Where is the least painful spot for a tattoo?

Tattoo FAQ

/By

Kieran

The least painful spots for a tattoo are those areas with the least blood vessels and nerve endings. Typically the shoulders, upper back, outer forearms, calves and outer thighs are the least painful spots to have tattooed.

From my own experience, the arms in general are the least painful spots to have tattooed. With the exception of the inner upper arm near the armpit and the elbow or antecubital fossa.

What are the most painful spots to get a tattoo?

The armpit region and the antecubital fossa are the two most painful spots to have tattooed.

The region at the front where the Pectorals Major attaches to the Humerus, just above the armpit, is the third most painful spot I’ve had tattooed. 

Should I avoid painful spots for my first tattoo?

If you’re a beginner considering your first tattoo, it can be a wise choice to stick with the least painful spots to start your tattoo journey. But you shouldn’t base your tattoo placement ideas on what will hurt less.

If you have your heart set on a particular tattoo placement, the level of pain attributable to a given spot becomes irrelevant. The pain is temporary but the tattoo is permanent.

Get the tattoo where you want it. Based on where you believe it will look its best. The most important factor you should take into consideration when deciding on tattoo placement should always be where you’d be most happy to have the tattoo.

The pain you can either sit through, or reduce with tattoo numbing creams and tattoo numbing sprays.

Definitely don’t let the level of pain involved in getting a particular spot tattooed influence your decision on whether or not to have a particular spot tattooed.

Use a tattoo numbing product if the spot you want tattooed happens to be a particularly painful spot. 

The type and size of a tattoo will also influence the level of pain or discomfort you feel

I have friends who have had the antecubital fossa region tattooed and are of the opinion it doesn’t hurt that much. On the other hand, I found it to be excruciatingly painful.

The difference between our experiences comes down to the type of tattoo and the time it took to complete.

They have a little tattoo that took 30 minutes or less on their antecubital fossa region. I have a solid color tattoo on one arm and a blackout on the other.

I can tell you now and in no uncertain terms, the antecubital fossa in solid black or solid color is not a fun spot to have tattooed. 

antecubital fossa tattoo

How to tell if a spot will be painful to tattoo? 

Your armpits, the inside of your upper arms and the inside of your thighs are where the majority of your major blood vessels are located.

Through evolution they’re located on the inside so you’re less likely to cut them on sharp objects. And they have more nerve endings around them.

Now, imaging crunching up in the fetal position. All the spots you cover with other parts of your body are where the major blood vessels are.

The inside of your elbow (antecubital fossa), inside of the biceps, armpits, groin, inside thigh, back of the knee are all the spots you’d cover up when you are in the fetal position.

Those covered spots are where all the major blood vessels and arteries are located close to the surface. They’re the spots that hurt the most to tattoo.

Through evolution you are hardwired to protect those spots from sharp objects. And to be tattooed in those spots you are willingly putting a sharp object in those areas. Potentially, for hours on end.

See, the easy way to tell if something is going to be particularly painful is to take into consideration if its a spot you’d cover up when in the foetal position. If it is a spot you’d cover up, it’s going to be a particularly painful spot to tattoo.

If you don’t cover that spot in the fetal position and its on the outside of your body, its generally a less painful spot. And when we say less painful we don’t mean pain free.

Everybody has a different threshold for pain. Not painful for some is excruciating for others. It just means that in those spots you’ll personally feel it less than if it’s a spot with major blood vessels and nerve endings.

If you’re worried about pain when getting tattooed you should use a tattoo numbing cream or tattoo numbing spray. They aren’t cheating. Everyone has a different tolerance for pain.

I’ve personally used the tattoo numbing cream from Tattoo Numbing Cream Co. and have found it to be very effective. It contains Lidocaine 5%, Prilocaine 5% and Epinephrine 1%.

You can find their tattoo numbing cream here