(Last Updated On: September 17, 2019)

“Man må lide for skjønnheten” means “You gotta suffer for the beauty” in Norwegian. Yes, “Beauty is a pain” – this saying is especially true when it comes to tattoos. It’s understandable that getting tattooed comes with a bit of pain – since they are done by puncturing the skin over and over again with a mechanized needle to inject ink. And while pain thresholds are very individual, the fact remains that tattoos are not painless.

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However, some tattoos are more painful than others – depending on several things: How you feel in general, like if you have the flu or just feel run down. What tattoo style you are getting since they often have different types of pressure on your skin. The artist, some are more heavy-handed, some are slow workers. And lastly the Placement, which is my topic for today. All tattoos are quite sore but different places will feel worse depending on all of the above.

Related: Numbing Creams for a totally painless Tattoo.

I have been tattooing for 18 years, and during those years I have noticed the average client’s pain levels, and the general pain differences between the placements. Here are my top 10 most painful places to get tattooed:


The ribs are not ony one of the most painful places to get tattooed. It is also one of the most difficult places to tattoo. The skin is very stretchy and therefore takes longer to tattoo. It becomes bigger when you stretch out while being tattooed. So it hurts, takes longer and therefore more expensive.

Inner thigh

Imagine someone poking you with a stick, do you think it might hurt a bit on your inner thigh? Because of the nerves close to your private area, you will feel it spread to those places too. Not the best sensation in the world…


On the top of your foot, you almost have no flesh at all. There is just skin and bones. And nerves. Places like that are extremely painful to most people. On the sides there is a bit more flesh, but still pretty awful.


Inside the palms of your hands are the worst part of the hands. You might think since we use our hands often, and tend to manage cuts and bruises pretty well there, that it wouldn’t be so painful to get tattooed there. But it is truly painful. I remember seeing one of my friends get tattooed there once. A dotted mandala. He screamed like a girl! The fingers and top of the hand are also quite painful.

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Private Parts

All the private parts like Nipples and you know where, are the worst, I think. I don’t have anything tattooed there myself, but I have heard stories. I have tattooed a few Nipples, and they are the worst part of the entire upper body.


The tummy, belly, or stomach area is quite insane, really. I have one there, but I was smart enough to use Numbing Creme on it, after seeing how my clients reacted to getting tattooed on this area.

Check out: 7 things you need to know before getting tattooed


The whole front of the neck is highly painful. Especially the middle part, the throat. And also along the jaw.



Nerves, right? Are you ticklish in the armpit? Then imagine getting tattooed there! I would never dare too, I am way too scared of that kind of pain. A real wuss.


You know that egg trick on the knee, right? When you “smack an egg” with your fingers over your knee. That hits the nerves quite well, and so will tattooing.


The middle vertical line of the chest. The area of the chest with the least of flesh or muscle. Again, skin and bones, and nerves. Pretty awful, Yes!


Avoiding any one of those locations doesn’t mean your tattoo will be pain-free. I could probably mention more painful spots, but I had to keep the list somewhat short so that I don’t scare you off from getting tattooed. Some people are just born lucky to not feel as much pain as I do. I totally envy those people! Maybe you are one of those, then you won’t have any issues getting tattooed on any of these places. Lucky you!

But for those who are not so lucky to get these tattoos totally painless, you should check out my post Numbing Creams for a totally painless Tattoo, where I talk about numbing creams, and personally recommend super numb, Vasocaine spray or Hush gel.

Where do you think was your most painful tattoo? Comment below!

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