One of the biggest concerns about getting a tattoo is how much pain it’ll cause. It seems as though non-tattooed people are constantly asking, “does it hurt to get a tattoo?” to heavily tattooed individuals. To be honest, the answer is – kind of.
There is no cut and dry answer for the thousands of people who are interested in getting inked. Some individuals with tattoos have very high pain tolerances claim that they only feel a slightly uncomfortable sensation during the application. These people also claim that the itchy healing process is more annoying than actually getting the tattoo itself. However, others can hardly tolerate the tattoo process and are constantly squirming and asking to take breaks. As someone with tattoos, I can say that it is definitely worth a little pain to have an amazing, meaningful piece of artwork with you for the rest of your life.
If you find yourself wanting a tattoo, but aren’t sold on the pain factor – fear not! We’ve collected the least painful places that you can get inked below.
1. Finger Nails
Did you know that these were a thing that existed? Those with fingernail tattoos say that they were entirely painless since the ink is applied onto the hard keratin of the nail. However, these designs are also temporary and will disappear over time as the nails grow. Some individuals see this as an opportunity to get new designs that will match their changing moods.
Fingernail Tattoos by @jonboytattoo and @monah_von_schroeder
Those who have sat through a shoulder tattoo often describe them as an uncomfortable sensation of dull, background pain. This is due to the shoulders having a lesser amount of nerve endings compared to other parts of the body, meaning the session should be a breeze for the majority of ink enthusiasts.
Shoulder Tattoo by @irene_illusia
The calves are a great place to get tattooed if you’re nervous about the pain. Not only are there few nerve endings, but this area also offers a lot of cushion compared to other bone-y areas. If you’re thinking about a foot tattoo, you should consider moving it to the calf for some less painful ink.
4. Ear Cartilage
While this is a new trend, it has still managed to find a place on this list. For this placement, the ink is tattooed directly onto the ear cartilage which makes for a design that is much less painful than traditional areas. Another bonus is that tats in this area have to be very small and simple – meaning there will be less pain for you to sit through. However, there are a few people who have complained of dizziness and headaches when receiving their cartilage tattoos.
Ear Tattoo by @jessica.mach
5. Outer Thigh
Leg muscles have few nerve endings and are very good at tolerating pain. The abundance of fat and muscles with low nerve endings makes it one of the least painful areas to tattoo. However, the inner thighs have far more nerve receptors and should be avoided if you’re looking for some painless ink.
Thigh Tattoo by @alicerules
As funny as it may sound, your gluteus is one of the least painful places to get inked. This is largely because the meaty area is all cushion and is far away from any bones.
Gluteus Tattoo by @niteowltattoofl
Tattoos that naturally crawl up the forearm are another popular trend due to the minimal pain associated with the placement. If you’re planning on getting inked here, be sure to avoid the boney wrist area.
Forearm Tattoo by @ilarty_tattooer
Biceps are another great contender if you’re looking for a placement that will bring a minimum amount of pain. This area tends to be the placement of choice for first-timers since it has more cushion to absorb the impact of the needles.
Bicep Tattoo by @alicerules
9. Lower Back
This area is especially common among women who usually have a higher amount of fat on their lower backs, meaning a less painful application. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for men, who should avoid this placement.
Lower Back Tattoo by @tattooartistdan
10. Inner Wrist
You may be surprised at this ranking, but the inner wrist is arguably one of the least painful places to receive a tattoo since the area is not as boney and the skin is relatively thin. Though we have to advise that you steer clear of the sides of the wrist, where the artist is more likely to hit bone.