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Most Painful Places to Tattoo

When you think of a tattoo, a typical thought is pain. Although humans have varying levels of tolerance to pain, it is normal to experience at least some discomfort during a tattoo session. However, there are places on your body that you can avoid to truly reduce a painful experience. The body locations below are known to be the most painful places to get inked.

Neck & Spine

The neck and spine are sensitive regions in general, therefore a tattoo is not going to feel very pleasant. Many of the nerves affected in the neck could spread down into the spine and cause discomfort in other areas of your back or beyond.


The lips are known to be a painful location to tattoo since the surface is relatively thin with lots of nerve endings. This location is also likely to bruise and even bleed. Recipients of lip tattoos describe the feeling as skin ripping, stinging, or burning which sounds extremely intense.

Face & Ears

With little to no fat on the face and ears and many nerve endings, a tattoo on the face is not an ideal feel. No cushion for the needle could equal an excruciating experience.


Pain varies in stomach tattoos – it can be more painful since the stomach’s skin is elastic and stretches easily. If your skin is on the tighter side, you will likely experience less pain than an individual with looser skin.

Ribs & Chest

Tattoos on the ribs and chest are extremely popular and visible, which is why many love them. However, thin skin on bone and limited fat means a stress ball or other fidget might help alleviate the focus on the pain.


Headaches hurt, so imagine piercing your head repeatedly with a needle, not a happy feeling. The skull is one of the most sensitive areas to tattoo, so be sure this is really where you want your new portrait.

Hands & Feet

Hands, fingers, feet, and toes are the most painful place to get tattooed with their large number of nerve endings.


Another painful spot to tattoo is under the armpit where axillary nerves travel and run through your arms and shoulder for movement. The areas here will also be extreme because of all the glands and lymph nodes and many artists advise clients against this location.

Groin & Genital Area

This location that is rattled with nerve endings and lymph nodes is the groin and genital area. There are some meatier portions that may not be as intense, but it depends on your sensitivity.

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