The one question that everyone ponders before getting a tattoo.
“How painful are tattoos?”
“How much do tattoos hurt?”
“Does a tattoo hurt if I get it here?”
Often times this can be a question that comes up whenever you are getting tattooed in an area that is new to you.
In short, yes, it’s going to hurt. Each and every one of us has a different pain tolerance that cannot really be compared to another’s. Only you can gauge the pain you experience but I always recommend being mentally prepared for it.
If you are not mentally prepared and/or do not have the pain threshold to withstand the tattoo it’s pretty easy to end up as “they guy that left the shop with half a tattoo on his chest”. Yes, I’ve heard stories of people literally leaving with no intention of coming back because they realized this was not for them.
In a strange way, I enjoy the process but it can get pretty brutal in a few select spaces in my experience. Some of the worst spots for me so far have been:
- The inner arm -towards the armpit
- The elbow (both sides)
- The top of shoulder cap
There are a few things that you can do to manage and mitigate the pain that you will experience when getting a tattoo.
From my experience a few key things come into play.
- I always want to go into the session fully hydrated and on a full stomach.
- I like to have access to my own music (screamo comes in handy at certain times)
- Have water and remain hydrated
- Mentally prepare yourself for the area that is going to be tattooed.
There was a session where we ended up tattooing on top of my elbow and I had not prepared myself for tattooing that area. It ended up being the most miserable session I’ve had because of the intense pain from tattooing on such a vulnerable area. It’s important to be in the right state of mind when you go about getting the tattoo if you are not accustomed the pain of getting tattooed.
I find having a positive state of mind that reaffirms that the tattoo is worth it to you and the pain means something to you is far more beneficial than repeating to yourself how much the pain sucks.
There are numerous other alternatives that I don’t really indulge in when getting my tattoos because I don’t particularly have an issue with the pain that comes with getting tattooed. Some of these include:
- Drinking alcohol (if the shop allows it)
- Taking pain medication
- Using numbing creams on the skin
There has been a pretty big influx of people taking an interest in using numbing creams on their skin before getting the tattoo. If you are going to use the creams I would just double check with your artist to ensure that the product will not interfere with the ink and tattoo process.
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In conclusion, tattoo pain is a pretty independent thing to gauge, any needle repeatedly being put into your skin is going to hurt. Again, that depends on the place and the artist.
Prepare yourself and you will be alright 🙂