The 6 Least Painful Places to Get a Tattoo

Updated July 28, 2022
Least Painful Places to Get a Tattoo

Are you worried about experiencing pain with your first tattoo? The pain of the tattooing process is a very real fear for some people. In fact, some even try to choose the least painful place to get a tattoo to minimize discomfort. And choosing the best spot can, in fact, make the process more comfortable.

Finding an area with fewer pain receptors or more muscle mass can make the tattooing process only mildly irritating rather than excruciating. Some areas of the body, like the shoulder, bicep, calf, and thigh, are likely to be less painful than others. But of course, given that tattoos are permanent, getting what you want where you want it is important as well.

The Least Painful Places to Get a Tattoo

Tattoos hurt, but some areas hurt more than others. However, if you are very susceptible to pain, there are several areas of the body that are large but still known to be less painful due to muscle and skin sensation. If you aren't stuck on a specific area for your newest ink, consider one of these less painful places for your ink.

The Shoulder

A woman is showing her tattoo on her back

Most people who get a shoulder tattoo will tell you it hurt very little. As it happens, pain receptors aren't evenly distributed along the skin. So, areas like the shoulders hurt less. In addition, the shoulder has a lot of cushion for the artwork, which means a needle isn't vibrating against the bone.

You can even test this theory out yourself by using your nail to poke yourself in the chest and then in the shoulder. Even though you use the same amount of pressure, the shoulder hurts less.

Bicep Area

Artist drawing tattoo on man's hand

A bicep is a great place for people to get their first tattoo because not only does it hurt less, but it is still highly visible and diverse. If you think about the physiology of the bicep, it makes sense that getting a tattoo there hurts less because there is a lot of muscle covering that bone. Consequently, the vibration of the machine and the repetitive motion of the needle is absorbed by the muscle. That's not to say it is completely painless, but a lot of people getting tattooed for the first time compare an arm tattoo to getting scratched by a cat.

The Forearm

Tattoo deer

The forearm is another area that offers a low pain option and works well for people getting their first tattoo. If you grab your forearm, you can probably understand why. This area of the body has a lot of flesh and muscle covering the bone. Like the bicep, this helps to absorb some of the more unpleasant side effects of tats, like vibration.

However, if you are considering this area, the closer you get to the wrist, the more it will hurt. This is because you are getting closer to the delicate bones and tendons.

Outer Thigh

Woman with thigh tattoo

The large muscle in this area makes it great for inking with only mild irritation. Additionally, this is a huge area, so any work done here can be expansive. The only real downfall with this area is that it is close to some of the most painful areas, like the knee and groin area.

However, if you stay in the area with dense muscles like the front or side of the thigh, it's a less painful experience. You might also try the back side of the thigh as well.

Calf Area

Calf Tattoo

The calf is a highly visible area for getting colorful designs. The thick calf muscle also works as a buffer for tattoo work. While the shin bone can be irritating because of the lack of muscle, the pain of this area is duller than in other areas.

Therefore, you can choose to get a tattoo on just the calf alone, or one that wraps around the leg. The pain isn't as severe as other areas of the body.

Gluteus Area

A tattoo artist doing a tattoo on someones back

The gluteus (aka the buttock) is also another place that offers limited tattooing discomfort. The massive muscles that protect your pelvis bones while you sit are the reason for this. While the gluteus isn't a common place to get a tattoo, if you were considering it, now you know.

However, you do sit on this muscle. This can make the healing process a bit more difficult.

Your Least Painful Tattoo Spots

While these are the areas that are considered the least painful to tattoo, this does vary by person. For example, those with little muscle mass might find these areas more uncomfortable than, say, a person that has a high amount of muscle mass.

Additionally, your personal pain tolerance comes into play. While it might seem like having more body fat would make a tattoo less painful, this isn't the case. The pain receptors for the skin come into play, so even an area with more body fat might be painful. The pain of tattooing is an individual experience for everyone.

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The 6 Least Painful Places to Get a Tattoo