Does Getting a Tattoo Hurt?

Updated on March 19, 2020
zspuckl lm profile image

I like to share my experience in getting inked to help others know about the process.

Is getting a tattoo a painful experience?
Is getting a tattoo a painful experience? | Source

The Truth Behind Tattoo Pain

After scouring the internet trying to find an answer to this question when I got my first tattoo, I realized that there really are not a lot of sites out there that bring all the information together. Some sites offer one extreme or another, but almost none fully answer the question of whether of not getting a tattoo will hurt.

Short Answer: Yes and No

Okay, so you have probably been trying to find out whether getting a tattoo will hurt. The reason that you are coming across so many wishy washy answers in that everyone has a different level of pain tolerance. That being said, you should keep the following in mind.

How Many People Do You Know Who Wouldn't Get Another One?

Personally, I have never talked to anyone with ink who said that they wouldn't get another tattoo. At least, they weren't being held back by how badly the first one hurt. Many people actually say that tattoos are addictive (personally, I agree). If they were too painful to endure, why would people keep coming back for more? It's a simple question you should think about.

The Psychological Pain Is Worse!

Okay, I don't mean that you are going to have more trouble with the tattoo mentally than physically. What I mean is that you are going to psych yourself out over the pain of a tattoo, convincing yourself that it is going to hurt more than it will! When I had my first tattoo, I was freaking out about the pain for a good month before I went and got it done. The moment the needle touched my skin, I felt dumb—it wasn't nearly as bad as I had thought it would be.

Be Realistic

Getting a tattoo isn't like being tickled with a feather. There is going to be some discomfort. But the fact is that if you really want a tattoo, you will be able to handle it. If you still think that's too much, you may want to look at a numbing cream.

Know Yourself

While there are not many things you will do in life that you can compare to getting a tattoo, if you know that you have incredibly low pain tolerance, then you may want to think about topical numbing creams and the placement of your tattoo. Check out the pain chart on this page to see if you are setting yourself up for something a little more intense that you are ready for.

If You Want It, Get It!

If you really want a tattoo, stop worrying about the pain and do it. There are options for pain management with or without the topical creams, and if you really want the end result, you are going to go for it. There is more pain in worrying about how much pain there will be than there is in getting the tattoo, and I speak from experience!

Tattoo Pain Chart

Tattoo Pain Chart
Tattoo Pain Chart


Some tattoos do hurt more than others, and their placement on your body is one big factor. Check out this chart to get an idea of what type of pain you might be looking at based on where you decide to get yours done.

How Bad Did Your Tattoo Hurt?

Was it really as bad as some people think, or was it fine? Please vote and leave a comment about it!

On a Scale of 1-10

See results

Pain Is Subjective

Remember that pain is subjective. What is a four on a scale of one to ten for you may be a seven or eight for someone else, but this poll gives you an idea of what people think about the pain level of getting a tattoo. Hopefully it gives you some comfort!

Managing Tattoo Pain

If the pain seems unbearable, there are some things that you can do to make sure it a lot easier to manage!

Pain Reduction Methods: The Good and the Bad

Natural Pain Relief

After you make it through the first few minutes of the tattoo, you will notice a decrease in the level of pain that you are experiencing. When the body is experiencing an intense stimulus that causes pain, it starts to release endorphins, which are a natural pain reliever. Some people even report that the area they are getting the tattoo on going so numb they can't feel it.


Many people have heard that taking painkillers before you get a tattoo is one way to help reduce the pain. While they may help decrease the pain, if they thin the blood like aspirin or ibuprofen can, then they are more harm then help. Prescription painkillers may help, but you generally can't just get a prescription for getting a tattoo.

Dr. Numb

Another thing that you may have stumbled upon are creams you can apply to the skin to help reduce the pain of getting a tattoo. The most popular one around is Dr. Numb, and it is gaining popularity on various sites including YouTube, where you'll find videos of people getting tattoos in places that make me wanna cry without expressing any pain. Some people have the notion that you have to earn your tattoo and that is what the pain is for, but that is subjective, and many others want the art not the experience. For the latter, Dr. Numb or another product may be able to help you get the tattoo of your dreams without the pain you want to avoid.

The videos that are located below are just a few of the very common stories that you can find from people who have used Dr. Numb!

Dr. Numb Reviews

Check out these testimonials of people saying that Dr. Numb Works for them!

Where to Get Dr. Numb

If you are considering using Dr. Numb, it is readily available for you to try out on Amazon. Some say that the cost may be high, but the product works and it is not that expensive when compared to the cost of a tattoo!

Do you feel better about getting a tattoo?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    Share Your Tattoo Expirience

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      • profile image


        11 months ago

        I’m more motivated now thanks.

      • zspuckl lm profile imageAUTHOR

        zspuckl lm 

        7 years ago

        @SusanDeppner: Thanks Susan! You have to want it to get it, but I love mine and wouldn't trade em for the world! Thanks for the Blessing also =)

      • SusanDeppner profile image

        Susan Deppner 

        7 years ago from Arkansas USA

        I like that tattoo pain chart. I won't be getting one, but this is still a really informative and interesting lens!

      • zspuckl lm profile imageAUTHOR

        zspuckl lm 

        7 years ago

        @avigarret: Glad I could help, pain shouldn't stop you from getting a great piece of art!

      • avigarret profile image


        7 years ago

        Never heard of Dr Numb, I feel a little more motivated to get a tattoo now, thanks for the great lens.


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