Where Tattoos Hurt the Most

Tattoo Areas That Hurts Most

“Will this hurt?” This is one of the most common questions tattoo artists receive from first-time clients. Even though the question is very common, it is a tough one to answer.

This short answer to this question is ‘yes.’ One only has to look at the process and the blood involved to understand that tattooing will hurt. During a tattoo, the ink is deposited in the dermis. The dermis contains the cells that hold those pain receptors that let us know when our body is being hurt. When that layer is disturbed 80 to 150 times a second, you know that getting a tattoo isn’t going to be a walk in the park.

How much it hurts depends on the person. You need to ask yourself how you have tolerated pain in the past. Have you ever broken a bone and not realized it until much later? Or are you always complaining about injuries to your friends, family, or anyone who will listen? Do you find yourself visiting the doctor often? Or are you the type to tough out illness and only go when you are at death’s door? How much the pain of a tattoo will bother you depends on your answer to those questions.

Regardless of your pain tolerance, the area of your body that you will get your tattoo can determine how painful it will be. One rule of thumb is that regions of the body that are the most ticklish are the most sensitive areas to pain. In fact, some describe the pain of getting a tattoo in these areas as a painful, burning tickle.

What parts of the body may cause the most amount of pain?


Getting a tattoo around the ribs causes quite a bit of pain, especially if you are lucky enough not to have a lot of body fat in this area. The skin over your ribs is thin, and the area constantly moves as you breathe. Some have compared the pain of obtaining a tattoo in this area as similar to the pain of getting stabbed. This comparison seems over the top. One would think that the joy of getting permanent artwork on your body would help you handle the pain more than that.


It makes sense that this traditional “ticklish” spot would be a painful place to obtain a tattoo. There are a lot of nerve endings near and in the armpit. If you have a low tolerance for pain, you may want to avoid the entire area around your armpit, ribs, and inner bicep.


One surprisingly painful area to receive a tattoo is the top of the foot. While this area is not particularly ticklish, those who have received multiple tattoos have indicated that this area was surprisingly painful. Perhaps the thin skin on this area causes it to hurt more. Not only is this area particularly painful, but it also difficult to get a good image on that part of the body.

Nipples and Groin

Uh, yeah. Getting a tattoo over your nipples and around your groin area is going to hurt more than you will even think. Do we even really need to include this in our list?


Although the elbow doesn’t seem like it would be a particularly painful place to get a tattoo, it is. Three main nerves run right under the inner elbow. The skin is also particularly thin in this area as well.

Hands and Fingers

The skin is also thin on your hands and fingers. They are also bony and filled with ligaments. Apparently, the areas around the fingernails are particularly painful to receive a tattoo. Also, keep in mind that ink doesn’t stick to this area particularly well. Your artist may need to go over your design several times. This can obviously add to the pain.


There may be a variety of reasons that getting a tattoo on your head is particularly painful. It could be because the skin is thin on your scalp and skull. It could be painful because there are a lot of nerves up there. It could also be that you feel the vibration and hear the noise more when the tattoo artist is working on your head. Since pain is a psychological and physical process, being that intimate with the tattoo needle may cause you to feel more pain than usual.

Like much of life, how much you feel pain may be dependent upon your attitude. Get your tattoo with the knowledge that you will feel discomfort, but approach that discomfort with calmness and understanding. Being uptight and tense will only make it worse.

Please call us today at 353-1-561-5663 and let’s set up an appointment to discuss further.