As somebody tattoos, I am often asked the question: Do tattoos hurt? Where do they hurt the most?  That question depends on many, many factors.  If you are thinking about getting some body art, it is important to think about the many factors that will come into play regarding the pain you might face when getting your first ink.  Tattoos do hurt, but there are certain parts of your body where they are less painful, and some areas where they are much more painful.  The pain is an important aspect of getting inked, so listen up.

 Do Tattoos Hurt?

Short answer? Somewhat, but only mildly.  However, the pain is not unbearable.  If you can sit through an uncomfortable visit at the dentist, you can survive getting tatted.  Ask yourself the following questions if you want an idea of how much getting yours will hurt.

How High is My Pain Tolerance?

Do you wince after stubbing your toe?  Or are you one of those people who can barely feel a punch?  Some of us are more tolerant to pain than others, and this plays a huge role in getting a tattoo and how much getting one will hurt.  If you have a high pain tolerance, then the pain will not be a big deal.  If you have a low pain tolerance, it will be much more uncomfortable, but either way it is not teeth-gritting pain.

Where Do They Hurt The Most?  

I find this tattoo chart accurate for explaining where tattoos hurt the most.  The descriptions for each body part, however, are exaggerated.  No matter where you are getting inked, you will not need to bring a piece of leather to chew on, as the experience is not that extreme.   However, as the chart indicates, if you are getting a tattoo on your stomach or foot, be aware that these are the areas where getting one will hurt the most.  If it is your first time getting a tattoo and you are weary of the pain, getting one in these spots might not be a good idea.

Have I Eaten and Drank Before The Appointment?

You want to make sure you eat and drink lots of water before getting any new piece of body art.  Going on an empty stomach is a huge mistake, as your body expends a lot of energy getting pierced by hot, inked needles thousands of times over a short period.  Make sure you have some energy to burn.  Also, it is not a smart idea to drink liquor the night before or the day of getting a tattoo, as the lack of water will leave you dehydrated and definitely make the experience more painful, no matter where you get it.

Am I Nervous About It?

If you get worked up and anticipate that getting a tattoo will hurt like crazy, you will make it more painful for yourself.  Make sure you are not nervous about it, just relax and enjoy the experience.  Think of it like taking a test, once it’s over, it’s over.  You will never have to worry about it again.

Will I Take Care Of It While It Heals?

It is crucial that you take care of your tattoo while it heals.  Otherwise, it will constantly hurt.  This is not hard at all, as after you get the tattoo, your artist will give you instructions on how to care for it the following week to make sure it heals properly.  This usually involves keeping it out of the sun and keeping it moisturized.  Make sure you follow these steps unless you want your tattoo to hurt for days after you get it.

What Do They Feel Like?

I have heard a ton of horrible metaphors attempting to describe how much getting a tattoo hurts, and quite simply, it feels like what it is: getting pricked by a hot needle many, many times.  If you can’t really imagine what that’s like, the second best description is the sunburn one: getting a tattoo hurts like scratching a sunburn (where you get it also plays a huge part, but this is pretty much how it feels everywhere).

Do Tattoos hurt? Sort of.  For me personally? Not at all.  The main point is that it depends where you get them.  Even though it hurts more in some areas, getting a tattoo simply does not hurt that much.  Go out there and get inked, and forget about how much it hurts!  I promise you it’s not that bad.