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The 6 Least Painful Places to Get a Tattoo

Jennifer Betts
Least Painful Places to Get a Tattoo

When getting a tattoo, finding an area with less pain receptors can make the tatooing process only mildly irritating rather than excruciating. Of course, given that tattoos are permanent, getting what you want where you want it is important.

1. Shoulder

Most people who get a shoulder tattoo will tell you it didn't hurt at all. As it happens, shoulders have less pain receptors than other areas of the body. Therefore, there aren't as many nerve endings in the skin to signal to your brain that a needle is repeatedly jabbing you. In addition, the shoulder has a lot of cushion for the artwork, which means a needle isn't vibrating against the bone. You can even test this theory out yourself by using your nail to poke yourself in the chest then in the shoulder. Even though you use the same amount of pressure, the shoulder hurts less.

Shoulder Tattoo

2. Bicep

A bicep is a great place for first timers because not only does it hurt less, but it is still highly visible and diverse. If you think about the physiology of the bicep, it makes sense that getting a tattoo there hurts less because there is a lot of muscle covering that bone. Consequently, the vibration of the machine and the repetitive motion of the needle is absorbed by the muscle. That's not to say it is completely painless, but a lot of first-timers compare an arm tattoo to getting scratched by a cat.

Bicep Tattoo

3. Forearm

The forearm is another area that offers a low pain option and works well for first-timers. If you grab your forearm, you can probably understand why. This area of the body has a lot of flesh and muscle covering the bone. Like the bicep, this helps to absorb some of the more unpleasant side effects of gun tats, like vibration. However, if you are considering this area, the closer you get to the wrist, the more it will hurt. This is because you are getting closer to the bone and losing muscle.

Forearm Tattoo

4. Outer Thigh

The large muscle in this area makes it great for inking with only mild irritation. Additionally, this is a huge area so any work done here can be expansive. The only real down fall with this area is that it is close to some of the most painful areas, like the knee and groin area. However, if you stay in the area with dense muscles, you can just sit back and relax while you get some great ink.

Outer thigh tattoo

5. Calf

The calf is a highly visible area for getting colorful designs, especially for women. The thick calf muscle also works as a buffer for tattoo work. This area also has the advantage of being near the shin. While the shin bone can be irritating because of the lack of muscle, the pain of this area is more dull than other areas. Therefore, you can choose to get a tattoo on just the calf alone or one that wraps around the leg and the pain isn't too severe.

Calf Tattoo

6. Gluteus

The gluteus (aka the butt cheek) is also another place that offers limited tattooing discomfort. The massive muscles that protect your pelvis bones while you sit are the reason for this. While the gluteus isn't a common place to get a tattoo, if you were considering it, now you know.

Gluteus Tattoo

Other Considerations

While these are the areas that are considered the least painful to tattoo, this does vary by person. For example, those that are extremely thin or with lower muscle mass might find these areas more uncomfortable than say a bodybuilder. Additionally, your personal pain tolerance comes into play. While it might seem like having more body fat would make a tattoo less painful, this isn't always the case. The pain receptors for the skin will still come into play so even an area with more fat might still be painful. Therefore, it really is all relative.

Pain Is Part of the Process

Tattoos hurt, but some areas hurt more than others. However, if you are very susceptible to pain, there are several areas of the body that are large but still known to be less painful due to muscle and skin sensation. If you aren't stuck on a specific area for your newest ink, considering the least painful areas is a distinct option.

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The 6 Least Painful Places to Get a Tattoo