These Are The Most And Least Painful Spots You Can Get A Tattoo

When considering a tattoo, many things are likely to go through your mind: What should you get? Should it be meaningful? Where should it go? Will you regret a half-sleeve of pizza slices? You know, all those types of questions. And, if you're relatively new to tattoos, there's a decent chance you might wonder whether the spot on your body you've chosen is going to hurt or not. But the first rule about tattoos? They all hurt. There are just some places that hurt a bit less (or more) than others.


"Imagine the areas that hurt when you are pinched," New York-based tattoo artist Gianna Caranfa tells Insider. "The inner biceps would hurt more from a pinch versus the top of your forearm, this relates to tattooing too." Well, there you go. Once you stop pinching random body parts, take a seat and check out this list. Here are the most and least painful spots to get a tattoo.

Most painful: armpit

You'd be surprised where some people choose to get tattoos, and the armpit is, surprisingly, on that list. It's also, according to experts the most painful place on the body to get a tattoo, like, ever (via Saved Tattoo). In fact, when it comes to extreme pain, although other areas come close, the armpit really takes the cake on this one, getting a whopping 10 on a pain scale from one to 10.


"There are a number of nerve endings near the armpit, which explains why people are so ticklish there — and why the skin in that area is extremely sensitive," tattooist Noah Lee tells Refinery29. Considering the pain level of this spot, this is actually an ideal place for those who love the pain that comes with getting tattoos. It's that endorphin release that can, despite the discomfort, feel really good, making tattoos addictive for endorphin junkies (via Healthline). But if you don't consider yourself an endorphin fiend, then maybe choose someplace else. 

Least painful: upper outer thigh

When it comes to tattoos that aren't going to have those with a low pain tolerance screaming so loud that the entire city can hear them, the upper outer thigh is a good place to choose if you want to avoid such a dramatic episode. The reason this spot is so low on the pain scale is because it has extra padding, making it further from the bone, and it has fewer nerve endings (via Best Health). This is an ideal combination when getting a tattoo that doesn't hurt too much. It still hurts, but not in a way that makes you want to scream like a banshee.


Also, the upper outer thigh, as well as all side pieces, are considered the sexiest spots for tattoos (via Inked). Although upping your sexy game with your new ink may not be at the top of your priority list, it is something to keep in mind in case you want to take your sexiness to the next level at some point. 

Most painful: rib cage

While the rib cage may not have the same nerve ending count as the armpit, the fact that it's right there on the ribs, with minimal padding, makes this spot super painful — sexy, but painful. "You don't have as much fat, muscle, or skin on your ribs, meaning you will feel the scratching of the needle a lot more," founder and CEO of online tattoo marketplace Inkbay Fredrik Glimskär tells Cosmopolitan. "[Also] the ribs move every time you breathe, which makes the tattooing process more painful."


If the idea of feeling the "scratching of the needle" makes your skin crawl but you still want a rib cage tattoo, then numbing creams are an option (via Tattify). Granted, traditionalists who believe that tattoos and the pain that comes with them are part of the whole experience aren't likely to advocate for this, but it's still an option if only a rib cage (or armpit) tattoo will do for you. 

Least painful: forearm

If you do the pinch test on your forearm, you'll see that the forearm is a safe place for getting a tattoo, at least compared to other places on the body (via Healthline). But while this spot may not hurt as much as others, tattoo artists warn that even if you pick your forearm because you're trying to avoid the pain, the size of the tattoo and type of tattoo can throw out the whole idea that the forearm isn't so bad after all. 


"Your mindset coming into a tattoo and being internally ready for discomfort is very important," London-based tattoo artist Mishka tells Newsweek. "Then there are other factors such as the length of the session, no matter where on the body you get tattooed, after a few hours the whole area is swollen and eventually wiping the skin with a towel becomes as painful as the tattooing." So, sure, you've chosen the forearm for the placement, but if you're going for a big piece with bold, thick lines, all bets are off.

Most painful: ankles and shins

Rounding out the top three painful places to get tattoos are ankles and shins. And, again, because we're coming back to spots with little to no padding, we're also coming back to that scratching sensation. "I always tell my clients to imagine a cat continuously scratching them with hot claws," Brooklyn-based tattoo artist Anka Lavriv tells Allure. "It's definitely a very acute, in-the-moment kind of pain." 


But when deciding on where to get a tattoo, it's essential to consider that these places and their pain levels are the general consensuses. In other words, it's not a guarantee that the pain that's experienced will be the same for everyone. There are other factors that can play a role in the pain situation."Even not being in a good mood can affect how one deals with the discomfort of getting tattooed," Brooklyn-based tattoo artist Adam Suerte tells Bustle

Similarly, being hungry, hungover, or depending on where you are in your menstruation cycle can affect pain levels, too, all of which you want to consider when making your appointment. Or maybe you don't; maybe you're in it for the pain. If that's the case, enjoy the ride of endorphins and your lovely new ink.