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When it comes to someone wanting to get their first tattoo, many people, including myself have searched up Tattoo Pain Level Charts like those seen at that well written article, show casing the many types you may find online. The biggest thing to know is that pain is only relevant to the person who is being tattooed. The article linked there even goes in to detail about old pricing methods for tattoo shops based on what people may think are pain areas but truly are just areas that are more difficult to work for the artist.
I would tell you nine times out of ten that stubbing my toe or jamming my finger hurt more than getting eight of my first nine tattoos. I would have to be honest and state that I probably dropped an F bomb during four of the nine. This would be due to the intense stinging sensation, sensitive area, or even the fact there was skin that was very soft or very firm muscle.
A lot of people ask me about tattoo pain when they see one of my new tattoos or when they realize how many I have. This is why I put together the below photo of a tattoo pain chart based on my experiences. I grew up being terrified of needles. At the age of nine, a nurse pinned my head down and held my eyes open to make me watch her give me a shot. I have had some pretty dense people blow my veins by not paying attention or not listening to me. The thing is, tattoo needles are not going through your skin at an angle piercing with the intention of gathering tubes of blood or shooting you up with ice cold vaccines.
In the below photo you will see ten circles for my nine tattoos at the time of publication. This is because the one wrist tattoo circles the whole wrist and it wouldn’t be fair to tell you it was easy or medium on the pain scale because one part was nothing pain wise and the inside wrist burned like a cigarette being turned in circles repeatedly! The most painful tattoo to date is one that is currently healing. My stomach tattoo. I could have throat punched someone over that burning pain. It still aches almost a week later. Sitting, standing, sleeping, putting lotion on it, all stings! This is because that is the softest skin to date, that I have had inked.
I will tell you that I was terrified of getting the top of my foot done. For many reasons. The first would be every tattoo pain chart always showcases that area in bright red. The next, would be seeing someone I took to my tattoo artist, lose all control. Crying, screaming, shaking, the total hot mess. She got both the tops of her feet done as her first tattoos. At the end of the session, it seems that really most of the fear and anxiety came from the sound of the tattoo machine. So I would come to assume that most of the behavior and fears came from overall anxiety. Maybe not the best way to go about introducing the ink world to yourself but each person has their own reasons for falling in love with being inked.
The day I got the top of my foot done, I also got a wrist tattoo, and a color in on my left shoulder piece. Maybe I was numb emotionally from losing my Mother a few weeks earlier. Maybe I was mad that no one wanted to go with me to the tattoo shop to talk to me as I went in for my newest additions. Either way, that day, nothing hurt.
A lot of the tattoo pain level is going to depend on your body structure, your pain tolerance, your state of mind, and even your history with anxiety. I remember my very first tattoo in 2008, it was not planned, it was complete spur of the moment. I held on to a drink cup the whole time, sipping to keep my anxiety down. I dropped a few curse words, but I felt a level of stress lift off me. It was three years before I got my second tattoo done in 2011. Then I added on three more in 2015, two in 2016, and now an additional two in 2017.
This week I had to get a large needle put in my hand for an IV at the hospital. The tiny needle that put the numbing agent in, hurt more than a tattoo! I hate shots in my arm, yet a tiny needle for a B-12 in my back was nothing. My state of mind always seems to come in to play. The fact that I absolutely love and adore my tattoo artist Mike Nicks from Citrus Park Mall Atomic Tattoos, may play a key roll now as he has done seven of my nine tattoos and will be doing my future sleeve tattoo and a few others I already am dreaming up!
If you are not sure about placement for a tattoo, you can always try temporary tattoos, they even have tattoo sleeve temporary tattoos. They even have stocking arm sleeves so you can get a feel if you are ready to commit to such a big art piece forever.
I know some areas may hurt more than the stomach when the time comes, but I know that pain is relevant and pain also subsides. If ink speaks to you, I encourage you to take that leap and throw out all the over the top pain level charts that are online. Trust in your body and your ability to get through the moment!
If you have tattoos, what was your tattoo pain chart level based on the ink you have? Did one area hurt much more than others? Comment below!
Author: Nichole Arnold
I’m the owner of Mommy Needs a Bottle . I’m a 30- something wine enthusiast that resides in Tampa, FL. I love family traditions, traveling, cooking, baking, reading, fashion, tattoos, beauty products, and being a Mommy! I have a background in marketing, public relations, copywriting, and sales.