I'm a tattoo artist and if you don't want yours to hurt, here's the areas I'd avoid | The Sun

WE all know that getting a tattoo is a pretty painful experience.

When it comes to getting a inked, the chances are you'll have thought long and hard about what it'll be and where it'll go – but have you considered the pain scale? 

Given that tattoos last forever, we understand that aesthetic is likely to be the key priority for many.  

But it's certainly worth thinking about how painful the actual tattooing process will be, particularly if you’re not very good with pain. 

We spoke to tattoo artist Iain Parry, from Tattooine Tattoos, to get his opinion on the areas that are the most painful to get tattooed.

42-year-old Iain, from Leigh-On-Sea, Essex, has been tattooing for 18 years and not only has his own tattoo parlour but is covered in tattoos.

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Iain explained that: “Every single person is different – you might get someone that finds their wrist really painful, but other people will think it is fine.

“Tattoos are very subjective – some people will get their fingers done and not even bat an eyelid, whereas others find it very painful.

“A tattoo can feel so different in different areas on the body”. 

Iain revealed to us the most painful places to get tattoos, so if you've got a low pain threshold, you might want to think twice before getting a tattoo in any of these areas.

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If you are looking to get a tattoo but aren’t good with pain, you are best avoiding your palms.

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Iain explained: “The palm of your hand is excruciating, it is really, really bad.

“The way you feel pain most is down to the nerve endings, so the more endings you have in an area, the more it is going to hurt, and your sense of touch, your fingertips, are very, very sensitive.

“I’ve had both palms done and the inside of the fingers and is like no other pain.

“It doesn’t even feel like getting a tattoo done, it’s really bad. 

“It feels like your skin is being cut – it doesn’t feel like a tattoo when you’re getting your palms done.


Another painful area that you might want to avoid are your knuckles. 

According to Iain: “With the knuckles, it is a really strange sensation. 

“You haven’t got the layers of fact or the muscle there to act as a sort of shock-absorber. 

“In-between the two knuckles on the finger, you’ve got a bit of fat and muscle there, it feels a lot nicer than it does on the knuckle.

“If you’re going straight onto the bone, you will feel the vibrations a lot more and it will feel a lot more intense, not necessarily more painful but just more intense”. 


If you’re a tattoo virgin, the face is one worth avoiding according to Iain.

He explained: “I’ve done eyebrows and they are quite eye-watering. 

“For those having a first-time tattoo, don’t even bother with your face.

“I’ve done people’s faces before, but they are the ones covered in tattoos, so they know what they’re doing – but it’s certainly not your first tattoo kind of place”.

Inside of thigh

Another place where Iain flinches at the thought of the pain is the inside of the thigh.

Iain said: “The outside of the leg is a lot more weathered and the skin is used to being abused as such, so it doesn’t hurt as much but the inner thigh is very painful.

“Getting a tattoo on your inner thigh is really excruciating – it’s a really sharp feeling. 

“It’s a hyper-sensitive area, so it’s going to really hurt. 

“You’ve got much softer skin here – you only have to pinch your inner thigh and it’s going to hurt.

“Getting a tattoo on the inner thigh is a very intense pain – until you’ve felt it, it’s quite hard to explain”. 


One place that you may want to steer clear from if you’re not good with pain is your elbow.

Iain continued: “The inner and the outer elbow are sore places.

“In the ‘elbow ditch’ or the inside of the elbow, it’s very similar to the wrist – you’ve got a lot of main nerves and veins running through that area, so it’s a highly sensitive area.

“The elbow is similar to the ankle, it’s a very, very, strong sensation.

“For your first or second tattoo, I wouldn’t recommend getting an elbow tattoo, it’s not a particularly nice place to get a tattoo”.


Ribs are a place that although many people get tattooed, according to this tattooist, are actually quite painful. 

Iain continued: “Ribs are quite high up the pain scale.

“It is a very ticklish area and there’s a lot less muscle and fat on the ribs.

“Where you are ticklish, it means you have a lot of nerve endings there so it’s going to hurt a lot more.

“To the average person, the ribs are quite commonplace to get a tattoo and there are more painful places, for sure, but the ribs are pretty painful regardless”. 


Although the wrist is a commonplace area to get a tattoo, according to Iain, it is actually quite high up on the pain scale.

The tattoo whizz added: “You’ve got sensitive areas where your body needs to know where it’s been hurt and you’ve got a lot of running veins and stuff like that, particularly in your wrist. 

“I think the wrist is kind of underrated on the pain scale.

“The closer you get to your hand, it’s a really sharp painful area.

“The outside of the wrist is ok but the inside of the wrist and the side of the hand starts to get a bit more painful”. 

Sole of the foot

Iain explained that the sole of the foot is another painful place to get inked.

Iain revealed: “The sole of your foot is similar to the palm of your hand, it’s pretty hideous.

“With the sole of the foot and the palm of the hand, there’s a chance the tattoo will fall off – they can fade very, very quick.

“It’s not an ideal place for someone that is nervous or panicky.

“A lot of the time they will need to be touched up and revisited.” 

Top of the foot

The top of your foot is another commonplace area that is actually pretty high up on the pain scale. 

Iain revealed: “Your body's nerves are concentrated in your feet, so your feet are highly, highly sensitive areas.

“But because they aren’t a large area, a lot of people will get a little one there.

“However, they are a very jumpy, sensitive area”. 


Another area that might be worth avoiding if you’re not great with pain is the ankle.

Iain said: “The ankle is quite a sharp area.

“The only thing with boney areas is that it will be a slightly different sensation.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to hurt more, it is purely down to where the nerve endings are.

“Where your skin is softer and smoother, it’s going to hurt more”. 


And finally, according to this tattoo expert, your backside is an area that is surprisingly very painful.

Iain explained: “On your bum is really quite painful as well.

“It’s unexplainable but most people are surprised when I say it really hurts.

“As soon as my tattoo started creeping onto my bum, it was really horrible”.

The places that aren’t overly painful 

Iain advises that people shouldn’t let this put them off – as the pain is only temporary, but your tattoo will last forever.

However, if you haven't decided on a place to get your inking, but are desperate to get one, here are the safe places you should try. 

Outside of the arms

According to Iain, the outside of the arms are a pretty pain-free place to get inked. 

He explained: “Outside of the arms are generally fine.

“Most people would say the outside of the arm is an easier place. 

“If I was recommending a place for a first tattoo, the outside areas are generally safer areas.

“The outside of the arms are subject to the elements a lot more, they are a lot more desensitised – they are more weathered on the outside.”

Outside of the leg 

Another area that isn’t too painful, according to Iain, is the outside of the leg.

Iain continued: “The outside of the leg is not as sensitive as the inside.

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“The outside of your leg is typically ok.

“Most people are absolutely fine on the outside of the leg”. 

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