Whenever someone around me gets a new tattoo, it speaks conversation. People are always curious to know what the piece means and why you chose to put it on your body forever. However, these conversations also tend to contain a lot of apprehensions. Tattoos are never a universally comfortable topic, and especially with regards to the fact that they are known to hurt. Hurt bad.
However, these statements are not universal. All tattoos don’t hurt the same and they definitely hurt in different amounts to different people. Like most forms of pain, there are many reasons people experience it and more importantly experience it differently. To understand how much your first, third or 27th tattoo may hurt you, let’s break it down from when the needle first touches the skin.
Assuming that at this point you have your tattoo drawn out, you’ve met your artist, and now the stencil is on your skin, here is what happens next. The artist usually takes 1-40 needles and uses them to stab ink into a layer of your skin, that is deep enough to not get washed off, but also shallow enough for it to be seen clearly even after it heals. Now as scary as stabbing with needles may sound, it’s really not. A tattoo needle will never be as deep as the medical needles for vaccines or blood donation, and remember, these ones are moving super, super fast. Fun fact though, if you were in Polynesia, where the word ‘tattoo’ originated, they would have probably just cut open your skin, put some dye in the gash and let it heal, technology has made things better.
Now, though the pain of getting ink onto your dermis may seem inevitable, your body mechanisms do help you out as well. Firstly there are the people who have either a high pain tolerance or strong mental resolve towards wanting their tattoo, who don’t even feel the pain, because their mind is on the end result. On the other hand, there are the rest of us who haven’t gotten it so bad either. The process of getting a tattoo releases adrenaline and endorphins which allow you to feel less pain. Further, if the same thing keeps happening, again and again, we are less likely to pay attention to it over time.
However, there are kinds of people who do find tattoos extremely painful and that could be for a multitude of reasons. One of the biggest is simple being scared and focusing more on the pain than the game. Like any other decision, it’ll be a lot easier for you and the tattoo artist to be sure about what you’re doing before you take the plunge.
The most important things to remember during a tattoo are that each person’s pain experience will be different. Some people say it just tickles, others cry and most are in between. It’s important to choose a spot with fewer nerve endings if you’re not sure about the pain. Most of all, at the end of the day, if you take the right precautions and follow aftercare, the process really won’t hurt that much. But I mean you know what they say; beauty is pain.