and mental health. Is your skin too sensitive? Are you mentally prepared to get a tattoo? Ask yourself these questions before making a decision. 

Sensitive skin and old skin bruise easily and are more prone to bleeding. Another thing to pay attention to is any blood-related problems, such as blood pressure. If you are aware of these health issues, you will more than likely experience more pain. Nevertheless, it is still possible to get a tattoo unless a doctor otherwise advises you. 

Tattoo artists use a tool with needles that pierce your skin super quickly. Therefore, you usually won’t see blood when getting a tattoo. In order for a tattoo to be permanent, the tattoo artist will prick your skin just beyond the dermis. 

Here is how you can rate the pain:

burning. People usually experience this pain after the artist is inking the same place for a while. 

scratching. It literally feels like a cat scratch.

sharp. This pain is usually caused when the artist goes a bit deeper into the skin for the fine details. 

vibrating. People experience this pain when the tattoo location is close to the bone. Usually close to the outer wrist, ribs, ankles, and knees.

Levels of pain 

Here are the most painful places to get a tattoo based on pain level:

10/10 pain level


9/10 pain level 


-rib cage

-ankles, shins, feet, and toes

You should really think about getting a new tattoo in these places, especially if you don’t cope with pain much. 

8/10 pain level

The second most painful places to get a tattoo are:




-head, face, and ears

-hands and fingers

7/10 pain level

-nipples and breasts

-inner thigh

6/10 pain level



-inner bicep

Here are the least painful places to get a tattoo:

4/10 pain level

-upper or outer thigh

-shoulder and outer bicep

-upper and lower back

3/10 pain level


Guidelines to minimize the pain 

You can start by getting good sleep. This way, you can reduce anxiety and increase your chance of feeling more comfortable when getting the tattoo. Don’t drink alcohol. If you feel like loosening up by drinking, don’t. Alcohol thins your blood and increases health problem risks. 

There are plenty of numbing creams on the market that you can buy; however, ask your tattoo artist for advice. If you are about to get your stomach inked, don’t eat beforehand. Another thing you can do is distract your attention from the pain by listening to music or simply chewing on gum, or eating candy. Stay hydrated during the process and if necessary, bring a friend for moral support. 

However, the most important fact is to know what you want. If you are 100% sure about getting a tattoo, your experience will be less painful. Make sure to eat something before going to the tattoo studio so that you have enough energy. Talk to your tattoo artist about the aftercare and set everything straight before getting inked. Sickness increases the chances of infection, so if you catch a cold, delay your appointment.