Are Tattoos Painful? Consider These Things (Before Getting One)

Tattoos in general are such a great look, giving you that individuality that you are seeking through design.

The design though is not the hard part of the overall process.

Here Is Why Tattoos Are Painful For Most People:

If you are one to anticipate and think about the pain a lot there are many factors to consider before you place your next or first booking with your tattoo artist. These are:

Pain threshold: You have a low tolerance to pain. If you do than the feeling of pain will be similar to a bee sting, a knife or a rubber band slapping your skin.

Anticipation of Pain: You worry and are anxious of the pain.

If you are in these catagories you will need to think about a small tattoo session, and a tattoo numbing cream to reduce the pain of tattooing.

Below I have compiled a list of important answers for you to think about, and to ponder over so you then expect how it should feel for you.

What Does Getting A Tattoo Feel Like?

Like most things, all human beings are different and in that sense so is our experiences with pain.

When you get a tattoo below are the 4 types of feelings you may have when you get your first/second/third one:

Scratchy Pen:
This type of pain is a slight discomfort. The feeling is like a pen scratching in small repetitive motions over your skin. Many people experience this as a cat scratch.

Bee Stings-
If you have ever been stung by a bee you would know it has a extreme sharp pain but also includes burning over the skin.

Many people have this same sensation while getting a tattoo compare it to 100 bees stinging and burning your skin at the same time.

Sharp Knife-
The worst type of pain is a large stabbing pain. If you can imagine a sharp knife with quick stabs into your skin.

This type of pain is the worst and is usually felt by people that have high tolerance to pain.

Is when you enjoy the feeling of the tattoo. Many people experience euphoric sensations where your body goes numb, and feels like your weight is being released from your body.

This can be a non pain experience that gives you a high like adrenaline throughout your body. (this is definitely the best type of pain being no pain at all).

Will Getting A Smaller Tattoo Hurt Less Than A Larger One?

If you are considering a small tattoo on your body it is important to consider the time factor involved.

A small tattoo is only going to take around 1 hour (compared to a 8-9 hour for a large tattoo). So 1 hour of pain is better than 8 hours of pain!

A small tattoo may still hurt you, but it really depends on your pain tolerance and sometimes can be a mindset. If you think it is going to be painful, it will be.

Sometimes not focusing on the pain is better and remembering that you only have to sit in that chair for a short period of time. That will make a difference!

How Do You Deal With The Tattoo Pain?

Preparation is key to getting a new tattoo.

Below are some easy steps to follow before making this decision and booking your next session, so that you can make it less painful and more enjoyable.

  1. Research Your Tattoo Artist– All tattoo artists have different techniques to tattooing. If you google and check them out before booking, you would then see previous reviews. This will give you a idea on if other people have had issues with pain or discomfort with that particular artist or tattoo shop.
  2. Drugs or Alcohol-Avoid drinking or taking any medication (24 hours) before a tattoo session. The sensation and pain of the tattoo will be heightened with any drugs or alcohol in your system. So best to be sober! (Also avoid Aspirin too as it is a blood thinner and is dangerous and unsafe to be taken before a session)
  3. Ask for Breaks-Be upfront with your tattoo artist. If the pain is too much or unbearable ask the artist for a break every now and again. I am sure they will understand how you feel.
  4. Think of something different-When you get in the chair for your tattoo session try to put your mind at ease. The best way is not to focus on any pain, think about something pleasing to you e.g something in your life being happy times with family or friends. This will shift the focus away from the pain and make it easier to manage.
  5. Drink Water- Drinking water is a good idea before you have a tattoo. Water hydrates your skin, making your body easier to work with while getting a tattoo. This then will reduce the pain threshold which also helps.
  6. Full Stomach-There are examples of people who have passed out while getting a tattoo. This is usually based on being hungry and the pain together. It is advisable to eat some food beforehand, as then you only have to deal with the pain and not the hunger that can make it worse.
  7. Distractions-If you are into reading or games on your phone, these methods are great at distracting your brain away from the pain. Bring in your phone, or read a magazine or book while the artist is working. Remember it is your mind that tells you that it is hurting, so having a distraction like this will help ease the pain.
  8. Numbing Cream-Applying a numbing cream on the skin area just before you start with your artist (this blocks pain signals to your brain). This will reduce the pain and make the experience more pleasant. Usually, a numbing cream will last for 2-3 hours of tattooing time. Here is a article about numbing cream and tattoos and how tattoo artists don’t like numbing cream.

How Long Will The Tattoo Pain Last For?

The length of time the pain from a tattoo will last will vary from person to person.

Usually this will be around the 2-3 week mark where your tattoo will feel sore and will go through the healing period.

You have to remember that getting a tattoo is considered a open wound, and because of this you need to expect a recovery period which can include some soreness and burning (feels like a sunburn).

We recommend if you want to reduce this time frame, it is advisable to look for a really good aftercare product. One that is going to help heal your tattoo super fast and avoid infection. The faster it heals the less sore it is going to be for you.

What Is The Pain (For A Tattoo) For A Female Or Male Between 1-10 On Different Parts Of The Body?

Depending on where you have decided to get your tattoo. Different parts of the body are more painful than others.

Please note that not all people feel the same pain while getting inked.

Parts of the body that are more bony, are more susceptible to being painful.

Below is a chart that measures the Highest pain being 8-10 , Medium Pain 5-7 Low Pain 2-5. This will give you a outline on what you could expect.

Fingers – 8-10 High Pain

Lips- 8-10 High Pain

Nipples 8-10 High Pain

Head 8-10 High Pain

Breast 8-10 High Pain

Face 8-10 High Pain

Outer Elbows 8-10 High Pain

Spine 8-10 High Pain

Toes 8-10 High Pain

Armpits 8-10 High Pain

Knees 8-10 High Pain

Wrists/hands 8-10 High Pain

Ribs 5-7 Med Pain

Neck 5-7 Med Pain

Ankles 5-7 Med Pain

Tops of Feet 5-7 Med Pain

Back of Knees 6-7 Med Pain

Hips 6-7 Med Pain

Shoulder Blades 6-7 Med Pain

Inner Biceps 2-5 Lower Pain

Inner Elbows 2-5 Lower Pain

Bottom 2-5 Lower Pain

Stomach 2-5 Lower Pain

Thighs 2-5 Lower Pain

Do Tattoos Hurt More Than Piercings?

To compare a Tattoo to a Piercing is really the same as observing a apple to a banana. Both are very different to each other, but both do cause some sort of pain or discomfort.

Tattoos involve a needle breaking into the surface of the skin, whilst a piercing has a needle through the skin.

Both have different types of pain to each other e.g stinging and sharp sensation for a piercing and needling and burning for a tattoo.

The pain involved with Tattooing is consistent for the moment and will take 1 hour to 9 hours long. Whilst a piercing can be over within a minute.

So based on the time frame involved a tattoo would definitely hurt more than piercing. As you have to sit there through it a lot longer.

Please note that a nipple piercing will hurt more than a belly button piercing, and a toe tattoo will hurt more than a stomach tattoo.

Both however will take a period of time to heal up afterwards, and this part can be painful for both piercing and tattoos (having the sorness and pain continuing on weeks after being done).

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