Most Painful Places to Get a Tattoo

September 01, 2023

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Are you considering getting a tattoo but worried about the pain? You're in luck! This article will discuss the most painful areas to get a tattoo.

Regarding tattoo placement, several factors contribute to the level of pain experienced. These factors include the location of your body, the amount of fat in the area, the thickness of your skin, and the density of nerve endings. Understanding these factors allows you to select a tattoo placement that aligns with your pain tolerance.

Let's explore the factors influencing tattoo pain and help you decide your placement.

Location of the Tattoo on the Body

The location of your tattoo on your body can greatly impact the pain level you'll feel. When it comes to getting a tattoo, pain is something that most people are concerned about. Luckily, there are ways to minimize the pain during the tattooing process.

One popular option is using numbing cream for tattoos. But does numbing cream work on tattoos?

Numbing cream for tattoos is a topical anesthetic applied to the skin before getting tattooed. It works by numbing the area and reducing the pain sensation. Many people wonder if numbing cream for tattoos works, and the answer is yes, it can effectively minimize the pain. However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of numbing cream can vary from person to person.

So, do tattoo numbing creams work for everyone? The answer is not a straightforward yes or no. While numbing cream can relieve some individuals, others may not experience the same level of pain reduction. Factors such as individual pain tolerance and the thickness of the skin can influence the effectiveness of the numbing cream.

If you are considering using numbing cream for your tattoo, doing a patch test beforehand is recommended to ensure that you are not allergic to the cream. Additionally, it is important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and consult with your tattoo artist to determine the best method for pain management during the tattooing process.

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Amount of Fat in the Area

Having more fat in that area can contribute to increased pain during tattooing. Body fat plays a significant role in pain perception during the tattooing process. Regarding tattoo pain, the amount of fat in the area can noticeably impact your experience. Here's what you need to know:

Firstly, body fat can make the skin less sensitive to pain. The presence of fat acts as a cushion, reducing the sensation of pain. Thicker fat layers can result in a decreased perception of pain during tattooing. If you have more fat in the area where you plan to get a tattoo, you might experience less pain than someone with less body fat.

However, excessive body fat can also lead to increased pain sensitivity. The pressure put on the nerves and blood vessels in the area can heighten pain perception. This means that if you have excess body fat, you may be more prone to feeling more pain during the tattooing process.

Moreover, the distribution of body fat matters. Certain body areas, such as the abdomen or thighs, tend to accumulate more fat. These areas may be more sensitive to pain during tattooing due to the higher fat concentration. So, if you're considering getting a tattoo in one of these areas, be prepared for potentially increased pain.

Understanding the relationship between body fat and pain perception can help you make informed decisions about your tattoo placement. Remember that everyone's pain tolerance is different, and factors like body composition can vary from person to person. It's important to consult with your tattoo artist and discuss any concerns you may have about pain during the tattooing process.

Thickness of the Skin

Skin thickness can impact the level of pain experienced during tattooing. Understanding how skin thickness affects tattoo pain can help you make informed decisions about your tattoo placement and prepare for the level of discomfort you may experience.

Here are three key points to keep in mind:

  1. Thicker skin provides protection: With thicker skin, the tattoo needle penetrates through more layers before reaching the nerve endings. This can result in a decreased sensation of pain during the tattooing process. If you have thicker skin, you may experience less pain than someone with thinner skin.
  2. Thin skin is more sensitive: Individuals with more delicate skin may experience more pain during tattooing. This is because the tattoo needle is closer to the nerve endings, leading to a higher level of discomfort. If you have thin skin, it's important to be prepared for increased pain during tattooing.
  3. Skin texture also plays a role: In addition to skin thickness, skin texture can also influence tattoo discomfort. Rougher skin texture can cause more discomfort during tattooing compared to smoother skin. So, even if you have thicker skin and are more irregular in texture, you may still experience more pain during the tattooing process.
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Number of Nerve Endings in the Area

Areas with a higher concentration of nerve endings tend to be more sensitive and can result in increased pain during tattooing. The density of nerve endings in a particular area can determine how sensitive that area is to despair. To give you a better understanding, let's take a look at a table that lists some body parts and their corresponding nerve density levels:

Body Part Nerve Density Level
Armpit High
Rib Cage High
Ankles High
Upper Arm Moderate
Thigh Moderate
Forearm Moderate
Back Low
Calf Low
Shoulder Low


As you can see, areas like the armpit, rib cage, and ankles have a high nerve density, making them more sensitive to pain during tattooing. On the other hand, body parts like the back, calf, and shoulder have a low nerve density, resulting in less pain during the process. It's important to note that individual pain tolerance can vary, so what may be painful for one person might not be as painful for another.

Knowing the number of nerve endings in different areas can help you make informed decisions when choosing your tattoo's placement. If you're particularly concerned about pain, avoid areas with high nerve density. However, it's also worth mentioning that pain management techniques, such as using numbing creams or taking breaks during the session, can help alleviate discomfort. Discuss these options with your tattoo artist to ensure a more comfortable tattooing experience.

Presence of Bones Near the Tattoo Site

Tattooing over joints and bone structures can be more painful, but there are techniques to manage the discomfort. When getting a tattoo in bony areas, it's important to be aware of the sensitivity of these regions and take necessary steps to minimize pain. Here are three techniques you can use to make the experience more comfortable:

  1. Numbing creams or sprays: Consider applying numbing creams or sprays to the area before your tattoo session. These products work by temporarily numbing the skin, reducing the pain sensation during the tattooing process. Make sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and consult with your tattoo artist for their recommendation.
  2. Taking breaks: It's perfectly okay to take breaks during tattooing, especially if you're experiencing discomfort. Taking short breaks allows you to rest and recover, making the overall experience more manageable. Feel free to communicate with your tattoo artist and let them know if you need a break. They will understand and accommodate your needs.
  3. Communication with the artist: Choosing an experienced tattoo artist who is familiar with tattooing over bones can significantly affect your comfort level. A skilled artist will know how to work with the contours of your body and minimize unnecessary pain. Communicating openly with your artist and discussing any concerns or discomfort you may have is crucial. They can provide guidance and make adjustments to ensure a more comfortable experience.

Biological Differences Between Men and Women

One factor influencing pain perception during tattooing is the biological differences between men and women. Research suggests that there may be gender differences in pain perception, with women generally more accepting of pain than men. However, it is important to note that no specific research suggests that women experience more pain than men or vice versa during tattooing.

To better understand these biological differences, let's look at some key factors that may contribute to pain perception in men and women.

Men Women
Hormones Testosterone, which is typically higher in men, may contribute to a higher pain threshold. Estrogen, which is typically higher in women, may increase sensitivity to pain.
Skin Thickness Men tend to have thicker skin, which may provide some protection against pain. Women generally have thinner skin, making them potentially more susceptible to pain.
Pain Processing Brain imaging studies have shown that men and women may process pain differently. Women may have a greater activation of pain-related brain regions. Men may have a higher pain tolerance due to differences in pain processing pathways.


Understanding these biological differences can help individuals better prepare for the tattooing experience. While women may generally be more accepting of pain, it does not mean that men cannot handle the pain of getting a tattoo. It is essential to remember that pain perception is highly individual and can vary from person to person.

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Experience and Pressure Pain Threshold

When considering pain tolerance during tattooing, it's important to recognize how previous tattoo experiences can impact your pressure pain threshold. People with tattoos may have a higher pain tolerance than those who have never been inked. If you have already gone through the process of getting a tattoo, you may be better equipped to handle the pain.

Here are three ways that previous tattoo experience can affect your pain tolerance during tattooing:

  1. Familiarity: Having previous tattoos means that you are familiar with the sensations and discomfort associated with the process. You know what to expect and maybe mentally prepared for the pain. This familiarity can make the experience more manageable and result in a higher pain tolerance.
  2. Conditioning: Getting a tattoo involves enduring a certain level of pain. Over time, your body may develop a conditioning response where it becomes more resilient to pain. This means that repeated exposure to the tattooing process can lead to an increased pain threshold, making subsequent tattoos less painful.
  3. Mindset: Previous tattoo experience can also impact your mood when getting a new tattoo. If your previous tattoo experiences were positive and you could handle the pain well, you may approach your new tattoo more relaxed and confident. This positive mindset can help you better cope with the pain, making it feel less intense.

Age and Weight Impact on Tattoo Pain

Now that you understand the role that experience and pressure pain threshold can play in pain experienced during tattooing let's explore another factor that can impact tattoo pain: age and weight.

As mentioned earlier, age can influence your skin's sensitivity and how it reacts to the tattooing process. Older individuals tend to have more sensitive skin, which can make the tattooing experience more uncomfortable. Additionally, more aged skin is often thinner and more prone to bruising, further contributing to the potential for increased pain.

Weight can also be a factor in tattoo discomfort. Heavier individuals may have more sensitive skin due to the increased pressure on their bodies. This sensitivity can make the tattooing process more painful.

However, it's important to remember that pain tolerance varies greatly from person to person. While age and weight can be contributing factors, they may not significantly impact everyone's tattoo pain experience.

To minimize pain during the tattooing process, discussing any concerns with your tattoo artist beforehand is always a good idea. They may have techniques or recommendations to help alleviate discomfort, such as using numbing creams or taking breaks during the session.

Ultimately, everyone's pain experience with tattoos will be unique. It's essential to consider factors like age and weight and remember that pain perception is highly individualized.


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When choosing a numbing cream, select a high-quality brand designed specifically for tattoo pain management. If you decide to use a numbing cream, consider trying Ink Scribd's Tattoo Numbing Cream, which contains 5% lidocaine for effective pain relief during tattoo sessions. Always consult with your artist first and follow safe application directions for the best results. You can have a comfortable, enjoyable inking experience with the right numbing cream and tattoo placement.