Five Most Painful Places for a Tattoo

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Many people getting tattoos for the first time worry about the amount of pain involved, and even those working on their third and fourth may wonder about the effect different locations have on the pain. As you can expect, some places do hurt more than others. In general, the less skin, fat and muscle that a location has, and the more nearby nerves, the more it will hurt. Here’s a list of the most painful places on your bodies to get tattoos.

  1. The genitals. This may be obvious, but cannot be overstated. Getting inked on your junk hurts. In fact, chances are, you’d have to be something of a masochist to even think about getting a tattoo there—not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, if that’s the case, then you’ll be in for the time of your life.
  2. Hips. Not only do hips share many of the same characteristics as ribs—thin skin, no muscle, not much fat—you’ll also have added post-tattoo pain. Jeans and skirts tend to rub up against the hip, and the friction can be both painful and increase the length of time between getting tattooed and healing.
  3. Ribcage. The combination of thin skin over bone makes this a painful one, and if your tattoo stretches under your arm, you’ll also have to deal with the sensitive skin from that area.
  4. Inside of the elbow. While the skin is thin and sensitive, the real problem here is pain when your artist tattoos over the radial ulna nerve. The pain will be difficult to handle, and you may have some involuntary twitches. If your artist is good, it shouldn’t cause any problems, but you’ll want to be aware of the possibility and do everything you can to keep still.
  5. Feet. Feet are bony and sensitive, and getting tattoos there can cause involuntary movement, especially if you’re tattooing the base of the foot. During the healing process, it will probably be a good idea to wear sandals in order to let your tattoo heal in the open. Wearing heavy socks and shoes could create a damp environment that could lead to infection.

Tips to Minimize Pain

Before your tattoo, you can take Tylenol or acetaminophen: neither pain reliever thins your blood (unlike aspirin), meaning that you don’t have to worry about excess bleeding. After your tattoo artist’s first pass, you can apply an over-the-counter topical anesthetic, such as Bactine or benzocaine preparation to help minimize the pain.

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