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The Tattoo Pain Chart Tells You Which Parts Will Hurt the Most

The Tattoo Pain Chart Tells You Which Parts Will Hurt the Most


Thinking about getting inked?

Getting a tattoo is all the rage these days, but the main factor holding people back is the pain. Everyone has heard at least one horror story about how painful it is to get a tattoo. But is there any truth to this?

Several opinions and misconceptions exist about tattoos and pain, specifically for women. Fortunately, there’s a way to fact-check these and it’s through a tattoo pain chart.

What’s the Tattoo Pain Chart?

This is a simple illustrative guide that indicates which areas of the body will hurt more during the tattooing process. For those born biologically female, the tattoo pain chart is slightly different from the one for those born biologically male.

Where are the Most Painful Places to Get a Tattoo?

The back of the neck and spine don’t have much fat or skin, making these areas painful for tattoos. Photo by Ashley Byrd on Unsplash

Areas that tend to experience more pain are those that are close to the bone, those that have thin skin, and those that have a lot of nerve endings.

Chest Area

Although chest tattoos for women have grown in popularity, rib cage and sternum tattoos are known to be painful. The skin that covers these areas is extremely thin with hardly any fat surrounding them.

Neck and Spine

The back of your neck and spine don’t have that much skin or fat covering them. Since most tattoo designs for these areas follow the spinal cord, the artist will tattoo directly along the bones.


If the skin over this area is tight, you’re less likely to feel pain. The opposite is true if you have looser skin; the bouncier the skin, the harder for the needle to penetrate.

Where are the Least Painful Places to Get a Tattoo?

Women experience the least pain when getting a back tattoo because the skin is thicker and it has fewer nerve endings than a man’s back. Photo by Luismi Sánchez on Unsplash

The areas known to experience the least amount of pain are those with more fat, have tighter skin, fewer nerve endings, and farther away from bones.


The forearm is one of the most popular areas to get a tattoo, partly because it is also one of the least painful areas to get one. Your forearms have enough muscle and skin to cushion the tattoo gun’s needles.

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Getting a tattoo on your thigh will help you avoid pain because this area is well-padded with fat. It also has fewer nerve endings, with pain levels ranging from low to moderate.


This is where a biologically born female is different from a biologically born male. The former experiences less pain in their upper and lower back, making these areas less painful for tattoos. This is because the skin here is thicker and has fewer nerve endings.

What Does Tattoo Pain Feel Like?

Tattoo pain depends on your threshold for discomfort, and how it feels will be different for different people. Some may feel a stinging pain but others may experience it as something dull. Photo by peter bucks on Unsplash

The pain you experience when getting a tattoo, regardless of its placement on your body, depends entirely on you.

Some have reported feeling a burning or stinging pain, whereas others have said it feels dull and only stings when the needles hit a sensitive spot.

What Helps Relieve Tattoo Pain?

  • Look for an experienced artist to do your tattoo because they tend to have “lighter” hands.
  • Ask your tattoo artist to take breaks if the session is expected to run long.
  • Don’t drink before your appointment. Alcohol is a blood thinner and will cause you to bleed more during the process, prolonging it.
  • Make sure you’re hydrated to keep your skin supple and tight, reducing the pain.

There’s no exact way of knowing how much pain you’ll experience when you get your tattoo, but it shouldn’t stop you from getting one. As long as you do your research and prepare yourself, the final product will surely outweigh whatever suffering you go through.

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