5 Tips how to minimize the pain of tattoos

Realistically there isn’t a way to know in how much pain you’ll be while getting a tattoo before you get it. If you prepare for it, get yourself in the right state of mind, it just may not hurt as much. Although, if you do arrive scared to death, it’ll most likely be a thoroughly painful ordeal.

3D Color tattoo of an eye on the left forearm
3D Color tattoo of an eye on the left forearm

The reason it hurts is because tattoos work by piercing the skin, and everybody knows that getting your skin pierced isn’t nice. It doesn’t depend on the size or on the location, you can always expect to feel pain. However, what can change your overall amount of pain experienced, can be your tolerance. If your pain tolerance is high, you may just feel very little or nothing.

Needles puncture your skin at high speeds and at varying depths. The most painful part is easily going to be the outline of the tattoo, as it has to define a clear wall that has to be deep and have a lot of black in it. To do this part correctly, the needle has to stab you pretty deep and has to be maneuvered most carefully. The less painful part is usually the shading, as the needles don’t have to puncture the skin too deep.

Prison tattoo gun
Pain of tattoo from tattoo gun made in prison

A typical tattooing pain is described as a scratching feeling (like a painful itch) or a slight burn. If the procedure is going to take place on a less fat covered area e.g. a wrist of the chest the pain will be of higher standard. Arms and legs are usually ‘ok’ on the pain scale. They aren’t all that painful due to the amount of fat and muscle.

Pain of tattoo is always to be expected, but there are certainly measures you can take to minimize it. Here are some tips to help you with your pain management.

  1. Do not ever drink or take drugs before a tattooing session. This will only thin your blood and will cause you to bleed more.
  2. Get to know your artist and learn to be comfortable with him. If you believe in your artist, if you believe he won’t mess something up it can minimize the pain.
  3. Show up level minded and determined. Accept that a nice beautiful tattoo will take eons to make. Tattooing is an art, and art should never be rushed.
  4. If it hurts too much, tell your tattoo artist, as he should know this vital piece of information immediately. You’ll take a break or stop completely. Tattoos don’t have to be finished in one sitting. It can be broken up to a few sessions.
  5. Music helps, put some on. Since you’ll hopefully be focusing on the music, you will take your mind off of the pain of getting the tattoo.
Black and Gray Tattoo of a male Warrior on the right shoulder
Black and Gray Tattoo of a male Warrior on the right shoulder