So you decided that 2017 will be the year you join the ranks of illustrated humans, or add to your ever expanding collection of body art. You may have decided on a design but you're pondering whereabouts to get tatted and wondering why do tattoos hurt more in certain spots? Depending on your pain threshold, this may or may not have an influence on where you get inked.
Of course, you might already have chosen the perfect position for your next tattoo and this may be none negotiable. It might be a piece of art that works incredibly well with a part of your anatomy and was designed with your body in mind. In this case, you obviously don't want to change your potential tattoo location just because it might hurt a bit more.
However, there could be a handful of different areas that your design may work well in. If you're spoilt for choice and your ink idea has the ability to work in a variety of areas, it might be worth taking into account which tattoos hurt the most and the least. Because why put yourself through unnecessary pain when you don't have to?
Bustle spoke with TJ Cantwell, owner of tattoo and piercing parlor Studio 28, to get the lowdown on why tattoos hurt more in certain spots.
"So pain is different for everyone, some deal with it better than others," says Cantwell in an email to Bustle. "Getting a tattoo feels different in every spot of your body. Areas that have more sensitivity always hurt more: Top of the feet, inside bicep, behind the knee, ribcage, and stomach to name a short list of some of the more painful places to get a tattoo done," he explains.
"We have people ask us all the time where is least painful to get a tattoo. Simply, the upper arm area tends to be the least sensitive place to get a tattoo. However you should never pick the placement for your tattoo based on how much it will hurt," Cantwell explains. "It is a tattoo, it will hurt wherever you get it done," he adds.
"But once it is done you cannot move it, so always get your tattoo done where you want to get it. Don’t worry about the pain," says Cantwell, "it will pass and you will have your tattoo to love for the rest of your life."
There are ways to lessen the pain though, if you have a particularly low pain threshold. "As far as anything to make it less painful, there are numbing sprays and creams that can be used but not on a small tattoo," Cantwell says. "They are only effective once the skin is open, so they are good for larger pieces that will take a few hours to complete."
You can choose to distract yourself from the pain too. "At Studio 28 we always tell the clients they are not paying us for our conversation," says Cantwell, "if you want to talk to get your mind off it, definitely talk with your artist. However, if you want to just put in headphones and zone out to your music or watch a movie or TV, then definitely do that. The best thing to do is to just not think about it."
The moral of the story is, tattoos hurt more in certain spots because different parts of the body are more sensitive. In addition to this, we're all different, so we all experience pain differently.
Your tattoo is (usually) for life, so get it exactly where you want it because it's going to hurt wherever you choose to get tatted — don't settle for second best and spend the rest of your life wishing you'd gotten inked in a different spot!