Tattoo Pain

Health & FitnessBeauty

  • Author Matt Bennett
  • Published September 19, 2008
  • Word count 741

Tattoo Pain

First it’s a good idea to decide what part of your body you’d like your tattoo to be placed at. This will greatly determine the level of pain. Getting tattoo over bone, like on your ankle, or over a portion of the body where the skin is tight hurts more. Also pain is how you think about it, gauge the tattoo pain in the context of your life experience. If you're young or haven’t been through surgeries or accidents much, and haven't experienced much pain in your life, then a tattoo will probably hurt a lot. If you've experienced great physical pain, such as in childbirth, the tattoo pain will pale in comparison, no big deal… been there done that.

Being tattooed in an area that has muscle mass like on the arm, back, or calve seems to be the least painful for most people. You shouldn’t be overly tired or emotionally exhausted on the day of your tattooing. Don’t be too cold or too hot either. Talk to the tattoo artist if you’re uncomfortable at all because there might be some adjustments that can be made to increase your level of comfort.

"I've wanted a tattoo for about three years but deciding on what design I wanted was the most difficult decision of all. I wanted my tattoo to be special to me and have great significance every time I looked at it." I looked around the web for hours. I finally decided on a design to be place on my lower back. I won’t reveal what it means but as far as I know, no one else has it and as it has great significance for me and I want it to stay that way! I went down with my best friend to a local tattoo shop. She was already booked from the week before and was told there was a waiting list of at least five days. Good indication that they knew what they were doing. If business is that good then the luck of getting a great tattoo was even better I thought. When the day came my friend went first, this gave me much more confidence. On the day of my tattoo my appointment was scheduled later around five. People I worked with had tried to freak me out with tattoo horror stories on how the pain was so unbearable. Anyway it felt more like a burning sensation than needles. It was like having a bad sunburn and applying alcohol to it, or something that would irritate it. Three quarters of the way through was the worst of it, and then the pain subsided a bit. It wasn’t bad and I feel like it was, in a way, a right of passage. It looks better than I had hoped for and I’m very happy with it.

Everyone has a different experience with pain and tattoos. It seems like every person will tell you something different. I have personally tattooed hundreds of people, and can tell you there are no generalizations. Some women and men do horribly, no matter where they get tattooed, while some women and men can sit without the slightest hint of pain. I have not seen any difference between men and women at all in regard to a pain threshold. The worst part of it for me is when I get someone who will not sit still. It can be so difficult to lay a proper tattoo when someone is wiggling around non-stop. Another thing to watch for is the endorphin rush. About 15 to 20 minutes into getting a tattoo, you will notice it starts to hurt less or it stops hurting completely. This is due to endorphins or your bodies own natural pain killers.

Pain is an interesting side effect when getting a tattoo. For some people the process and the pain is the more important part, and the art is just secondary, almost like something they can brag about doing. Some people want the experience and for others, they want the art but wish they could get it without the pain. Whatever group you fall into, know that tattoos do hurt, sorry to say. It is a few needles repeatedly entering your skin over a period of time, so pain should be expected. Just remember, where you get the tattoo will change greatly how much pain you will feel!

Matt Bennett

Matt Bennett, an award winning tattoo artist for 16 years. The owner of, artist, portrait tattooist and trainer.

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