Published on 7 March 2023 at 19:59

When thinking about getting a new tattoo, one of the most popular search terms in Google is questioning how painful it is going to be. 
Thinking about the fact that tattoos are basically done by repeatedly piercing your skin’s top layer with a sharp needle will undoubtedly be uncomfortable - at least in the beginning.

While everyone’s pain tolerance is different, which are the areas of the body that generally hurt the most to get inked? And how can you minimize your discomfort if you are determined to have one of these sensitive areas tattooed?

What makes certain parts of the body painful when getting a tattoo?

Before we dive into our most painful body parts list, let’s clarify what makes certain areas of the body painful places to get a tattoo.

The parts of your body with more “fat” are generally the least painful areas to get tattooed. Hence logically the boniest parts of your body should be the most painful and sensitive places to get a tattoo. However the areas where the tattoo needle is sure to hit bone, aren’t the only uncomfortable spots to get tattooed. For example; the armpit and back of the knees aren’t bony, yet they top the lists when it comes to the most painful places to get a tattoo.

You’ve been warned! 

Head - Your head has sensitive skin, will bleed a lot, and there is no muscle so you will feel the needle vibration.

Ribs - This is the most painful spot even for veterans. The skin is thin and tight, there’s no muscle and the groves make it challenging. Although in other areas of your body you may get used to the pain, with the ribcage and chest, the pain is persistent, unless you use tattoo numbing cream

Elbow - Your elbow is pure skin and bone, plus it will need to be bent awkwardly during the session.

Inner Arm/Arm Pit - The sensitive nerves in your inner arm will react instantly to the needle. The sensation is often described as a scratching burn. The armpit is the location of glands and lymph nodes which is why it is one of the most painful places to get a tattoo.

Feet - The tops of the feet and ankle bone are the most painful due to the thin skin and proximity to bone.

Sternum - This area is painful because of the needle on bone but also because you will feel vibrations from your chest to your stomach.

Chest - Your chest is mostly bone so prepare to feel the intense vibration the whole time. Although in other areas of your body you may get used to the pain, with the ribcage and chest, the pain is persistent, unless you use tattoo numbing cream. 

Spine - Your spine is all bone with a cord full of nerves. Ouch. 

Hands - Bones, ligaments, thin skin and tons of nerves makes for a lot of pain.

Back of Knee - The thin back here is rarely touched making the area super sensitive.

Numb the pain with Original TKTX

There is no need to cancel the tattoo of your dreams just because of the fear of painful areas. Make sure you invest in a topical anesthetic from TKTX, which you apply to your skin at least 1 hour before getting tattooed (the time in advance depends on the area you are applying the cream on and the desired length of time or duration). 

Our numbing creams will make sure you won’t feel any pain during your session, and guarantees that your tattoo artist can do their work properly - win win!


For tattoos, we highly recommend our best seller TKTX Green 40. It’s our strongest color of deep numbing tattoo creams with the ability to last between 3-5 hours.

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