The pain experienced during a tattoo session is often what stops many people from getting their first tattoo. The intensity of the pain from tattooing differs depending on the part of the body, but in general, the tattoo is almost never painless. Tattooing is the process of injecting tattoo ink under the skin using specific needles. The skin reacts to this intervention with pain. Therefore, you won’t be able to completely get rid of the pain during tattooing, but you can reduce unpleasant feelings to their minimum levels by using our advice.
So, how do you make getting a tattoo hurt less? We have a few effective ways to suggest.
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Related: Tattoo Pain Chart
Effective Ways to Make Getting a Tattoo Less Painful
It is better to prepare in advance before the visit and stock up on additional products that can reduce the intensity of the pain.
The first thing we must tell you, contrary to popular misconceptions, is not to take pain relief medications like aspirin and ibuprofen. They make the blood thinner. During tattooing, blood and lymph push out the ink, making it harder for the artist to work. Thus, the artist has to spend more time on work, and the tattoo becomes more traumatic and heals worse.
So what will help make the process less painful?
Before the session:
- Do not drink alcohol at least one day before the session. It seems like alcohol would reduce pain and help you relax. But the effect of alcohol on the pain threshold is unpredictable. Moreover, alcohol in the blood increases the risk of bruising and other unpleasant symptoms.
- Rest well and get some sleep. The more strength and endurance you have, the easier the process will be.
- Ask your tattoo artist about the process. Knowing what awaits you will rid you of the unknown, so it will help you to be prepared.
- Do not drink a lot of coffee, strong tea, or energy drinks on tattoo day. This can make you feel ill during the session and lead to unconsciousness.
- You should not sunbathe in the sun or in the solarium on the eve of your meeting with your tattoo artist. There is a risk of your skin getting burned, and even the slightest redness or irritation will interfere with the tattoo process.
- Eat within a few hours of getting the tattoo The more glucose, the better. Avoid spicy or excessively salty food so you don’t need to keep drinking water during the session. You should create a comfortable environment for yourself and the artist, and try to avoid distractions.
Deep breathing and comfortable positioning in the chair will help you when getting the tattoo. Relax your body as much as possible to avoid being too nervous.
What else affects the pain levels?
- Tattoo machine - Rotary machines create a slightly more painful feeling than induction machines, due to the needle in them being fed at right angles. Therefore full and tight dyeing of the skin area on it should be done several times.
- Licensed and experienced artist - The more experienced the tattoo artist, the less painful the process will be. Clear movements, fast work, knowledge of procedure nuances, and the ability to communicate with the client come with experience.
- The density of the drawing - Needle bundles are used for filling and wide contours, which increases painful feelings. If you feel too afraid of pain, the best choice is a thin, minimalist drawing.
- Tattoo’s size - Small tattoos are inked in one session, so it makes no sense to tattoo small drawings in two sessions if you can withstand the pain in one. In the case of large tattoos, another principle works. Over time, the pain becomes stronger because the tattoo artist can touch the already damaged skin. It is better to divide the big, voluminous, and difficult work into two or more sessions. Rest and heal after the first session and continue with renewed vigor in a few weeks.
- Use of special tattoo numbing creams (e.g. TKTX, Dr. Numb, Painless Tattoos Cream). Sometimes such products are used during a session. That is, when the client has already endured an hour or two of pain and can no longer stand, the tattoo artist can offer to use such a remedy if a certain part of the tattoo needs to be completed during this session. Before deciding to use this gel, check with your tattooist. First, many think that those gels degrade the quality of the tattoo. Second, it may not be necessary. If you get a small tattoo, it is better to wait an hour or two to get quality work that you will be happy with for many years.
Note: The key driver that affects the pain level is fear. The important thing is to be positive and not to worry about unpleasant thoughts. Consider the upcoming session as a moment that will bring only pleasant emotions, because the process of getting tattoos is exactly this. A very small percentage of people have only one tattoo.
Finally, when the whole tattoo is finished, you are healed, you can admire your new tattoo! We believe that even if you have endured pain during tattooing, the joy and satisfaction you get from the end result will make it worth the experience.! If you follow our advice on how to make a tattoo less painful, there is a good chance to minimize your pain and get a quality tattoo.