Ah yes, there are many things that people fear when they are getting their first tattoo, and at the top of that list is the pain factor that comes with the inevitable breaking of skin. This is unfortunately one of those situations where every person will have a different experience, and so there is no way you can prepare yourself until you actually experience your first tattoo.
Regardless of what you have heard about the size or location of a tattoo making a difference in the pain factor, pretend you’ve never heard these things. Getting a tattoo involves piercing the skin, and so there is going to be some pain involved, no matter how small the tattoo and no matter where it is on your body. The amount and type of pain experienced is highly variable depending on each individual’s tolerance to and acceptance of pain.

When you get a tattoo, the needles will puncture your skin at a very fast rate, and at variable depths. The outline of the tattoo is often the most painful, because the needles are being used to create a solid black line that defines the tattoo. These are inserted the deepest to ensure the most complete and effective coverage. Shading is less painful, but again, your desired effect is a leading factor here.

What does it feel like? The pain you feel is generally as a slight burning or hot scratching sensation. Generally, the tattoo is more painful if applied to areas of the body where there is less muscle and fatty tissue covering bone, like wrists, ankles, chests, and other normally sensitive body areas. Upper arms are usually the least painful, while the ankles and sternum can be quite sensitive. Regardless of where you get it, the pain is most often described as cat scratching. A little stingy, but nothing unbearable.

So there you have it, the truth about tattoo pain. Yes it’s painful, but no, it’s not the end of the world. After all, the pain you experience while getting tattooed is a unique and certainly bearable pain. Take the opportunity to enjoy a new and unique experience that will mark the emergence of a “new you” from the tattoo studio.