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Do Tattoos Hurt?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Depending on who you talk to, you're going to hear a number of answers to this question. The short answer is yes, tattoos hurt, to some extent. The experience of tattoo pain varies widely, depending on placement of the tattoo, its size, the skill of the tattooer, and the pain tolerance of the client. Many tattoos are more irritating than painful, especially during the healing stage, when they tend to get very itchy. You certainly shouldn't let fear of pain dissuade you from getting a tattoo, although you may want to think about placement if pain is a big concern for you.

The size of a tattoo will have a major influence on how much it hurts. Extremely large tattoos hurt as your skin gets irritated and raw, which is one of the reasons why a tattoo artist may arrange multiple sessions for a large piece. A small to medium sized tattoo may not be terribly painful, because endorphins quickly kick in and carry the client through the tattoo.

Placement is also very important, and tattoos on the bone or near nerves are going to hurt. This includes ankle tattoos, tattoos along the spine, and work around the collarbone and nape of the neck. Fleshier areas of the body tend to be less painful because the tattoo needle is not striking a bone. Knowing that tattoos can cause pain in sensitive areas, you might want to ask an artist to do a dry run with the needle in the area first, to see how painful it really is.

Some companies sell numbing cream for tattoos, a practice that has met with mixed response from the tattoo community. Some artists think that since tattoos hurt, it is not unreasonable to numb the skin beforehand. Others are concerned that these compounds may compromise the integrity of the inks used, or they may increase the risk of infection. More importantly, numbing creams take a while to work and they wear off quickly, so they may not be as effective as the body's natural tools for fighting pain.

It is important to remember that everyone's response to pain is slightly different. You can decrease the potential of a painful tattoo by talking to your tattoo artist about your concerns and eating a healthy meal beforehand to settle your stomach. Stay hydrated as well, as this will promote rapid healing of the site. You should never be ashamed to ask for a break in the tattooing, and you should alert your artist if you feel faint or uncomfortable. Tattoo artists are well aware that tattoos cause pain and that different people handle the discomfort differently, and they will not criticize you for asking for a break.

As you are getting a tattoo, it may help to breathe deeply and think about the meaning behind the tattoo to distract yourself from any pain. It may also help to know that many tattooed individuals say that they don't remember the pain of a tattoo after they've received it; in fact, many people feel great after the completion of a tattoo, even if they experienced brief discomfort while it was applied.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon989666 — On Mar 16, 2015

I'm getting the back of my head tattooed. What are your thoughts on prep?

By anon937350 — On Mar 05, 2014

I feel a bit weird writing this, but I can't sleep and this might help because I was nervous about my first tattoo. I have had over 100 hours of tattooing done. I'm a skinny dude, and had both my legs, both arms and my whole front (Chest, stomach, ribs across the top of shoulders) done, so if these areas are relevant to you, then here you go.

First up, everyone is different. One person may find stomach terrible and ribs okay and the other may be vice versa. My first tattoo was the start of my front piece -- a big outline from my shoulders, whole chest and halfway down my stomach and it was horrible. I'm sorry guys, but it was rough and I was so relieved when it was done. They were thick lines and ugh. But I went back, and I kept going back, because if you like it that’s what you'll do no matter how bad it is, because 10 minutes after walking out of there being in ridiculous pain you will be over the moon with what you have. About 35 hours later and I have an award winning front piece. To me, outline feels like being cut with a hot knife and shading feels like extreme scratching away at sunburn.

Both my arms and legs had no real unbearable moments as I had the torso to compare it to and I found such a huge margin between the levels of pain, so if you're going arms or legs you're in the clear.

It depends on two things: placement and size. The longer you get tattooed the worse it gets as it swells up and becomes inflamed. Anything over four hours and you're going to be over it. If you get a small tattoo anywhere, it’s going to suck but it will be over before you know it and you'll be stoked. I always get big tattoos so I'm usually pretty over it by the end. The worst spot for me was the sides of the stomach under the ribs (Love handle area). Sternum, hips, ribs and collar bones were pretty excruciating also, but you have to remember everyone is different.

Most importantly guys, go to someone who you are stoked on. Who cares if they are $200 an hour? You will never regret it if you spend the money on quality. I don't even know what I've spent, but it would be between $12-17K. I regret nothing because I don't have one tacky tattoo I'm not stoked on. Don't ever feel embarrassed to say enough for the day. They could get irritated or annoyed, but if you really can't bear it, then it isn't up to them when you tap out. They're not the ones in excruciating pain, and if they aren't an ego maniac they will understand.

I've probably missed some stuff, but good luck guys. Think about your decisions and embrace the experience. I go to get my back started next week from the back of my neck to my butt and I'm nervous. It’s natural.

By anon331467 — On Apr 23, 2013

I'm nearly 50 (in three weeks ) and I've got 12 tattoos. I'm getting my lower leg finished all up the side with lots of colourful butterflies. It's not so bad pain wise. I can put up with it, but my last one was three weeks ago on the top of my right foot and it was pure agony. It took two hours and it needs a few touch ups. I'm dreading it, but it will have to be done. Simply, yes some tats hurt more than others. Just grin and bear it.

By anon329967 — On Apr 13, 2013

I have three tattoos now, one on each inner wrist and on on my inner left ankle. My wrist ones where first and they tickled (by the way, I hate needles and cry like a baby getting a blood test done). The full color one I have on my ankle was a bit more painful since it's over the ankle bone, but after that I actually wanted to sleep. It was relaxing to me. I can barely walk now (two days later) but it was well worth it as it was a wedding present

By anon329911 — On Apr 12, 2013

It seems as though everybody keeps saying that tattoos on the shoulder blades don't really hurt. I usually have quite a high pain threshold, but have to say that getting my shoulder blades tattooed was very painful at some points, but then again I am quite skinny so I'm pretty much all bone.

But the worst parts for me were around the armpit areas, on the top of the shoulders and when it went across my spine and back of my neck.

By anon312153 — On Jan 05, 2013

If I were to get a tattoo on the side of my hand (a cross), on a scale from 1-10, how bad would it hurt?

By anon298676 — On Oct 21, 2012

I just had my daughter's name done from the wrist up to elbow. It was my first tat. I was scared but took a friend with me. After a couple of minutes, I was fine. It's just like a constant burning sensation. It did hurt at the start, though.

By anon293029 — On Sep 23, 2012

Some say the left side hurts more because the heart is on the left, while some say the opposite side of the hand you write with hurts more. I'm right handed and have three on the right side and one on the left, and the left hurt far, far more than any on the right.

By anon283728 — On Aug 06, 2012

The simple answer for a first tattoo is that it is not going to hurt as much as you will have built it up in your mind beforehand.

Keep it to sessions no longer than 60-90 minutes to start with, as this amount of time flies by in the chair. After that you will quickly know what your tolerance is, time wise, but as I said, at the start it will not hurt as much as you think it will.

By anon279085 — On Jul 10, 2012

I'm getting a tattoo on my upper right breast of my name in Chinese. I need to know if it hurts real bad. Please tell me quickly because I'm getting it tomorrow and I'm 16 so please answer now if you can.

By anon245489 — On Feb 05, 2012

Tattoos on meaty areas are minimally painful. The outline feels like you're being pricked a few times and shading is like sunburn being scraped off.

I have to say the ribs or knee cap were the worst places for me, and getting your ribs inked definitely sucks. The outline feels like you're being skinned alive and the shading is like pouring boiling water on a deep wound! My advice is to stay small on the ribs or knee.

By anon223834 — On Oct 20, 2011

Ever step on a rusty nail? I have. Think of a really bad pain you've experienced in the past while, and you'll feel tough that you made it through that. And you'll make it through the tat. Sounds cheesy but it helps.

By anon221719 — On Oct 12, 2011

I have a tattoo on my left shoulder blade. Not a bad place to get inked, doesn't hurt much - if you stay away from the spine area and underarm area (mine didn't). Mine took a single four-hour session and was uncomfortable until the endorphins kicked in, and then it was merely irritating but not painful. The final hour of coloring was the worst, because it was irritated and my endorphins had run out at that point, so I was on my own. I won't lie - I started crying. It was painful, but it was worth it in the end for me.

Tattoos also tend to hurt more along the sides of your body, and on your feet and hands. The best spots to get inked are your arms, your butt, your thighs, or your shoulder blade. If you are dead-set on an ankle tattoo, make it small - trust me, it'll be more painful otherwise.

By anon205599 — On Aug 12, 2011

Well, considering almost my entire body is inked, I can honestly state a somewhat adequate opinion. For me, the places that were the most sensitive were the places that were closest to the bone, as well as the armpits, behind the knee, etc., etc., but not all places on my body where the bone is apparent hurt. Again, for me, the place that hurt the most was my spine. The only color on my spine is black, and since I'm a fair skinned and super skinny person, i always request what some call "deep ink" so that the touch ups are minimal due to the amount of ink and number of needles used. Yes, it hurts more, but pain is irrelevant in my opinion.

I got my 1st tattoo after I recovered from being hospitalized for three years with about 13 major surgeries and a few minors. So after going through countless hours of painful PT and post surgery pains, the pain from a tattoo was a mere fraction of the pain I felt going through my days of recovery in the hospital.

Every tattoo on my arms (full sleeves) etc, did not hurt at all. I actually almost fell asleep. My legs were the same way (except for behind my knee) which hurt but very tolerable. my spine was the only place that kept me awake during the entire time. After about three or four hours on nothing but spine ink, your spine will hurt, I don't care who you are.

That was just my outline, but it also depends on your artist, pain thresholds, etc. The pain is well worth it. Let's face it: how many people do you know who don't have a tattoo? In terms of excruciating pain, well, you're not going to experience that in getting a tattoo, so don't worry.

By anon195190 — On Jul 11, 2011

"Will that hurt?" This is the first query on the frequently asked questions list, because it’s typically the first topic that people inquire about. The reply is actually absolutely yes. Having small needles pierce your skin layer does indeed hurt. However, what you really need to know is, “How much will it really hurt, and will I be able to handle it? ”

Please post your story. Does it really hurt a lot, or not that much?

Thanks. --Ella T.

By anon190153 — On Jun 25, 2011

I have six tattoos: two done on my lower back, one on my upper back and one on my outer thigh and ankle and I just got my foot done. The worst pain was my lower back and my thigh was a bit of pain due to a big piece and detail.

The least was my ankle and foot. It was not bad at all. I think everyone's pain varies. To me, my ankles and feet are least painful, but not to hear that from most.

By anon169810 — On Apr 23, 2011

I have two tattoos, one on the back of my left shoulder and one on my foot going up my ankle. The tattoo on my shoulder did not hurt at all; I barely felt it. However, the tattoo on the foot was pure agony. Seriously though, just squeeze or bite something and you will be fine.

The tattoo is worth it in the end, and if it means something to you, you won't regret it.

To answer the question above my comment, side pieces, i have heard, do hurt a lot. I have never heard anyone say that one side hurt more then the other though. A lot of people online seem to give people a lot of grief about getting tattoos but don't listen to them. Do what makes you happy. Yes, tattoos can be painful and expensive but if you're smart about your choices they are well worth it. Can't wait to get my next few.

By anon164938 — On Apr 03, 2011

I have five tattoos, one on each wrist the side of my hand and two on my hipbone. i would say it's different for each person. the only one i really felt was the side of my hand but it's worth it for how nice it looks after.

By anon160092 — On Mar 14, 2011

I was 14 when i got my first tattoo on my hand. It was great, though it was a very small "D". it hurt, yeah, but it was worth it! i am planning on a next one soon.

By anon159205 — On Mar 10, 2011

How bad do tattoos on the sternum hurt?

By anon152699 — On Feb 14, 2011

I'm 16, just got a medium chest piece done. it took about 2 1/2 hours to do. Let me tell you it hurt, and there is nothing to lessen the pain unless it's the cream. It was sheer hell, but it's all worth it in the end. Just grit your teeth and take it.

By angel96 — On Feb 10, 2011

I'm getting my first tattoo soon. I'm getting it on my mid-back going up towards my shoulders and I'm afraid it's going to really hurt. Any advice would be great!

By anon147540 — On Jan 29, 2011

OK I am reading this and now scared. I have booked in to have the side of my hand done in Arabic. just wondering if it hurts. I do not like needles so double the phobia ha.

By anon146703 — On Jan 27, 2011

i noticed a few people are wondering whether getting tatted on your forearm hurts. Well, my first tat was my band logo on my right inner forearm near the bend of my elbow. at first, yeah it hurt a little. but then i got numb to the fact.

the only part that hurt was when the needle was near the bend of my elbow, and it didn't even hurt that bad -- just enough to make me wince real fast. my artist laughed at me when i flinched.

By anon140895 — On Jan 08, 2011

Like many have said, placement has a lot to do with it. I just got my shin done and it wasn't really that bad at all. I also have my feet done too. they were my first tattoos and they definitely hurt more.

By anon140743 — On Jan 08, 2011

A couple of months ago I got lyrics tattooed on my right foot. It starts almost parallel to the floor on the right side and curves over my foot towards my big toe. It was my first tattoo and the artist who did it said I was pretty brave to get it done.

I also have a rather low pain threshold. But I went through with it and it was totally worth it. It hurt the most at the very start and end but because it was basically just an outline, it only hurt until he moved on to a different word/letter. I would recommend getting a tattoo on your foot as the pain only lasts while he is working on that specific part of the tattoo and afterward there was basically no pain at all. Hope this helps someone a bit.

By anon140457 — On Jan 07, 2011

They really do not hurt too bad. my first tattoo was on my wrist at first the pain was pretty bad after about five minutes into i got used to it and it just felt like getting scraped by a pricker bush.

By anon139755 — On Jan 05, 2011

thank you. this was very helpful in my decision making.

By anon138861 — On Jan 02, 2011

Tattoos hurt, yes. I have five and it is worth it. Really I've noticed that in the very beginning they hurt but then your endorphins kick in and after that it's smooth sailing. But the longer they take the more they hurt. One took a little over eight hours. After about the 2 and a half hour mark it was a lot more painful for me, but so worth it.

The eight-hour piece is on my shoulder and back (also a cover up), one hour under each collar bone. My inner wrist a little over an hour.

By anon138750 — On Jan 02, 2011

wrist tattoos don't hurt at all. chest ones hurt like hell, though.

By anon132056 — On Dec 05, 2010

tattoos hurt but not too much. You get used to it after a while. just make sure you have friends to keep you busy while you get it.

By anon130386 — On Nov 28, 2010

this christmas break i am getting a tattoo on my forearm and i want to know will it hurt bad.

By anon129749 — On Nov 25, 2010

feels like a scalpel cut as opposed to a needle. hurts but worth it.

By anon127376 — On Nov 16, 2010

i want to get a tattoo on the inside of my forearm but don't know how much it will hurt.

By anon123575 — On Nov 02, 2010

yes tattoos hurt but then again it depends on your tolerance for pain. i have two ankle tattoos and my left hurt more than my right cause it was towards the bone more. i have a small star on my hand and it felt like bees stinging you and bad sunburn. remember it's forever! Pain is temporary but pride is forever.

By anon122513 — On Oct 28, 2010

tattoos, no matter what everybody says, do honestly not hurt that bad, and it is worth getting one. trust me. i'm only 16 and it didn't hurt me on my upper back on my shoulder blade.

By anon116029 — On Oct 05, 2010

I badly want a tattoo underneath my chest but I'm a bit on the skinny side and worried in case it will strike a bone in my ribs and i really want to know how much it hurts. I'm trying to find out, but all I'm getting is placement and people have different pain nerves. Could someone tell me please?

By anon115999 — On Oct 05, 2010

I really want three tattoo rings on my left ring finger as I cannot wear my wedding rings for work. I want three to represent various things. Anyway, I am afraid of the pain, however, I went through 13 hours of natural childbirth with constant back labor seven months ago. Think I can hang?

By anon112704 — On Sep 21, 2010

I want a tattoo on my right hip/lower abdomen. Does this hurt much. How much difference between the pain of a tattoo and a needle at the doctors?

By anon111189 — On Sep 15, 2010

I have a large tattoo on my lower back. To be honest, I enjoyed getting my tattoo. I felt little, if any, pain throughout the process, and I am a slim, petite woman with little padding to dull the sting. I imagine that most pain associated with tattooing is purely psychosomatic. If you remain calm and avoid focusing on the remote prospect of pain, you're likely to have a pleasant experience.

By anon110613 — On Sep 12, 2010

will the forearm hurt?

By anon106820 — On Aug 27, 2010

I got a tattoo that covers my whole foot and it wasn't that bad but the tattoo artist did not recommend it because it was my first. It's worth the pain.

By anon105062 — On Aug 19, 2010

Well, every tattooist does things a little different. Some are traditional, and are fast and furious, in, out, pain, now pay up!

Others like me do not make it hurt. It may hurt here and there but it is not a painful experience, and as far as scabbing and crusty, that depends on how hard handed they are, because when i tattoo, it don't hurt and blood don't squirt!

By anon102794 — On Aug 09, 2010

would a small tattoo on my boob hurt?

By anon101180 — On Aug 02, 2010

i got tattooed in my late teens and early twenties and since i turned forty i have been getting tattooed again (mostly to either cover up or re-work my old ones). I think they hurt more now than twenty years ago. I wondered if this was just me getting soft in my old age or if anyone else of my age group agrees?

Depending on where you are getting the work done decides the amount of pain you will experience, for example the forearm is pretty easy but the closer you get to the elbow and wrist, the more it hurts because there is less tissue and there are more nerve endings around bones.

The outside of your arm is less painful than the inside because the outside gets knocked and scraped, etc. far more than the inside. Try pinching your forearm as hard as you can to get some indication. You will notice that the outside of your forearm has a higher threshold than the inside. Wrist and back of hand tattoos hurt the most i think.

By anon99063 — On Jul 25, 2010

I got a tattoo, a couple of months ago on my neck that hurt like hell. It's a little heart in pink and blue and is very simple but pretty.

I also got a cherry design on my thumb and that only hurt when it got to the hinge of my thumb.

Get a tattoo that represents you personally or a loved one.

I got a cherry because i'm sweet and kind and i got a heart because i'm vain! Good luck!

By anon96910 — On Jul 17, 2010

just to help people out i got a tiger tattoo on my lower back. it hurt a bit, but only in some spots. I was sore for three days. It's big and it goes to each end. You'll be fine. Bring a pal. i did.

By anon90827 — On Jun 18, 2010

i want a tattoo of my football club badge on my forearm. would that hurt?

By anon90342 — On Jun 15, 2010

i have two tattoos. One is around my wrist which only hurt when it got to the bone, and one on my shoulder which with what i can remember only hurt a tad. I'm thinking about getting one done on my foot but after reading on the internet about the pain i don't think i will. lol.

By anon85635 — On May 21, 2010

do sleeves hurt? when I'm older I'm getting sleeves for sure. I'm only 13. i want to get chest tats, too.

By anon84128 — On May 13, 2010

i got my side done last summer it hurt like hell. today i got my back done it hurt a lot. i found it easier to deal with the pain by listening to my ipod. it's a great feeling when you're done because you know you can handle the pain.

By anon83243 — On May 10, 2010

i love tattoos. i have eight.

By anon82525 — On May 06, 2010

I received my first tat of my zodiac on my inner ankle of my right leg, that did not hurt one bit. Then just a month ago on my opposite ankle (left) I got a lily with vines, that hurt so bad and the dude left a bruise, the that isn't done yet. I'm getting the other side done so the vines will make an anklet.

By Adis Arifagic — On May 05, 2010

I can tell you they hurt! I have two already!

By anon79868 — On Apr 25, 2010

I'm only 13 and I've done many piercings in the past, but now I'm not into piercings, and i wanted to try something different. I'm kind of into ink right now, but just curious. I'm interested in doing a tattoo at my lower right back. Will it hurt much?

By anon79212 — On Apr 21, 2010

I got one on my left hip and I felt more pain at the healing process at least the first two days.

By anon78288 — On Apr 18, 2010

O.K. I'm about to get a tattoo at the end of the month on my left side above my hip. I want to know if it's going to hurt? It's my first tattoo and a close friend is doing it, so i need some help from

anyone with a tattoo in that region. Let me know: does it hurt?

By anon75613 — On Apr 07, 2010

I'm not old enough for a tattoo yet, but i want the converse all star symbol on my ankle. That is going to hurt a lot because the ankle is bony. Is that right?

But it's weird because when i watch Miami Ink and LA ink, no one makes a big deal about the pain. If i was there, I'd probably cry lol.

By anon75489 — On Apr 06, 2010

i got this tattoo across my chest. it hurt like hell. don't listen to anybody. everyone has their own opinion. the only way to find out is to get it done yourself.

By anon75049 — On Apr 05, 2010

I have three tattoos. the one on my lower back hurt the worst. the one on my neck hurt the least and the one on my chest was my first and i don't think it hurt at all. But that's me.

People have different pain levels and some are more sensitive on certain parts of the body. Nobody can really say whether a tattoo hurts or not, just because of the pain tolerance.

By anon71307 — On Mar 18, 2010

I know that tattoos hurt and i'm not too fussed about that, but what is the best place to get a tattoo were you can hide it if you really want to?

By anon66641 — On Feb 20, 2010

i just got one on the back of my arm and it was not bad at all. It felt like a hard scratch but completely bearable. I psyched myself out pretty good before hand but it was no problem. Definitely getting more.

By anon61091 — On Jan 18, 2010

I'm getting a phoenix done on the right side to the lower part of my back (right side). Will it hurt? I got my first tattoo on my upper right shoulder, and that didn't hurt too bad.

By anon59426 — On Jan 08, 2010

Tattoos do hurt, but to a certain extent depending on the location and size. I have one on my foot which I'm not going to lie, hurt! I also have one on my wrist which also hurt! The pain is bearable though, just ask for a break if needed to get yourself together.

I am going tomorrow for another tattoo which I am most definitely placing on my hip running down my thigh or lower back (more towards the side near my hip) wrapping around down my thigh. One word of advice: be careful because they are addictive!

By anon59103 — On Jan 06, 2010

I'm getting a lower back tattoo soon. I'm scared bout the pain, though. ><

By anon57945 — On Dec 28, 2009

I got my first tattoo done two months ago for my sweet 16. I got it on the right hand side of my lower back *not a tramp stamp* and it barely even hurt.

The only part that hurt was coloring in the tips of the sparrows wings on mine because it hit the backside of my rib cage. Other than that it was one of the least painful experiences. The outlining was absolutely nothing, the coloring was a bit of an annoying pain but its completely bearable.

It all depends on pain tolerance really. I have a high pain tolerance so it was nothing for me to get a tattoo. I was too excited to worry about the pain. It took three hours and it looked amazing after. I'm getting a lot more tattoos when I'm older. Rib piece is my main goal. Don't let the fear of pain keep you from getting a tattoo. You'll regret missing out on something so amazing.

By anon53808 — On Nov 24, 2009

i just had my second session on a large mermaid swimming up my leg. She's large and very colorful. It was painful. Bearable and very uncomfortable but still painful. Breathe deeply and bring a bottle of water to keep your mouth wet. The thing that helped me the most -a distraction! Have a distraction to focus on -- like music or a movie. It helps for long sessions.

By anon49317 — On Oct 19, 2009

because it has something to do with your brain. if you're left-handed, your right side will hurt more and vice versa. numbing creams work but can distort skin and ink. So just know you limits and don't be scared to take a break. i went nine hours the other day and know now that four is my limit.

By anon43081 — On Aug 25, 2009

ugh. i'm getting my first tattoo next week. i'm so excited. it's some heat deal on my lower back but i worried about the pain.

By anon41875 — On Aug 18, 2009

Getting mine finished tomorrow! Its been a work in progress for a year. Third time in the parlor. Its my whole lower back and wow! Pain = almost unbearable. Totally worth it when you're finished! =)

By anon38737 — On Jul 28, 2009

OK if you are right handed your body works from the left side of your brain. You ever hear people say we are left hnded so we are in our right mind. Maybe that has something to do with the whole one side hurts more than the other. kind of think it's true, but it depends on your pain tolerance, so there you go.

By anon35962 — On Jul 08, 2009

I have 4 tattoos and soon to be 5 tomorrow. I have two on my ankles, one on my lower back "tramp stamp" and one on the middle upper part of my back. All my tattoos hurt to a certain degree but some were more of an annoying pain then others. It is true the more that is tattooed on the bone the more it will hurt. Just go in there with a calm frame of mind and relax. I am getting my lower abdomen done tomorrow so I will be able to tell you more of what that feels like. Anyone that tells you a tattoo does not hurt at all is full of crap. It will hurt no matter where you get it but the pain scale is different for everyone.

By anon33184 — On Jun 02, 2009

I just got wings tattooed on my back at the beginning of this month..and yeah it hurt but if you really want a tattoo and know what you want then it shouldn't matter..of course it's not going to tickle and people who say it doesn't hurt i really don't believe lol but it's not unbearable pain...i wouldn't recommend getting a tattoo impulsively...it should be thought about first..tattoos are a way of expressing oneself.

By claribel — On May 15, 2009

OK. so yes some numbing creams do last for at least 30 mins. but believe me, i know this product called dr. numb numbing cream. it does not interfere wit the ink used in tattooing. plus it doesn't wear off quickly.

By zannad — On Feb 28, 2009

I have two tattoos. One on the inside of my forearm, which is an ambigram. The pain was bearable although some bits hurt more than others. The outline was more painful, felt like lots of bee stings with heat. The filling in wasn't painful.

Then, two days ago I had one put on the side of my hand. This was excruciatingly painful due to the closeness of the knuckle bone (give me childbirth anytime!!). It goes down the side of my hand below my little finger. As mentioned before, the pain factor depends on many things, breathing slowly through the pain helps and your own natural endorphins help too.

The tattoos look good and I'm pleased I've had it done, but it was very painful on that area. Afterward,it feels very tender,very similar to sunburn, but with good aftercare it should heal well. I'm really pleased I've got tattoos, but I won't be having anymore.

One other thing, make sure you choose something very personal to you, because a tattoo is forever! Why go through that pain and cost if your not 100% happy with the result?

By anon27399 — On Feb 27, 2009

well i thought my tattoo on my lower back bloody killed worst pain i've ever had in my life!!!!! had it done monday... its gone all crusty and scabby.. also i heard that different tattooist have different pressure while tattooing on the skin... mine must of had a very hard pressure!!

By anon26755 — On Feb 18, 2009

I'm gettin my name on the flesshy bit on the side of my hand. will this hurt. somebody please tell me the truth. I'm only young an just want to know the truth before going to get in done in a week or 2. Thankz.

By anon23230 — On Dec 19, 2008

I just got a tattoo today and to be honest it did not hurt one bit. It actually feels as if you grab a needle and just scrape it across your skin. There is no pain whatsoever.

By anon20252 — On Oct 28, 2008

I think that getting a tattoo is a silly idea.

By anon19190 — On Oct 07, 2008

im getting drug free on my knuckles. will that hurt a lot???

By anon17664 — On Sep 03, 2008

I have two Nautical stars on each forearm. I'm getting a gecko on my stomach and a snake with a skull on my arm soon. I find the pain to be a good pain. there were some painful spots like the outlines but its bearable. If you mentally and Emotionally get in a zone it doesn't hurt at all. I made the mistake of being really nervous on my first tat. but the second when I channeled my energy and my thoughts.It felt pretty good to get that one.lol.but ya it hurt a little.:)

By anon16367 — On Aug 04, 2008

Well I have 2 tattoos and the one on my lower back didn't hurt as much. It's a long word. The wost part of it was the g which is on the left because its really close to my bone. Other than that it was fine. The one on my foot hurt really bad. My leg was shaking and everything but its not unbearable pain. You just have to tough it out. It's worth it in the end.

By anon15985 — On Jul 26, 2008

Hi, I just got my first tattoo today, and I expected a lot more pain, I got it on the lower right hand side of my abdomen, I think the whole more painful on the left hand side than the right hand side is nonsense. If you want it bad enough just go for it and stop worrying about it. Go in expecting the worst and you will see that it is bearable and very addictive!

By anon14468 — On Jun 17, 2008

i am having a tattoo tomorrow and i've been slightly put off about what i've heard. i am having a tattoo on my lower back which is only very small (small heart). i was wondering if you could possibly tell me the honest truth of what is expected! is it going to really hurt or what??

By dudla — On Jun 06, 2008

I heard that tattoos on one side hurt more than on the other. I'm not sure if it was that tattoos on your right side hurt more than on your left side or that tattoos on your left side hurt more than tattoos on your right side. But is it true? Which one is it? And why would one side of the body hurt more than the other?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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