Armpits are the most painful spot to get a tattoo. The skin in and around the armpit will begin to immediately swell as the tattooist is still working.
Different people will 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 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.
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 in the front of the arm below the biceps 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, 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 in my experience.
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 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. As the customer will likely sit still, or more still, then they otherwise would throughout the tattoo session.
You should however ensure that any cream or spray 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 have found most of them to be very effective (some didn’t work). I recently tested one with Lidocaine 5%, Prilocaine 5% and Epinephrine 1% when I got the blackout sleeve on my right arm.