Tattoo Pain Chart

A lot of people are interested in getting tattoos but don’t know what to expect when it comes to the pain. Is it going to hurt more on your arm or leg? Where does the pain start and where does it end? 

But don’t worry. We will provide information about each spot on the body that is least and most painful to get a tattoo. Also, if you’re looking for a great master, check out the tattoo artists in Denver who are highly recommended.

Tattoo Pain Chart

Tattoos hurt. There’s no way around it, and anyone who says otherwise is either a liar or hasn’t gotten any tattoos yet. But the truth is that some areas of your body are much more painful to tattoo than others.

Below is information that will give you an idea about how much it hurts to get different parts of your body tattooed.

Most Painful Areas to Get Tattooed

The most painful areas to get a tattoo is generally the same for everyone. This is because of the high concentration of nerve endings in these areas.


The armpit is one of the most painful places to get a tattoo, with an average pain rating of around seven out of ten. This is because the skin in this area is very thin and there are a lot of nerve endings.

Rib Cage

The rib cage is another most sensitive area for a tattoo. 

The pain of a rib cage tattoo will be so intense that you will feel like vomiting and fainting. Ribs are very sensitive to touch, pressure, and even slight movement can cause pain in the ribs area.

least painful tattoo spots

Ankles and Shins

The ankle and shin are two of the most common areas people get tattoos. The pain level is generally moderate, but some people report feeling more pain in one area over another.

There is a small bone on the inside of your ankle called the fibula. Some people find the tattooing process more painful in this area because the needle has to go through the skin and then into the bone.


Tattoos on the groin can be a painful experience. The skin is thin and there are very few muscles to cushion the needles, which makes it one of the most sensitive parts of your body when getting inked. You might find that you bleed a lot during this process but don’t worry too much as this only happens for around 20 minutes or so.

Elbows or Kneecaps

Elbows and kneecaps are two of the most painful places to get a tattoo. The skin is thin and there isn’t much padding over the bone. Also, the nerves and blood vessels are close to the surface, so it hurts more when the needle pierces the skin.

However, these body parts also have a low risk of complications. So if you can handle the pain, these areas offer some of the best results.

The Least Painful Areas to Get Tattooed

If you’re looking to get a tattoo but don’t want the pain, you’ll be happy to know that there are certain areas of the body that are less painful than others.

Inner Forearm

Inner forearm tattoos are a good choice if you’re worried about pain. There’s only one nerve in the inner forearm, so it will hurt significantly less than other areas of your body that have multiple nerves. Inner arm tattoos also heal quickly and are easy to cover up with clothing for work or university.

Upper Back

The upper back is generally considered to be one of the least painful places to get a tattoo. This is because there is plenty of flesh and muscle on the upper back to work with, and the skin is fairly thick. That said, everyone experiences pain differently, so some people may find that getting a tattoo on their upper back hurts more than they expected.

Shoulder Blades

Shoulder blades are also considered a part of the back, but you’ll be surprised to know that it doesn’t hurt as much as other parts of your back do. The skin is thick and there are fewer nerve endings here than on any other place in the body, so getting tattooed here will be less painful.

Shoulder blade pain relief

Outer Thigh

Outer thigh tattoos are not as popular as in other areas, but they can still look great. The pain level is not so bad, but it can be a bit uncomfortable. However, it can be painful on the outer thigh near your hip because of the bone. But if you want to cover a large area, then this is not such a good place for it.


A calf area is a good place for tattoos because it is relatively thin skin and has fewer nerve endings. This means that you will feel less pain when getting a tattoo on your calf compared to other areas of your body.

Factors that Affect Pain

The pain you will experience from a tattoo depends on many factors. Some people have higher thresholds for pain than others, and some locations hurt more than others. Below are some of the factors that will determine how much pain you feel:


Men may have a higher pain tolerance than women, but that doesn’t mean that tattoos don’t hurt. The most sensitive areas on both men and women are around the nipples. For men, the most tolerable places to get a tattoo are on the arms or chest. The least tolerable areas for men getting their first tattoo include:

  • Lower back (the spine is close to the bone in this area);
  • Rib cage and side of rib cage near ribs (due to nerves between skin and bones);
  • Ankles.

Women, on the other hand, seem to tolerate tattoos around their belly buttons and hips better than men. The most sensitive areas for women are:

  • The upper arm (in the crook of the arm);
  • Back of the neck;
  • Inner thigh.


Experience is a huge factor when it comes to tattoo pain. Some people barely feel anything, while others find the entire process excruciating. 

If it will be your first time getting a tattoo, you may want to start small with a design that’s not too detailed. You’ll get used to the sensation and be more comfortable in case you decide to go for a larger piece one day. 

Age and Weight

Age and weight are important factors when it comes to the amount of pain you can expect. As a rule, older people will feel more pain than younger ones, due to their skin being less elastic and therefore tougher for the needles to pierce through.

Weight is important because the needles have to go deeper into your skin, thus causing more pain. Fatty tissue also cushions the needles more than lean muscle, so people who are overweight will feel less pain.

Do small tattoos age well

How to Minimize Pain

There are ways to minimize the pain of getting a tattoo, and they are as follows:

  • Get a tattoo somewhere you have fat or muscle (not bone);
  • Eat a hearty meal and drink plenty of water beforehand;
  • Use a numbing cream if you’re especially sensitive to pain;
  • Make sure the studio is clean and uses disposable needles;
  • Sit still and remain calm during the process.

However, it is not recommended to take painkillers before getting a tattoo; the pain of getting a tattoo is short and manageable, so it’s not worth risking adverse side effects from any medication.


Tattoo pain is a very real thing, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. This can put you off if you are looking forward to getting your first tattoo. The best way that you can prepare for your tattoo is to make sure that you are in the right frame of mind and have realistic expectations.

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