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do tattoos hurt?

Let’s start with the bad news, yes it hurts… but the good news is the pain is not intense.


How does tattoo pain feels like?

What we hear most is mosquito bite, small paper cut, cat scratch, electric charge of small amount or a burning sensation. It is definitely not anything like giving blood, because the tattoo needle penetrates into the skin only millimetrically. We leave the ink in the upper half of dermis layer which lays way above fat tissue and veins.  To give you some relief the first reaction of most first-timers is…

“Is this it? That’s really it? I can handle that.”

What’s even better is that the skin gets accustomed to the feeling and numbs after first 5 minutes and you begin to feel even less pain.


What does the level of pain depend on?

The intensity of pain depends on a couple of different factors. 

Tattoo Pain Chart
  • Personal Pain Tolerance

  • Momentary physical condition and mood

  • Tattoo artist’s technique

  • Having more sensitivity in one area

  • Amount of nerve endings in an area

  • Amount of muscles, flesh and bones in an area


The single most important thing you can do to lessen the pain of a tattoo is to relax.

If you are too tense, you unconsciously contract nearby muscles and tendons, which increases the pain of the tattoo no matter where it is on the body, or how light the touch of the artist. Take some deep breaths, let calm thoughts in and let the artist work, you may be surprised in the end just how little you felt. Being in a good shape physically and mentally increases your pain tolerance where being too tired, hangover or anxious do the opposite.

The pace, pressure and technique of your artist are also important factors. Needles used for lining are the least painful.  Whereas magnum needles used for shading and coloring have larger tips and can be applied a bit deeper into the skin to get the desired effect.      


Areas with more nerve endings and less flesh feel more painful. Getting an area tattooed directly over the bone will also hurt more where the vibration amplifies pain. Always keep in mind that we are all physically unique and no matter what you hear from friends, your experience will be different. The prime painful areas on human body are ribs, groin, head, face, ankles, hands and feet. Choose a less painful area for your tattoo if you are really sensitive, or really worried. Muscly or fleshy places hurt least like your arms, shoulders, legs, and some parts of your upper chest or back.

As a general observation women tend to tolerate pain better than man and most think it is much milder than laser epilation pain.


How long does a tattoo take?

It can take 10 minutes or 10 hours. It depends on the style, size and location. We usually split big pieces into sessions. There are couple of things you might want to consider before getting your first tattoo. We do not recommend starting with a full sleeve or a big back piece. The pain threshold generally drops low after 3-4 hours, and the pain which was tolerable first can become tiring.


Do you use a numbing medicine?


We use topical anesthetics only if it is really necessary as it may affect the quality of the end result. Don’t forget that your first tattoo will hurt but the pain will be really short compared to the lifelong love of it.


Additional tips before getting inked

Come to your appointment with full stomach

No alcohol & drugs & painkillers before tattoo application (because they thin the blood )



All that being said we see pain as a fair price to pay to wear permanent, beautiful, meaningful art. Some even enjoy it as an important part of the tattooing ritual. A surprising amount of what you will feel is up to you. I personally think accepting the pain is much easier than fighting it.

Just keep calm and let’s get you inked...

Want to read more? Please keep on with; Tattoo Aftercare



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