I am glad to see you are doing your research.  As I am sure you have heard, getting a tattoo is not something which should be done without some thought.

How much do tattoos hurt?

The answer really depends on a few things.  Is the artist inking too deep; are you getting the tattoo close to or on top of a bone; are you spending a long time under the needle; and lastly, do you have sensitive skin?  If you end up having a bad reaction to the ink, you could also have a bit more pain and discomfort as your new tattoo heals.

This is what you are in for –

A standard tattoo needle will only go about a millimetre and a half into the skin.  Most machines leave between 50 and 3,000 dots of ink per minute.
If you want to avoid pain, I recommend getting a tattoo on a meatier part of your body, away from bone.  A good place to start is with your upper arm or thigh.
When you are in the hands of a professional, a tattoo on a meaty section of the body can be compared to having someone draw on you firmly with the end of a paper clip.  Stay relaxed and your tattoo will be done in no time.

Does shading hurt more than the outline?

Shading will usually only hurt more or less if something has changed after the outline was set.  If your skin became a bit more tender after the outline or if you started to tense up, the shading might hurt a bit more.  Otherwise, outlining and shading are still just a needle delivering ink.

Starting small -

If you’re still worried about the pain, think about starting on a smaller scale.  Small symbols or key tattoos can easily be incorporated into a larger design later on, but they can also end up looking really cool on their own.  Large or complicated body art will take a lot longer.  Try to avoid elaborate pictures like knotted Celtic tattoo designs on your first time under the needle.  Remember – when you get inked, you are completely in charge.  If the process gets to be a bit much, you are free to stop the session at any time, and can always come back later.

How long is this going to take?

Sessions can last from anywhere between a few minutes to several hours, depending on the body art design.  If you are able to stay for a longer session, make sure you are comfortable.  If you are tense or uncomfortable, muscles can cramp up quickly which can end up making the inking more painful.  If you have been under the needle for a longer period of time, or are getting a tattoo closer to a bone, the inking may feel similar to a hot uncomfortable scratch.  Most people who have had a tat usually say it’s not anywhere as bad as they thought it would be.

Feeling woozy?

Although plenty of people will lie about it, just abouteveryone is nervous about getting their first tattoo.  Very rarely some people may even pass out while under the needle.  It is usually a combination of low blood sugar and/or fear that contributes to these rare occasions.  If you are worried about fainting, just be sure you’ve had enough to eat, relax and once again – start with a small design.


You will most likely end up bleeding a little bit while your tattoo is being applied.  This is normal and the tattoo artist will be prepared to keep the area clean as he or she continues to add ink.  Excessive bleeding usually only happens when you have taken something to thin your blood like aspirin or alcohol.  It should go without saying for alcohol, but try to avoid taking anything like this before getting a tattoo.  A professional tattooist will not ink you if you have “altered your state of mind” with alcohol.


After the tattoo is applied you might get a bit of swelling or itching, depending on how sensitive your skin is to the ink.  This tends to happen more often with purely white ink tattoos.  Just be sure to leave the bandage on forat least 2 hours.  When you wash the area, only use your hands, lukewarm water and a mild antibacterial liquid soap.

Knowledge is power

Hopefully you are already starting to feel a bit more confident about getting that tattoo you’ve always dreamed of having.  Fear of the unknown is usually what gets most people, so naturally – the more you know, the less scared you will be.  Always be sure to do your research on the parlor you want to get your tattoo at.  If you have a friend who has tattoo, see if you can get a recommendation for a particular artist.  Other than that, if you have any questions, keep looking for answers.  This article is just a small part of a free tattoo mini-course you can take by clicking the link below.

Design Your Own Key Tattoos at eKeyTattoos.com

Related posts:

  1. Greek Key Tattoos
  2. Three Highly Recommended Body Art Designs

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