Tattoos may be painful and permanent, but still everyone seems to want one. We all have different pain thresholds, but we share some similarities that determine the probability, sensitivity and intensity of how and where we feel pain. There are three important factors we need to be aware of: how thin is the skin, how close is to the bone and how many nerve endings are in that particular area of the body. Generally, the areas that are most sensitive to the touch, have the most nerve endings. With that in mind, we bring you a list of the most painful places to get a tattoo!

Behind the ear

This is a popular place for a tattoo, but also very sensitive one, due to the thin and delicate skin around the ear area. If you analyze this area, you will notice a bone and very thin layer of skin that conceals the bone. Thus, the needle will hardly be able to hit the bone – which can cause considerable pain. The size and complexity of the tattoo will also have an impact. In this case tattoo artists often use a local anesthetic in the form of specialized creams to help lessen the pain.


The spine is another very painful place to get a tattoo. The spine is made up of 26 bones, 24 of them go from the neck to the base of the bum and each tattoo that you get along them will hurt. Although this type of tattoo can be very elegant accessory for your body, keep in mind that in order to get this tattoo you will have to endure considerable pain.


Chest is also a popular choice for tattoos, especially for mens tattoos. Large tattoos on the chest can look incredibly sexy, but this is a very sensitive area and it can disrupt the process of tattooing. While tattooing this particular area, tattoo artists are accustomed to take more breaks than usual, because the pain can become really difficult to endure.


Tattoos on the foot and ankle are very popular in both men and women. The foot has a small distribution of body fat, which makes it a very painful place for getting a tattoo. The ankle is also a painful area, because there’s really nothing there but bone.


Avoid the elbow at all costs, because it is basically just skin and bone. On the outside there is a thin layer of skin “coated” over the bone, while the inside is an area with sensitive nerve endings.

What to Take Into Account?

How long it takes to make a tattoo? This depends on the size and complexity of the tattoo, as well as the experience and skillfulness of the tattoo artist. Another important thing to consider is how much pain you can endure. Some can withstand a tattoo that lasts for hours, while others cannot endure the entire process.

Do not take aspirin before, during or 24 hours after tattooing, because it may intensify the bleeding (the same applies if you have been drinking alcohol the day before or on that day and if you are diabetic). When talking about medical conditions, you need to inform your tattoo artists if you suffer from any infectious disease, any chronic disease, hemorrhage, hemophilia, metabolic disease, epilepsy, heart problems, diabetes, high or low blood pressure, various allergies, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, if you have skin problems, if you are suffering from mental disorders (panic attacks, depression etc.) or if you are prone to hypoglycemia.

It is also important to choose a good tattoo studio that has reputable artists.

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