Tattoos can be beautiful works of art you wear for a lifetime, but that ink does come with a price. It's going to hurt (or at least feel uncomfortable). If you're particularly pain averse, then consider avoiding the most painful places to get a tattoo. Some parts of the body are just less resilient to the needle than others.
Although there are definitely some places on the body that hurt more to get tattooed than others, keep in mind that the experience is different for everybody. So if your friend had no problem at all getting a giant tattoo across her rib cage, the experience may be different for you.
To make the tattooing experience as pleasant as possible, there are many ways to help deal with the pain. "Trying to remain calm is important, and breathing adequately through the tattoo. Yoga breathing seems to work like a charm. Laugh, but it’s true," says Selina Medina, a tattoo artist and spokesperson of the Alliance of Professional Tattooists. Medina also recommends getting plenty of rest in the days leading up to the tattoo, staying properly hydrated, and eating a light, nutritious meal beforehand. This will put your body and mind in the best state for tattooing. But if you're still scared of the needle (no judgement), consider avoiding the most painful parts of the body to get tattooed.
For many people, the ribs are the worst spot of all for tattoos. "Ribs especially can be a pain because clients may have a hard time sitting still and many people may consider them to be most painful," as Max Brown, a tattoo artist at Brown Brothers Tattoo, tells Romper.
2. Fingers And Backs Of Hands
In general, the skin anatomy around certain areas of the body can affect pain perception quite a bit. "Areas that tend to be the most painful are areas of low subcutaneous fat and high density of cutaneous nerves," says board-certified dermatologist Richard L. Torbeck III, M.D. of the Advanced Dermatology, P.C. Center for Laser And Cosmetic Surgery. "Some of the areas that jump out right off the bat are eyelids, nose, lips, fingers, groin, and backs of hands. These areas are thin skinned, low tissue fat, and high density of cutaneous nerves." Although few people are lining up to get eyelid tattoos, the trendy hand tattoos all over Instagram may be pretty painful.
Nearly all of the experts mentioned the inner wrist as a particularly painful spot to get ink. "Out of the common tattooed areas, flank, ankle, wrist tend to be very painful," says Dr. Torbeck. It's another area with low subcutaneous fat and lots of nerves.
4. Inner Thighs
It's another potentially difficult spot. "If it’s sensitive to to the touch, generally it hurts more," says Medina, pointing out the inner thigh as an example.
The flank (the area between the ribs and hip) It's another part of the body with plenty of nerves. Getting a tattoo on your flank may hurt, per Dr. Torbeck.
For some people, this is an extremely sensitive area. So it's no wonder that the neck is a potentially rough place to get tattooed, as Medina explains.
Think before you ink this area. The glutes were called out as a particularly sensitive area by Brown. Talk it over with your artist first if you want a piece here.
Ankle tattoos can be so beautiful, but it isn't the best location for everybody. "People with a low tolerance for pain might want to avoid areas like ankles, inner wrists, ribs, chest and glutes, they tend to be the most painful," says Brown. However, if your heart is set on one of these spot, then it's possible to get through the tattooing process. "The greatest thing about tattoo pain is the knowledge that it will end," says Brown. Even if is on one of the most painful places to get a tattoo, the reward for getting through the experience is a piece of art you wear for life.