One of my favorite questions from folks who see my tattoos and haven't gotten any themselves is; "Doesn't it hurt to get tattooed?"
YES! It hurts a lot actually, but it's not the sort of unbelievable pain that cannot be pushed through. I'd say it's worse than get torn up by a cat but not as bad as an infected tooth. That's just my frame of reference though, as I'm sure there are many others out there. Now, that being said, just because the pain is bearable, doesn't mean there aren't ways to lessen the amount of pain you might experience.
No, you're never going to get out of all of the pain, unless you happen to have already gone through some misfortune that left you numb in a really large area, and since most of us have not had that happen, there's going to be some amount of pain with your tattoo. Now, there are several factors that are involved with lessening the pain of your tattoo, but the best and most traditional method that we're going to focus on, is where on your body you decide to get your tattoo.
More Fat & Muscle = Less Pain
When it comes to getting tattooed, your best friend is areas on your body that have more fat and more muscle. The less you have of either means the closer to the bones and nerves that those needles will be getting. Knowing that, you can plan out your next tattoo to be in an area that has more cushion to it, which can be especially helpful if this is going to be your first tattoo. It's way better to get your tattoo virginity taken from a place on your body that doesn't hurt as bad as other places, so that when you do decide on a killer design in a place that can be more painful, you're already prepared for what it'll be like.
Upper Arm Tattoo
Aside from being super easy to show off, upper arm tattoos are also majorly popular because they are an area of the body that tends to have more muscle and fat, allowing first-timers to get good coverage without as much pain as they would from say, a back tattoo.
This is an absolutely fabulous location if you're looking to minimize the pain of your tattoo, even if this isn't your first time around the block. The reason it's so fabulous, isn't because of the lowered pain level though, it's because of the fact that your upper arm is a decent sized canvas and can allow your tattooist to really bring out their inner artist and make that tattoo stand out among the crowd of tattoos in the world.
Thigh tattoos don't have the same fantastic quality of being able to show them off in any weather, but they do highlight another area of the body that tends to have more fat and muscle available to cushion those needles away from the bones and nerves below.
With a thigh tattoo, you'll actually get three times as much canvas as you would from just about any other less painful location, which means you can really go big if you want to.
Forearm tattoos are getting closer to the nerves and bones that our previous two options, but the skin around your forearms tends to be a bit thicker and tougher than other areas, which can give you a bit more cushion as well. This is ideal for anyone looking to lessen the pain of their next tattoo, but to still be able to show off that ink whenever they want.
Just as with a forearm tattoo, when you choose a calf tattoo, you're definitely going to be closer to the bones than meatier areas. That being said, you'll actually get more cushion and more coverage with a calf tattoo than you would with a forearm tattoo. Just make sure that you choose an artist with proper tattoo furniture, as it will hurt more if you have to twist your back and legs in crazy positions in order to get that tattoo, which will totally defeat the purpose of choosing this area because of it's less painful predilection.
There are some other options that I want to briefly highlight in this hub. They are not the most popular of options, for their own reasons, but they are still options nonetheless, and you might like them.
Fingernail tattoos, unlike fingernail bed tattoos, are considered to be the only truly pain-free tattoos. The only complication with this is that they will eventually fade into oblivion, usually within a year.
There are not many folks out there who really want to get their teeth tattooed, but should you decide to do so, you're looking at a pretty pain-free option as long as your teeth are in good health.
Getting the earlobe tattooed is no worse than getting it pierced, and probably hurts less since you're not completely puncturing. The only real downsides to this is that it will be weird having a tattoo machine so close to your head and earlobe tattoos tend to wear out sooner than other less exposed areas of skin.
© 2015 PermissionGiver
Lindsay Langstaff on August 07, 2017:
I will keep these in mind when deciding where to place my next tattoo! I actually got my first one on my shoulder, which wasn't too bad. I would say the pain isn't what makes it difficult, but rather the nausea and feeling light-headed for me. I've definitely been looking into getting a thigh tattoo though.