One of the most common things for people to wonder about when they’re pondering getting a tattoo is how bad do tattoos hurt? Well, there’s no simple answer to that because it depends on the body part, the type of needle that the artist is using, how experienced the artist is, and even to an extent the type of ink.
How bad do tattoos hurt is an overly simplistic question – some people might find that getting a tattoo feels like having an elastic band snapped against their skin repeatedly; it stings a bit, but it’s not too bad. This is true for most people if they’re getting a fairly standard tattoo design on a fleshy area of their body. Get a tattoo somewhere bony, such as the upper part of the feet, and it will likely hurt more. Areas such as the elbow, where there are a lot of nerve endings, are also more sensitive.
The type of ink and the way the artist does the tattoo can also make a difference, as can the needles. Thicker needles, or devices where there is more than one ‘needle’ being used at a time – such as to fill in large blocks of color – may sting more. It could also sting more if the artist is trying to push the color deeper into the skin.
Some people report that having a cover-up done or going back over an older tattoo will hurt more than having the tattoo done in the first place. This may depend on how well the original tattoo was done and whether there is any scar tissue in the area.
The weather can help with pain, as well. If you’re getting a tattoo done in the winter then it might feel more painful because you’re cold and tense. In the summer when you’re more relaxed, it might be easier to get work done.
As the tattoo artist works you should find that your body releases endorphins to dull the pain, and this should help you to sit for longer while they work, but there are limits to how long most people can sit. Some people can tolerate several hours of work at a time, some people can only sit for an hour. If you bleed a lot, then shorter sittings might make sense simply for that reason.
If you try to relax and just listen to music or talk to a friend while you’re getting work done on your skin you should find that the whole thing is a lot easier. When the work is finished, cover it and follow the after-care instructions that you are given. Tattoos are commonplace now on people from all walks of life, which should tell you something. You don’t have to be tough or have a very high pain tolerance to get them done, and any pain that you do feel will pass once the artist has finished, so pick a design you love and enjoy it!