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Written by Kieran Proctor

What Is The Most Painful Spot To Get A Tattoo?



Armpits are the most painful spot to get a tattoo. The skin in and around the armpit, will begin to swell immediately on contact with the needle, as the tattooist is still working.

Different people will all have different levels of sensitivity to pain. Yet, with that said, the armpit region is considered by almost all tattoo clients to be the most painful region to get a tattoo.

The armpit was the most painful region that I’ve had tattooed. The sensation is hard to explain. But I could best described it as feeling like I was being attacked with red hot razor blades.

armpit and elbow tattoo pain
He loves tattooing elbows and armpits

The elbow is the second most painful place to get a tattoo

People will often quote the elbow as the second most painful region to be tattooed. It’s second only to the armpit.

Yet, for me personally, the elbow wasn’t as bad as the inner elbow. That dip on the front of the arm below the biceps, that’s called the ante cubital fossa.

The ante cubital fossa is where the veins are that are used for taking blood samples. The ante cubital fossa hurt like a m****r f****r.

The second my tattooist begun to tattoo my ante cubital fossa (elbow ditch), I started swelling almost immediately. And I’ve always found that the spots that begin to swell, before the tattooist is finished, are the most painful for me.

In contrast my ribs, which a lot of people say are a painful part of the body to have tattooed, didn’t cause me much discomfort. The skin on my ribs didn’t begin to puff up or swell and I experienced a lot less discomfort, than the inner ditch of my elbow or when I had the area around my armpit tattooed.

With that said, there are creams and sprays available for those who are sensitive to pain. They often contain lidocaine and should only be used under the guidance of experienced tattoo professionals.

Using a tattoo numbing cream is not cheating

Using tattoo numbing creams isn’t cheating. Everyone’s pain threshold when getting a tattoo is different. Levels of pain tolerance vary dramatically.

I’ve seen muscly looking bikers, grown men, cry in pain during tattoo sessions. And while getting the same spots done, I’ve seen skinny little gamer guys barely flinch.

You can generally tell in advance if a particular spot is going to be painful for you. Just touch the area and think about whether or not you’d be okay with a tattoo needle in that region.

If you believe that an area is likely to be beyond your tolerance for pain, look into using a tattoo numbing cream or spray. Ask your tattooist if they use (or could use) a numbing product.

Most tattooists are fine with the use of numbing creams and sprays. Because the customer will likely sit still, or more still, than they otherwise would throughout the tattoo session.

You should however ensure that any cream or spray that you’re using, is specifically designed for tattoos. Don’t use medical products. Only a registered medical professional should use medical products. Instead, use a tattoo specific product for your tattoo session.

I’ve personally used a bunch of different numbing creams over the years and I’ve found most of them to be very effective (some didn’t work). I recently tested one, when I got the blackout tattoo sleeve on my right arm.

Mad Rabbit Numbing Cream
The tattoo numbing cream that I use.
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