How to Minimize the Pain of Getting a Tattoo

Getting a tattoo will never be a walk in the park, but it can be less painful if you take a few simple precautions.

Close
X
Playback

Up next in Tattoos, Piercings & Other Body Art (12 videos)

Ready for a little body art? Learn about tattoos, piercings, and henna in these Howcast videos.

You Will Need

  • A licensed tattoo artist
  • A morning appointment
  • Loose clothing
  • A full stomach
  • A non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Deep breaths
  • Scrupulous aftercare
  • A topical anesthetic

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Go to a licensed tattoo artist who sterilizes their equipment and uses disposable needles and gloves. The discomfort of getting tattooed is nothing compared to the pain of getting an infection from it.

  2. Step 2

    Schedule your tattoo for the morning. This is when your pain tolerance is highest, thanks to peak levels of adrenaline, a hormone that helps us endure pain.

  3. Step 3

    Wear loose clothes, especially if they are going to be covering your new tattoo.

  4. Step 4

    Eat something before you go to reduce the chances of passing out from a combination of nerves and hunger.

  5. Step 5

    Take a non-aspirin pain reliever like ibuprofen about 20 minutes before the procedure.

  6. Don't drink alcohol or take aspirin in the 24 hours beforehand; it will thin your blood, increasing bleeding.

  7. Step 6

    Choose an area of your body that has more flesh and less bone and nerve endings, like biceps, calves, and thighs, rather than bony areas or nerve centers like the rib cage, top of foot, and abdomen.

  8. Step 7

    Know what to expect. The pain is often described as a cat scratching your sunburned skin. Breathe deeply, focus on your breath, and try not to move. The post-tattoo pain will feel the same, minus the cat.

  9. Step 8

    During the procedure, if the pain is intense, your tattoo artist can apply a topical anesthetic. Think carefully before you ask for one; side effects include a longer healing time and a loss of color in the finished product.

  10. Applying excess amounts of a high-concentration topical anesthetic and covering up the tattoo afterward can result in seizures.

  11. Step 9

    Follow the tattoo artist's instructions regarding aftercare. The tattoo should heal in about three weeks, during which time you shouldn't swim or expose it to the sun. After that, go ahead and flaunt it!

  12. Democrats are slightly more likely to have tattoos than Republicans and independents.

Comments