Where is the most painful place to get a tattoo?

If you want a tattoo, you may be wondering how much it will hurt. Pain is a common concern, with many people citing this as a reason for not getting inked. Some parts of the body hurt more than others when getting tattooed, with the most painful places tending to be those with the thinnest skin, least fat, and most nerve endings. Read on to find out which areas are likely to hurt the most when getting a tattoo.

Most painful places to get a tattoo

The placement of your tattoo can strongly affect how much pain you experience. Although there’s little scientific evidence to say which areas of the body feel the most pain when getting tattooed, many tattooists and tattoo removal experts believe that those areas with minimal fat, thin skin and many nerve endings are the most painful. Pain in these areas can be quite severe in some cases.


The armpit is probably the most painful place to get inked. The pain can be so intense that some tattooists advise against tattooed in this area. One of the reasons tattoos in the armpit hurt so much is the presence of the axillary nerve, which is the main nerve running up and down your arm. This is connected to several nerve endings, making your armpit very sensitive to pain.

Rib cage

The rib cage is the second most painful place to get tattooed. Pain here can be very intense due to the skin around the ribs being so thin and there being less fat here than on other parts of the body. Plus, because each time you breathe you move your rib cage, the pain can feel even more severe.

Ankles and shins

Ankle and shinbones are covered by very thin layers of skin, making it incredibly painful to get tattooed there. The level of pain is usually on par with that caused by tattooing on the rib cage. Shin tattoos are particularly painful due to the skin’s proximity to the leg’s bones. The feeling of the needle near to tibia can create an intense throbbing sensation that radiates to the ankle and knee.


The groin area is a particularly painful area to get tattooed. This is because it has a large number of nerve endings as well as lymph nodes under the skin. The needle can seriously irritate these nerves and nodes, leading to a great deal of pain in some cases.


The elbow can be an extremely painful spot to get tattooed. This is because there’s such little cushion over the joint bones, as well as a lot of nerve endings. It can also be quite a difficult spot to actually tattoo since the elbow skin is so used to bending and twisting to perform normal daily activities. This also makes it a tricky area to heal.


Hip tattoos are very popular, particularly with women. They’re often extended from the hip down the top/outside of the thigh. The hip can be a very painful spot to get tattooed due to the skin being very thin across the hip bones, not to mention there being incredibly sensitive nerve endings in this area.
Other painful areas to get a tattoo include the neck and spine, head, face and ears, lips, hands, fingers, feet and toes, inner bicep, and stomach. Keep in mind that not everyone experiences pain in the same ways and an area that some people might find painful when getting a tattoo could be perfectly acceptable for others.

Post Author: Mabel Rowland