Does Getting a Tattoo Hurt?


Getting a tattoo is personal. You are permanently displaying your likes, dislikes, and beliefs. For every tattoo that has been done, there is a unique decision behind it … not all good decisions!

Every tattoo virgin has questions. What artwork should I get? Where should I get it? What’s the tattooing process? And the biggest question is the pain factor.

Does getting a tattoo hurt? Decide for yourself:

Here are a few factors that you need to take into consideration:

What does it involve?

Tattooing pushes the ink through 2 layers of skin. The needle enters your skin several thousand times a minute. The discomfort you feel depends on your pain tolerance and mental state. If you are mentally prepared for the experience, and your nerves are under control, you should be able to get through it with a bit of discomfort instead of intense pain.

These are other factors that can influence the pain level:

Tattoo size

Tattoo size makes a difference in the pain or discomfort you will feel. With any tattoo the outline comes first, shading next, then color last. Once the tattoo is started, your skin will become irritated. The longer the tattoo takes the longer your skin is traumatized. It only makes sense that the larger the tattoo, the more discomfort you will feel. Larger tattoos require more ink, more needle pricks, and more time in the chair.

Your health

Your overall health also determines the amount of pain/discomfort you feel. Ladies, it’s not a good idea to get a tattoo before or during your cycle. One of the biggest no-nos of getting a tattoo is to prepare for the experience by consuming alcohol or drugs. Obviously, a shot or two helps with pain, but many tattoo studios reveal that intoxication does not lessen the pain. Alcohol thins your blood, and bleeding more will result in the artist having a harder time with the tattoo.

Tattoo location

Choose your tattoo location well. My first tattoo was on my breast and I experienced stinging sensations, like an insect bite. I loved it and tattoo #2 was on my foot. HOLY MOSES…The PAIN. The reason? The fatty tissue on my breast provided a cushion, while my foot is skin on bone. The fatty areas – breasts, thighs, buttocks, and arm tattoos hurt less than body parts that are thin and bony. But if you are into pain, go for the lip, ear, around the eyes, your neck, spine, or, be like me, and go for the ‘hurts like a mother’s foot.

Ink Color

Ink color is not a determining factor in the pain level. Lighter colors are rumored to hurt worse. But the fact is, lighter colors, like white and yellow, come last after your skin has been subjected to the irritation of the needle. They are also placed directly beside the irritated skin. Think of pushing on a bruise over and over, that’s going to hurt worse than poking healthy skin.

So… does it hurt?

You, better than anyone, know your pain tolerance. You should make your choices accordingly. So, does getting a tattoo hurt? Choose the size, location, and tattoo timing well and it will be tolerable. When you finally sit in that chair to get your tattoo, take deep and even breaths. Bring some music with headphones if you think that the sound of the gun will bother you. Above all, relax and think about how amazing your tattoo is going to be. Hundreds of thousands of people have gotten tattoos, so it can’t hurt THAT much. Right? Right.

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

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