Tattoos hurt. Period. People who claim they don’t hurt, are lying or have some fetish for pain. Every one’s thing, of course. How much pain a tattoo will cause depends on many factors.
- Personal pain tolerance. Some people can take pain more easily than others.
- Body composition. People with a lot of muscles will suffer more than people without muscles, very skinny people will have most likely more pain than people with a little more fat.
- Environmental factors. Many experience the pain more intensely when they suffer from cold or are irritated by the heat.
- Personal factors. Stress, sadness and fatigue can all cause you to experience the tattoo as more painful.
Although we can not change the fact that tattoos will hurt, there are some things that you can do to make it more bearable.
Moisturizing yourself not only ensures that your body functions will work optimally, you also ensure that your skin becomes hydrated and elastic. The ink will be absorbed more easily by the skin and you will suffer less from the pain.
Avoid alcohol at least 24 hours in advance. If you do drink alcohol, you will dry out, your blood will dilute and if you have a hangover the next day, the tattoo will feel like hell.
Reload as much energy as possible
Eat and sleep well so that you can get your tattoo with as much energy as possible. If your battery is already half empty, it is also logical that you will bear the pain of the tattoo less long.
Make good use of breaks
Breaks will cause your natural adrenaline to reduce and the tattooed skin to become irritated. After a break, getting tattooed over the same spot over and over again can feel 10 times more intense. So if you really need a break, keep it as short as possible and increase your energy by eating a sugar-rich snack or drinking something like fruit juice.
The more you focus on the tattoo needles penetrating your skin, the more difficult it will be to endure the pain. Focussing on something else like music can keep you distracted and will keep yourself calm for a while.
The more you panic during the tattoo, the more energy you will consume before the tattoo is finished and the more difficult the end will be.
Especially with first tattoos you don’t want to overestimate yourself. Although every tattoo hurts, some places will be more painful than others. So do not choose a tattoo that will take 6 hours on a place that is extremely painful to get tattooed on, if you know that you cannot take pain very well.
Practice on breathing techniques
Paying attention to breathing is a very good tool to deal with pain. Many people hold their breath while getting tattooed, this only causes muscles to contract and pain to be felt more intensely, causing people ending up with less energy. Paying attention to the breathing ensures that you will end up in your zen zone more easily and it will therefore get more bearable to get trough the tattoo.
Avoid emotional or physical factors
Do not get tattooed if you are ill, if you’re having your period or if you do not feel well enough mentally (for example after a funeral). Your mental state will ultimately also ensure that you can physically handle less.
Do you end up having more pain than you can bear when getting tattooed, then you can do 2 things, either you persist and you keep telling yourself that at one point it will end, or you decide to get the tattoo done in several sessions. This 2nd option will most likely cost you more and with artists with a waiting list there will most likely be some time in between before the tattoo is completely finished.
Always keep in mind, no matter how much pain you think you have, nagging, moving and crying are all elements that will make the tattoo take longer and may make the tattoo look less good.