Tattoo pain chart comparison - Person with inked hands

How painful is a tattoo? Most would say, very. However, what some people may not know is the fact that they can hurt more or less, depending on where you choose to place them. Many people (even ones who have been tattooed before) make the mistake of getting a tattoo in the wrong location, which is something people find is almost impossible not to regret. Therefore, if you are considering getting a tattoo, you should also take the time to research the area of your body in which you intend to get your ink. Here is a tattoo pain chart and outline, from the most painful to least painful parts of your body.

Tattoo pain comparison chart - Person getting ink done

The Armpit

Although it would seem that most people do not choose to get armpit tattoos because the location is inconvenient altogether, the armpit is actually the most painful area on your body to get a tattoo. This area is quite tender and known for being an excruciatingly painful area in which to get a tattoo. Therefore if you were considering getting a tattoo in this area, you might want to rethink before you get inked.

Rib Cage

Another incredibly painful area to get a tattoo is the rib cage. This is because the skin surrounding the ribs is incredibly thin, and the tattoo machine very much seems to be scratching up against the ribs themselves. Additionally, the rib cage moves every time you breathe, which only adds to the feeling of discomfort.


Next, although these are somewhat popular areas to get tattooed, both the ankles and the shins are incredibly painful areas to get inked. This is because the skin in these areas is thin and the ankle and shin-bone both sit just beneath the skin. While these areas may seem like better locations than the ribs, most find it almost as painful as tattooing the rib cage.


The chest area is also a very painful area to get tattoos. This is because the chest is known for being quite sensitive and tender in general. While the chest area is a somewhat popular area to get tattoos be advised, it may hurt worse than you’d expect. 


One obvious location it may hurt to get a tattoo in the groin. This area can be somewhat popular, given that it is considered by some to be an exotic location and an intimate area that is typically only seen by a select few. However, those who choose this location may regret it the moment the needle touches the flesh.

Elbows and Knees

The elbows and knees are other areas that it often hurts to get a tattoo. This is because, much like the ribs and the ankles, the bones are right beneath a thin layer of skin.

Least Painful Areas

On the other hand, some of the least painful areas to get a tattoo are as follows:

  • Upper/Outer Thigh
  • Forearm
  • Outer Shoulder
  • Outer Bicep
  • Calves
  • Upper/Lower Back

Key Takeaways:

  • Getting a tattoo can hurt more or less depending on what part of your body it is located.
  • Some of the most painful areas are the armpit and rib cage.
  • Some of the least painful areas are the calve and upper/lower back.

Overall, the takeaway from this chart is that no matter where you get your tattoo, there will be some pain. If you own a tattoo salon you consider purchasing tattoo and piercing insurance to be sure you’re covered if an incident should occur when tattooing someone in these high-pain areas. Contact our team of experts here at the Marine Agency for a quote and more information.

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