Tattoo Pain

Girl afraid of coming Tattoo Pain"But lady...I haven't started yet!"

For those who have never had the "pleasure" of experiencing Tattoo Pain, the prospect can seem a little daunting...and in some cases it can (and is) a show-stopper. Who wants to voluntarily pay someone to do something painful to them? 

Pretty much anyone you talk to who has had it done will tell you that it is well worth it, in the end. The way I put it is this: Like skydiving, getting a root canal or having sex for the very first time, it is never really what you expect...and you will survive just fine and dandy!

"Is this really going to hurt?"

Lady feeling Tattoo Pain


Okay...a little more on that. There’s really no way around some pain and/or discomfort when getting your ink done. It is, after all, a process that involves the continuous puncturing of your skin by a machine that delivers its needles many thousands of times over (10-15 punctures per second) to a relatively small area on your body.


The pain-levels cover a very wide range...from mild discomfort all the way up to being damn near white-knuckle excruciating

You've probably heard all kinds of horror stories about peeps just passing out or crying like a baby, but that is usually the case with those who show up in bad health, hungry, thirsty, hung-over and/or tired – any of which will cause an increase in any natural anxiety that a "newbie" might already be feeling.

So, that "wide range" I mentioned depends on the following:

Pain-Level Factors

The severity of tattoo pain depends on MANY include:

  • Pain tolerance – pain threshold of the individual;
  • Fatigue level – exhaustion vs. being well rested;
  • Visibility to YOU – some peeps say it's EASIER if they can't watch it (i.e. Back?)
  • Mental state – fear and stress vs. calm acceptance;
  • General health – overall good health vs. feeling sick or "under the weather;"
  • Physical condition – well hydrated and fed vs. dehydrated or hungry;
  • Tattoo components – outline, line thickness, color fill, shading, detailing, etc.
  • Tattoo size – larger tattoo covers more areas (some potentially more sensitive);
  • Exposure period – time spent continuously "under the needle;" and
  • Placement – specific body part(s) getting inked.

Placement - All Body Parts are NOT Created Equal

The biggest factor of all in tattoo pain is how the human body transmits physical trauma from each area to the brain. In some areas of the body, the tattoo machine doesn't have far to travel along the surface for the pain levels to spike or fall considerably. Even within a relatively small tattoo, the pain can change drastically from one part to another just a few inches away. 

For more on this, as well as...

  • Top 10 Most Painful Spots for MEN
  • Anatomical Pain Chart – MEN
  • Top 10 Most Painful Spots for WOMEN
  • Anatomical Pain Chart – WOMEN
  • Eight GREAT Spots (LEAST painful) for Tattoos

...go to my Tattoo Pain Scale page.

For a clear outline on the "Dos and Don'ts" for Tattoo Pain, go to my page on Tattoo Pain Relief.

"So, WHAT does it actually FEEL like?"

Tattoo Pain like a Bee Sting?

Here are some examples of what people have said about this…and this is about as close as you can get to a true description:

· Bee Sting ~ Dull, throbbing just under the skin.

· Burning ~ Like a low-heat curling iron pressing against the skin.

· Slapping Sunburn ~ Dull pain like when somebody smacks it.

· Snapping Rubber Band ~ More than a throb, less than a burn.

"Can I drink to kill the tattoo pain?"

Drunk Tattoo Girl

Any tattoo shop worthy of your business, and any tattoo artist worth his/her salt, will put a hold on their services and ask you to come back another time if they think you’ve gotten your drink on before coming in.

No, it's not because of your winning personality on the buzz...there are very practical reasons for this.

Read this section on Prepping the Body to find out why that liquid courage is actually a bad idea...and for other steps in getting some pain relief, check out my Tattoo Pain Relief page.

Bottom Line…

In the scheme of things, it really isn't that bad if you choose the location on your body wisely and/or break it up into a series of shorter sessions. Do you honestly think that tens of millions of people who have gotten multiple tattoos are all masochists? Not very likely…we just go back again and again because we love to get the work done and the pain is not only manageable and temporary, but totally worth it!

Hey Tattoo Fans!

If this feels like your kind of place, why not bookmark my Home Page and come back for a visit again soon?

Also, links to my new or updated pages are always included in the Blog Page... come on over to Getting a Tattoo - So What's New? 

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