Updated: Apr 10
By Award Winning
Canadian Tattoo Artist
Does it Hurt??
“So what does a tattoo feel like??... When asked this question, I always reply
“I feel that a tattoo only feels like one thing
... A TATTOO.....”
Everyone describes, a tattoo differently.
Because a tattoo only really only feels like one thing... a tattoo ;)
It can feel like metal scraping your skin, small cuts or a bee sting.
But thankfully, as soon as the needle isn't touching your skin anymore, the pain stops.
Pain is Relative.
Some people feel that it is awful , while others people feel it is merely annoying
In my opinion, your pain tolerance has a lot to do with how much pain you ave experienced over your lifetime.
Have you ever broken any major bones or had any major surgeries?
Have you given birth to a child or multiple children?
If so, Im happy to announce, you should be just fine! :)
Going through these kinds of painful events, heightens your pain tolerance :)
What makes some tattoos hurt more than others?
Your Pain Threshold
Your "Pain Threshold" is the point at which a stimulus is perceived as pain.
A person who has a low pain threshold is considered to be "hyper-reactive".
A person who can tolerate pain well is referred to as having "a high pain threshold".
So pain has a lot to do about personal factors. Which explains why two different people can get tattoos in the same place on their body and feel totally different levels of pain.
Which leads us to the next factor...
The placement of the tattoo on your body , will be a massive deciding factor, of how much your tattoo will hurt.
Tattoo pain is all about nerves. Contrary to Popular Belief, it is not about what area of the body is “boney“ or what area has “more or less fat” , it is Simply all about your body’s nerves. And some areas of the body, have more of those sensitive nerves, than others .
Your arms and legs are decent places to get tattoos. This includes your thigh, calf, upper arm, lower arm and shoulder blades.
If you are concerned about pain during your tattoo, or are in the "hyper-reactive" pain threshold category , some spots to stay away from would be your hands and feet, your wrists, the ditch of the arm, your elbows, your armpits and your throat.
I envision “painful tattoo areas”, as being places on your body which “Bend”.
For example your groin, behind your knees, your armpits etc.
In addition to these sensitive Nerves, these places usually don’t take ink as well. Meaning, that not all places on the body are "good places for Tattoos" or "Suit Tattoos well".
Some places on the body take far longer to tattoo because of the "stretchiness" of the skin and the overall "roughness" of the skin etc.
Places that don’t take ink as well and that will take longer to tattoo, include your feet and hands, fingers, toes, your knees, the sides your body, and your throat. Tattoo Artists find that it takes a lot more effort in stretching the skin in these areas and takes more time to put in ink properly into the skin . Placing ink "properly" into the skin, refers to "a touchup-free" satisfactory level of ink coverage.
Don’t let this discourage you. A skilled artist will know how to properly put ink into these areas and will do it gently so you are in the least amount of pain as possible.
(I imagine that you would look very silly , if you only tattooed , the places on your body that took ink easily ...and none of the spots that hurt ;-) lol!)
Bottomline, if you stick to places on your body that take ink well, and places that have the least of these sensitive nerves , then you are already halfway there , to achieving a far less painful tattoo :)
The following points outline steps which you can take to help guarantee that your tattoo hurts less.!:)
If you’re sitting down for the long-haul it’s a good idea to eat a large meal beforehand… You need your energy :D
Bring fluids with you , like water or juice, to drink while you’re getting tattooed, as well as some snacks… No nuts please ;-)…
Storing the energy that your body will need to accept your new ink
Nobody likes being “Hangry”!
Get Chewing! :D
....Chewing gum is a great way to keep your mind off of the totally annoying and super, superficial pain, of the tattoo needle . Plus , you are in REAL CLOSE proximity with your tattoo artist (sometimes your faces are merely inches from each other) 🧐and you will definitely want to have fresh, clean breath! 😆💯
Find the right Tattoo Artist
If your trying to get a “painless tattoo“ it is Paramount that you do a little research, and choose an artist that is known to have “a light hand” ☺️💥
“Aweeee! 😌... Sending a big thank you to Daniel V! ❤️“
Make sure ask around town. And find an artist who genuinely cares about the comfort of their clients.
A good tattoo artist is respectful to their tattoo client‘s well-being. The more comfortable that you are, the more still you are. The more still you are, the better that the tattoo artist can tattoo your lines straight, even and at the proper depth! :) And the better your artist can do that = the better your tattoo will heal and look ! 🤩💥💯
Other vital steps for a less painful tattoo include :
Getting a Good Sleep.
Wearing Comfy clothes
Make sure to wear loose and comfy clothing in dark colours as tattoo ink tends to “splatter”. Us tattoo artists would hate to ruin your favourite tee. Please remember that we are placing all of our focus on your skin under our tattoo needle, and absolutely none on your clothing. Darker colours are best.
Dress for tattoo success!
Make sure the body part that you are tattooing is easily accessible to the tattoo artist.
For Example....Wear shorts if you are getting your lower leg tattooed instead of tight jeans.
Some of you may not like the next point but I’m going to say it...
I’m sorry to say, but most professional artists recommend ,
not smoking weed
before or during your tattoo .
In my experience,
Ive seen quite a few clients smoke weed and then try to sit for their tattoo.
But unfortunately after smoking weed,
Most of them started fidgeting and repeatedly moving around Over and over, 😒
causing a huge distraction to me 🙄
and causing our tattoo to take
an incredible amount of time longer. 🤨
Even worse, most clients who smoked weed during their tattoo, cut their tattoo sessions much shorter than they usually sat in their tattoo sittings. 😓
Even for the biggest “chronics”,
I just don’t recommend it. 🖐🏻😒
It’s just not worth missing out on your tattoo session for a few puffs. 💨🙀
Instead, Sit back, Relax, and smoke some when u return home 🙌🏼💥💯😎
Don’t be in a rush.
When u are uptight, your muscles are tense . Therefore you’re tattoo will only hurt more. Your tattoo artist makes time for you, so make time for your tattoo artist. Don’t make any plans the afternoon or evening of your tattoo.
Make this tattoo time , a special time, just for you :)
And you’re phone or iPod .
put on a chill mix to put yourself at ease . :)
And last, perhaps pack up your fave blanket, travel pillow or even mittens! 🧤Lol!
Everyone who has ever gotten a sleeve knows that your hand (on the arm that you’re getting your sleeve tattooed on) completely turns to ice as your getting tattooed! ❄️ 🥶
Therefore, the need for mittens! 😂🙌🏼💯
and yes, I Once had a very smart client ,
show up with
a blanket and one mitten ;-) lol! 🙌🏼💯💥
What a Very very smart girl!! 🤩
The next time u head to get inked, pack a little comfort bag for yourself ! 😁
If you’ve got a simple design and you want it stuck on you and finished in an hour then that’s fine :-) but If you have booked a custom design, with a professional artist , most likely you will be in the tattoo studio much longer than just your tattoo time.
It’s not like the tattoo shows on TV… The people that walk into those TV shows have already outlined to their artist months in advance ,exactly what they are wanting to get tattooed and their tattoo artist has spent hours drawing there drawing previously… Even if your drawing is pre-drawn perfectly for you, your professional tattoo will take more time than just straight ink-into-skin time. Your professional tattoo artist will have you oversee their set up, add any extra details you may want under your direction, size your tattoo design, stencil your Tattoos design and add any free handing it may need so it fits your body perfectly etc. )
Be mindful of this extra time that it will take and don’t make plans directly after.
Perfect custom tattoos take time to draw and place and stencil . If your artist spends extra time with you, designing and making sure that every detail is perfect for your tattoo, thats a GOOD thing! :) After all , this is on you for life ! ;)
Keep in mind these helpful tips and use proper preparation, to ensure your Next tattoo, will hurt less! 😉💥💯
Thanx for Reading! ❤️💯
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Much Love Everyone!
Written by Award winning
Canadian Tattoo Artist
Owner & Tattoo Artist
Kelowna and Vancouver
Award winning Canadian tattoo artist