The pain that you feel when getting a tattoo depends on several factors: age, sex, pain threshold, et cetera. Having said that, color tattoos hurt about as much as achromatic tattoos.
Feel free to explore creative tattoo ideas on World Tattoo Portal, but not before knowing the science behind tattoo pain, among other things.
Making Sense of Tattoo Pain
Unlike temporary tattoos, permanent tattoos involve a minimally invasive process. The pain begins as soon as the needle and ink penetrate your dermis. The pain you feel after the deed is due to the body’s self-healing abilities.
Bruising is the first painful sign of healing. It happens when the ink “damages” your skin causing blood clots. After this or concurrently, you may experience tender swelling. These painful symptoms are a result of your body taking damage control measures. They are normal, albeit more painful for some than others.
A Closer Look at the Pain Contributing Factors
In addition to the above factors, the following may also contribute to your pain:
- The tattoo site.
- Tattoo design
- The tattoo’s size and composition.
Individual Pain Threshold
Your pain threshold is determined by the degree of pain you feel during different steps of the tattooing process. For instance, some people feel more pain during the outline than the shading, whereas others feel the opposite.
There’s no biological explanation for this other than that it depends on your threshold. In other words, you won’t know whether you feel more or less pain during the tattooing process until you try it yourself.
Sex as a Contributing Factor
Although there’s little to no evidence that your sex contributes to tattoo pain, research suggests that females are more sensitive to pain than males. Since this is a suggestion at best, you should take it with a grain of salt and consider other factors.
The Needle Used
Tattoo artists seldom use one type of tattoo needle during the procedure. They utilize several needles, including a liner needle for the linework and a variety of others for filling (shading and coloring).
They usually assign a different color to each needle to expedite the process. A needle used for grays and blacks won’t hurt less or more than needles used for other colors. The pain is down to the needle’s sharpness more than anything else.
Believe it or not, a sharp needle hurts less than a blunt needle. By using older, blunter needles, your tattoo artist not only increases the level of pain that you’re likely to feel during the process but also risks skin damage and design errors.
If you’ve never gotten a tattoo before, you’ll have at least heard about the infamous white highlights. Word on the street is they hurt several times more than a regular tattoo without white highlights.
Tattoo artists don’t encourage white ink because it takes several applications to show up on your skin. Repeated needling on the same area can be painful, not to mention futile, because white ink tends to fade quickly or blend with surrounding inks.
White highlights hurt more because they are the last step of the procedure and usually involve stabbing at a freshly tattooed area.
The Other Factor: Tattoo Site
Tattoo site is yet another subjective pain contributing factor. It’s believed that the areas with more fat, thicker skin and fewer nerve endings hurt less than areas with less fat, thinner skin, and more nerve endings.
Least Painful Areas
Most Painful Areas
- Ankles and elbows
- Fingers and toes
- Hands and feet
Image Filename: hand-tattoo
Image Alt Text: A Woman with Blue-dyed Hair Holding a Hand to her Mouth, the Back of Which Appears to be Tattooed from Hand to Forearm
The Wrap Up
Pain is entirely dependent on the individual getting the tattoo. You may experience it during the outline or shading work or during or after the fact. However, the only way to not let it continue is to follow all the aftercare guidelines to prevent an infection.
If you’re ready to get inked for life, visit World Tattoo Portal to browse Rose Tattoo Designs For Men and Women or Unalome Tattoo Design Ideas For Inspiration With Meanings. Follow the informational blog to stay updated on the latest trends and research in the world of tattoo design.
Contact Brandon for further assistance.
About the Author
Olivia Beck is a graphic designer with a penchant for creating tattoo designs. She wears her designs on her sleeves (literally!) and likes to provide advice to anyone who reads through guest posts.