Getting a tattoo will hurt, no matter how much you are looking forward to it. Even the most stoic of individuals may wince when getting inked and opt for numbing cream for tattoos. However, with some time and preparation, you can reduce the pain of getting a tattoo and make the experience more bearable.
Everyone experiences tattooing differently and some may find that they have a higher threshold for pain than others. The trick is to manage your expectations and be prepared for the discomfort. In order to cope with your tattoo and reduce the discomfort as much as possible, check out our five tips to better cope with tattoo pain.
What Does Getting a Tattoo Feel Like?
Even though they move extremely quickly, a tattoo gun is still piercing your skin with needles kind of like a sewing machine. They have to pierce deeply enough to penetrate your dermis, which is the second layer of your skin, about 1.5 to 2mm down, or about 1/16”. Receiving a tattoo can be described as stinging, burning, scratching, vibrating, or a dull sensation.
Find the Right Artist for You
Finding the right artist for your tattoo is the first step towards a positive experience. Ideally, you should spend some time researching potential artists and visiting their studios before choosing one. You should also make an effort to be clear about what you are looking for and communicate your design ideas to the artist.
If you are still new to the world of tattoos and don’t know where to begin, try to find an artist who specializes in smaller designs. This will allow you to focus on the experience of getting your tattoo without having to deal with the excessive pain of a large, complex design. Additionally, you should feel comfortable and at ease with the artist. This will make the experience more enjoyable and help you to reduce any pain and anxiety.
Pick the Right Spot for Your Tattoo
When it comes to receiving a tattoo, it’s important to make sure that you pick the right spot. While a lot of this is personal preference, there are practical considerations as to how much pain you’ll experience.
- Outer upper arm
- Front and back shoulder
- Upper and lower back
- Upper chest
- Outer and front of the thigh
Breathe and Find Your Happy Place
Tattooing can be a painful process. Therefore, it might be helpful to focus on your breathing during the procedure. If you are breathing deeply and regularly, you will find it easier to manage the pain. You can also try to focus on a happy place during the appointment. For some people, getting tattooed can be a very stressful and anxiety-inducing process; it may help to focus on a relaxing activity or memory that takes your mind off the pain.
Don’t Be a Hero
While you may be eager to get your latest design inked, you need to decide how much discomfort you are willing to endure. If you are particularly sensitive to pain, you might want to consider a smaller design. If you want something larger than your average tattoo but are worried about the pain, ask your artist about tattoo numbing cream and pain management techniques.
If you go in expecting the experience to be extremely painful, you may be so focused on expecting the pain that you simply can’t relax and think of anything else. Instead, go in with a more relaxed mindset and focus on the artist’s techniques and how your body feels. Try to think about other things that make you feel calm, use meditation techniques, or bring headphones and your favorite tunes.
Have Someone With You During the Tattooing Process
If you’re planning on getting a tattoo and you know that you’re more sensitive to pain, it may be a good idea to have someone with you throughout the process. Having someone with you will help to keep you calm and will also help to keep you focused on something other than the pain. This can also give your artist a better idea of how you’re reacting to the tattooing process, as your companion may have an impartial take on how the experience is going for you.
Having a Positive Tattoo Experience
When you get a tattoo, it’s important to know what to expect from the experience. For most people, the pain isn’t unbearable. However, for others, it can feel like it will never end. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to cope with the pain and minimize discomfort. By choosing the right tattoo artist, picking the right spot, practicing your breathing, being realistic about how much pain you can tolerate, and having some company along, you’ll be able to make the experience more enjoyable.