Hip Tattoo Pain - How Bad Does It Hurt?

Written by: Claudia

You’ve narrowed down your placement and decided on tattooing your hip. But now you’re wondering about how much it will hurt. Our Tattoo Pain Series of articles looks at the most popular tattoo locations and gives you the rundown on what you can expect in regards to pain.

How Much Do Hip Tattoos Hurt?

Hip tattoos are a great placement option for a few reasons. First, you have a big piece of real estate to work with and whether you’re ready to commit to something large right off the bat or work up to expanding upon a small design, there’s lots of space to do so. Second, it’s a discreet space that’s easily hidden for work or personal reasons. And third, it’s actually not that sensitive in this region and though every tattoo hurts to some extent, the hip’s tolerance is quite high.

This is because our hips are usually quite fleshy or have a lot of muscle. This not only provides a bit of comfort to the trauma of being tattooed, but it also means that it’s easier for an artist to find where to deposit the ink and the skin doesn’t need to be overworked as much.

tattoo pain chart

The only place where the skin thins and where your pain receptors could be heightened is around your hip bone and down closer to your groin area. If you stick to the side of your hip, you’ll generally be okay, but if you move around, especially closer to the front, you need to be prepared for heightened pain sensations. In addition, tattooing directly on the hip bone generally causes a bit of needle rattling which can create vibrations which are more annoying than painful.

Pain is an individual experience. If you’re unsure as to whether the pain will be within your own threshold, start with a small design and build upon it on your hip.

How to Make Hip Tattoos Hurt Less

If you’ve decided to move forward with getting a hip tattoo, we totally get it; these tattoos look sleek and there’s so much skin space to work with. Here are a few suggestions on minimizing the pain during and after your session.

  • Consider a small hip tattoo further away from your hip bone or groin region and expand upon this design later. The hip bone is sensitive because it feels like your artist is tattooing directly on the bone, when he is obviously not. Stick to the fleshier parts of your hips and expand upon the design at a later date if you feel capable of handling the pain.
  • Schedule your session for the morning. Your adrenaline and endorphins are at a peak directly after you wake up, so you’ll be less responsive to the pain if you schedule your tattoo earlier in the day.
  • Break your sessions up into more tolerable lengths. Whether that means doing an outline on one day and coming back to do color or shading, or whether that requires just asking your artist for breaks during your session, don’t push yourself to do more than you can handle.
  • Get a good night’s rest and stay sober. Avoid drinking 24 hours before your tattoo and skip the drinks afterwards. Rest not only helps your body deal with trauma better, but skipping the alcohol also prevents dehydration and speeds up the healing process.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and avoid tight fitting pants or underwear. Since you’ll have to remove or pull down articles of clothing to tattoo your hip, you don’t want anything that will make you feel uncomfortable or that will press against the wound when your tattoo is complete. If it’s winter, the easiest solution to this issue is that we recommend wearing pajama shorts underneath long pajama pants, so you only need to remove the pants, and nothing will be tight upon completion!
  • Keep yourself distracted during your session. Tattoo pain is often a game against your mind, and staying stress-free while not focusing on the discomfort is essential. Watch movies or television shows on your phone, play an addictive game, or if you get permission to do so, bring a friend to keep you company.
  • Make sure you arrive on a full stomach. Apart from not wanting to add hunger pains into your already uncomfortable tattoo session, this also keeps your blood sugar high and avoids dizziness or nausea during the session.
  • Use a numbing cream on the area you plan to tattoo.  These topical anesthetics dull your pain receptors and may make the experience more tolerable. If you plan to use a numbing cream, be sure to discuss this with your artist first. For more information, have a look at our article, Best Numbing Cream For Tattoo.
  • Be on top of your aftercare the moment you leave the artist’s chair. The best way to keep the tattoo pain away after your session is to make sure you’re taking good care of your tattoo and following all the necessary aftercare instructions. For more information, check out our article, Tattoo Aftercare Advice - How Do I Care For My Tattoo?

Check out our Tattoo Pain Chart to see how much tattoos hurt on different parts of the body

Our Final Thoughts

Hip tattoos are awesome, and they are a large piece of skin real estate while being rather low on the pain threshold. If you’re still unsure about your own tolerance, we always recommend starting with a small design and then building off of it in mini sessions. By prepping yourself before the session and keeping yourself distracted during, you’ll be able to power through a hip tattoo with minimal discomfort.

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