Most Painful Locations to Get a Tattoo

Painful Locations For Tattoos

Everyone knows that tattoos hurt. It’s just a given. But a big question tattoo studios get asked a lot is, what are the most painful locations on the body? Everyone has a different pain tolerance and while a tattoo is guaranteed to hurt a little it’s always good to know if you should expect more pain than usual. Here are the ten most painful locations to get a tattoo, so if you’re considering getting inked in one of these places, you’ve been warned.


Getting your hands tattooed hurts for a number of reasons. Your hands are full of bones and ligaments, which make it one of the top most painful locations. There’s limited muscle to cushion the needle and not to mention the skin on your hands is thin, making it more painful than other areas. A lot of artists will also tell you hand tattoos aren’t always worth it since they tend to fade faster. We also use our hands every day so really consider if you can function without the full use of one or both of them for a while.


Feet tattoos are more debatable. Some people have limited pain and would rank the foot as one of the most painful locations, while others say it’s the most excruciating. Most feet tats start off okay but the longer the session is the more painful it will get. The tops of the feet where the skin is thinner are there are fewer muscles to protect the bones and ligaments is by far the worse so prepare yourself. Almost everyone will tell you though to never get you anklebone tattooed.


The elbow is a painful place to get tattoos for two main reasons. One, it’s all skin and bone meaning you’ll feel the needle the whole time. And two, in order to keep the right proportion of the tattoo you’ll have to sit awkwardly with your arms bend uncomfortably to get it done. Your elbow will also swell incredibly making arm movement difficult. 

Back of Knee

Talking painful locations many people say the knee is a killer place to get inked but that is nothing compared to the back of the knee. The back of your knee might not have much bone to hit but it’s made up of thin skin with limited muscle. Tattoo artists also find it hard to tattoo that location simply because people aren’t accustomed to others touching them there, which makes your body more sensitive to the touch. 

Inner Arm

The inner arm has the same thin skin as the back of your knee. The nerves in your arm will also react instantly to the needle. While most areas throb or hurt people typically describe getting inked on the inner arm like a scratching burn. Enjoy that. It only gets worse the closer you get to the armpit too. Think a razor burn on top of a real burn. 


Chest tattoos hurt so much because of all the bone in that area. The skin in that area is thin and unless you have really developed pectoral muscles it’s going to hurt…a lot. Oh, and did we mention that you’ll feel the needle vibration the entire time in this area?


The sternum is painful for all the same reasons as the chest with a few extra as well. Sternum tattoos tend to be right on the sternum bone so which means more bone, vibration, and pain. Not to mention these tattoos tend to extend down towards the stomach meaning the vibrations and pain will spread that way too.


Getting tattooed on your head and face is not as painful as some of these other spots but it still hurts pretty bad compared to other areas. There’s almost no muscle on your head and the skin there is prone to bleeding a lot. You’ll also have to joy of feeling the needle vibrations through your skull which can be extremely painful and uncomfortable. 


The ribs are said to be one of the most painful spots. The skin there is tight and thin and there is almost no muscle to cover the sensitive bones in that area. Ribs are spread out leaving groves of skin and bone, both of which are painful for a needle to go over. Several breaks are common for rib tattoo sessions so prepare yourself if you select this location for your tattoo.


Your spine is all bone and nerves. What could possibly be painful about stabbing that repeatedly with a needle? The bones of your spine run from your neck to your lower back. This means you’ll feel pain and vibrations along there the whole way. If you want to avoid this pain try moving over just a little in either direction. That way you’ll miss the bones and instead hit the strong muscles that protect your spine, which hurts significantly less. 

Getting a tattoo means pain, but you can help decide how much based on what location you get tatted. Painful locations are in areas with bone or thin skin, so avoid them. The least painful places tend to be areas that have a lot of muscle and fat such as thighs and upper arms. At the end of the day though know that no matter where you get inked it is going to hurt. They say pain is beauty and that is certainly true when it comes it tattoos.

 10 Most painful places to get a tattoo


Leave a Reply