What's The Most Ideal Location For A First-Time Tattoo?

The process of choosing your first tattoo is no small feat. You'll carry the piece of art with you forever, and after lots of forethought and research, you'll likely come to find that the placement is just as important as the design.


And, of course, there are many other factors to consider when entering the first-time tattoo arena. You'll want to thoroughly research your options when it comes to tattoo artists and choose someone you trust. It's also key to take into account your pain tolerance. Do needles make you queasy? Are you going to need some emotional support by your side during the appointment? If pain is one of your top concerns, it may be wise to consider some of the less tender areas of the body, at least for your first tattoo.

"Times change, people change, but the tattoo and where you place it stays the same!" founder and owner of Iron & Ink Hawaro Juul Petersen told Sunday Edit. And as they say, ink can be addicting, so chances are you'll be back for more. Let's take a closer look at the most ideal location for a first-time tattoo.


Arms and thighs are ideal for a first tattoo

The more popular areas of the body for a first-time tattoo are the arms and thighs, as there is simply more flesh here and the experience won't be as intense as some of the more painful places you can get a tattoo, including the wrist, ribs, or ankle. It's also typically easy to cover up tattoos in these areas, if that's a concern of yours. And while it may be trendy to get tattoos in other spots, arm and thigh tattoos tend to heal beautifully.


"Tattoos will heal best on spots that don't get 'stressed' during the healing process and afterward," Hawaro Juul Petersen explained to Sunday Edit. "Tattoos on hands, fingers, knees, armpits, elbows, etc. often take longer to heal and they will often not last as long as tattoos in other places."

An exception to the arm being one of the most ideal spots for a first tattoo is the underside of the upper arm, which is full of nerves — ouch! The skin here is far more delicate than the bicep or forearm areas and is understandably not the best option for a first-timer (via Inked).

Be sure to keep up with aftercare

Once your first tattoo is complete, you can exhale that sigh of relief and relax — you did it! And hopefully you're beyond pleased with the results. Now, it's time for healing, which is not exactly a passive process. You'll need to be diligent in caring for your new tattoo, whichever placement you went for. "You should treat newly tattooed skin as an open wound and thus avoid any harsh chemicals, even if these may not typically irritate your skin," board-certified dermatology PA Jennifer Schloth told Byrdie. "Some people recommend avoiding petroleum-based moisturizers like Vaseline and Aquaphor, as they can clog your pores and cause an acneiform reaction of the skin."


For the first several weeks after getting your tattoo, there are few activities you'll want to avoid. Swimming, super hot showers, and direct sunlight are all no-gos. Workouts that'll cause you to sweat or stretch the tattooed area should also be avoided during this time. But it won't be long before you'll be able to return to your regular lifestyle — this time with some beautiful, new ink.