Tattoo Pain Chart: Least & Most Painful Spots Male & Female

tattoo pain chart

We all know tattoos hurt… but how much? The tattoo pain tolerance is different for males and females. Know all the information about the tattoo pain chart in this blog, along with factors that affect the pain and tips to minimize the tattoo pain.

Key Highlights
Tattoo pain is affected by factors like your age, gender, and pain tolerance.
The most painful placements to get a tattoo are head, fingers, chest, and ankles.
The least painful spots to get inked are the stomach, forearms, and outer thighs

Thinking about getting a tattoo? If yes, there might be so many questions coming to your mind, such as:

Where to get a tattoo? Do tattoos hurt a lot? What tattoo pain feel like? Where tattoo hurts least? How to reduce tattoo pain? How long does tattoo pain last?

Tattoos are a great way to express our personalities and attitudes. However, getting inked is a new, fun, and sometimes fearful experience for first-timers due to extreme pain. This is why it’s important to know the basics of tattoo art and knowledge about when and where to get tattoos.

Yes, because some body parts hurt the most, and some places hurt the least. Tattoo pain affects different areas of the body, and everybody has different pain tolerance; some people tolerate pain better than others. So, knowing which place hurts least will be highly beneficial for men and women getting inked for the first time. There is no shame in trying and finding the best place for your permanent tattoos!

So, if this is your first time or 99th time getting tattoos, this guide will help you.

Today, in this blog, we will explain everything about the tattoo pain chart. From body parts that hurt the most or least to tattoo pain chart female and male, we’ve covered all the important things you should know before getting inked.

So, let’s learn more about tattoo pain.

Factors Affecting Tattoo Pain

So how to know how bad is tattoo pain and which tattoo hurts the most?

A general assumption is that location is one of the major factors. But this isn’t entirely true because the pain doesn’t solely depend on the placement. There are several factors, and knowing them better can make your tattoo session a bit less painful.

Here are the major factors affecting impact the pain:


Every body part is different and has various pain tolerance. For example, fat, thinness of skin, and even the placements of veins can severely impact how your body reacts and tolerates pain.


Younger people have more sensitive and thin skin than older ones, so they feel more pain when getting tattooed. According to several studies, it shows, “aging decreases your pain sensitivity.”


Research data suggests that the tattoo pain chart male is different from the tattoo pain chart female one. Biological women feel greater pain intensity compared to biological men. You’ll learn more about this in the forthcoming sections of the blog.

Tattoo Artist

Tattoos are a form of body art that needs skills and professionalism. This is why you’ll get a different and much better experience of getting tattoos from a professional artist than a new one.

Tattoo Size and Style

Large tattoos with more intricate and complex designs will hurt more than small tattoos with simple designs and styles.

Tattoo Pain Chart

Tattoo Pain Chart

Here is the tattoo pain scale 1-10

tattoo pain scale chart
Shoulder/Outer Arm4
Inner Bicep6
Elbow Ditch/Outer Elbow Tattoo8
Forearm/Lower Arm3
Forearm/Lower Arm8
Upper/Middle/Lower Back5-8
General Back5
Rib Cage9
Under Boob/Sternum7
Knee Ditch/Knee10

Tattoo Pain Chart Male

Tattoo Pain Chart Male

Biological males and females respond to tattoo pain differently. However, no proven studies show that men feel less pain than women while getting inked.

As you can see on the tattoo pain chart men, they feel the least pain in body parts like backs, fingers, and forearms.

Tattoo Pain Chart Female

Tattoo Pain Chart Female

Do women really react to pain more intensely? Here’s what a female tattoo pain chart says.

Biological females appear to experience less discomfort on body parts like the head, feet, the back of the legs, and buttocks.

Now you know the difference between the tattoo pain chart male vs female. So, now let’s move forward to the locations where getting a tattoo is extremely painful and spots where it is not so painful.

Most Painful Spots to Get a Tattoo

Where does it hurt most to get a tattoo?

Everyone has their own pain tolerance! However, some areas are a bit more sensitive than others; these placements are known to be extremely painful for tattoos.

Here is the list:

1. Head – Level 9

A man with a tattoo on his head

Head tattoos look great, but they’re so painful to get. And according to the tattoo pain chart, it has level 9. This body part has low muscle or fat to cushion to prevent the impact of needle pain while tattooing.

2. Armpit – Level 9

Armpit tattoo

One of the most hurting placements is your armpits. As you can see, the score is 9, so whether you are a man or woman, you’ll surely feel extreme discomfort.

3. Hands and Fingers – Level 8

Hands and Fingers tattoo

Similar to the head, your hands and fingers are also sensitive body parts with little to no fat. So, if you want to have hand tattoos, be ready to feel pain during the tattoo process.

4. Ankles and Shins – Level 8

 Ankles and Shins tattoo

The next body parts which you should avoid getting a tattoo are ankles and shins. A thin layer of skin covers these bones; hence you will have a good amount of pain while getting tattooed.

5. Ribs and Chest – Level 9

Ribs and Chest tattoo

Men usually experience additional pain in their ribs and chest areas compared to women. Women have more muscle or fat in these areas, so they don’t feel much pain. If you want to have amazing chest tattoos, prepare yourself for severe pain.

6. Elbows or Kneecaps – Level 8

Elbows or Kneecaps tattoo

Other areas that you should avoid getting inked are knees (front and behind) and elbows. The front part has thin skin, and the back of the elbow or knee has loose, stretchy skin. The needle vibrations can cause extreme pain, which is difficult to tolerate.

Moderately Painful Tattoo Spots To Get a Tattoo

7. Stomach – Level 6

Stomach tattoo

Have you ever seen stomach tattoos? They look absolutely mesmerizing. However, these tattoos can cause high to moderate pain. According to the tattoo pain level chart, it scored 6-7.

NOTE: People with heavy weights and loose skin around the stomach may experience severe pain.

8. Calves – Level 6

Calves tattoo

Check out your calves; you’ll surely find good amounts of muscles and a high concentration of nerve endings. This is a sign that you can get a tattoo here. The lower leg tattoo placements don’t cause too much pain.

9. Wrist – Level 5

Wrist tattoo

The pain level of these tattoos might vary from outer to inner wrists. Apart from this, size, gender, and age also affect tattoo pain. According to the tattoo pain chart, wrist tattoos have a ranking of around 5-6 levels.

10. Upper or Lower Back – Level 5

Upper or Lower Back  tattoo

Back tattoos are alluring, sexy, and whatnot!

If you also want to get back tattoos but are kind of scared because of the tattoo pain, no worries. This is one of the low to moderate locations for tattoos. This is good for women because they will feel less pain intensity than, as per the tattoo pain chart female.

11. Shoulder – Level 4

Shoulder tattoo

Shoulders are another place where you can get a tattoo to show off without going from a painful experience.

This area has few nerve endings and thick skin, which help to reduce the sensitivity and pain level.

Read More: 31+ Shoulder Tattoos for Women That You’ll Love

12. Hips – Level 7

Hips tattoo

The tattoo pain chart here is different for males and females. The reason is simple; women have more muscle around their hips than males, so they will feel less pain and discomfort.

13. Butts – Level 6

Butts tattoo

For girls and women, the butt can be a sexy and appealing place for body art!

As this part of the human body has a significant amount of fat with low nerve endings, females feel less discomfort than males because there is not as much fat for cushioning. Sorry men, but it is what it is!

Least Painful Tattoo Spots To Get a Tattoo

14. Forearm – Level 3

Forearm tattoo

Men love to flex their arm muscles, right?

To make your arms even more attractive, you can get outer arm tattoos. It is one of the moderate places to get inked. The best thing is that they cause much less pain than hands and finger tattoos. This area has a good amount of muscles with no nerve endings.

15. Outer Thigh – Level 4

Outer Thigh tattoo pain Level

Thighs are another location where you can get inked without worrying about the pain. The outer area from your quad muscles to the top of the thighs has more fat and thick skin, so it will hurt less. However, this can be different for slim and skinny people.

pain level chart of tattoo


Most Painful (7-10)Moderate Painful (3-6)Less Painful (1-3)
  • Head
  • Armpit
  • Hand and Fingers
  • Ankles and Shins
  • Ribs and Chest
  • Elbows and Kneecaps
  • Stomach
  • Calves
  • Wrist
  • Upper or Lower back
  • Shoulder
  • Hips
  • Butt
  • Forearm
  • Outer Thigh

Tips To Minimize Tattoo Pain

How to handle tattoo pain, or how to reduce tattoo pain?

This is something everyone wants to know, right? After reading here, you know well what does tattoo pain feel like.

It’s almost impossible to make the tattoo process pain-free for everyone. What helps with tattoo pain? Yes, fortunately, there are some ways in which you can make the body art process a bit easier. So whether you have low pain tolerance or are just nervous about getting a tattoo, these tips will help a lot, and you’ll know what to do before getting a tattoo to ease the pain.

Here are a few things that will help to minimize the tattoo pain:

  • It’s crucial for you to sleep early the day before you plan to get inked so that your body will get a good rest. Any tiredness and fatigue can affect your physical and mental health, which may increase tattoo pain.
  • Choose the tattoo placement wisely. As we mentioned, some of the most and least painful places to get tattoos. So, select the spot according to your health and pain tolerance level.
  • DON’T take painkillers and drink alcohol at least 24 hours before your appointment.
  • Stay hydrated, and try to eat a good meal at least 2-3 hours before your session. However, avoid eating if you’re getting a stomach tattoo.
  • Pick a tattoo artist with good experience and knowledge.
  • If your tattoo session is long, ask your artist for small breaks in between.
  • You can use your phone, headphones, a book, or anything to keep your mind away from the pain.


Follow the above tips if you don’t know how to soothe tattoo pain after or how to deal with tattoo pain. These tips will help to reduce the tattoo pain and sensation. You can also ask your tattoo artist what can I take before a tattoo to ease the pain or what I should not eat.

Tattoo Pain Chart: Final Thoughts

It’s natural to be nervous and anxious while attending your tattoo appointment. Here is the thing – pain can’t be avoided, but you can minimize it! You have complete control over your tattoo session. Check the tattoo pain chart or tattoo pain rating scale, pick the right placement and a professional tattoo artist place, and follow the advice mentioned in this blog.

So, this is all about the tattoo pain chart female and male versions. I hope this blog has helped you to provide all the needed information about tattoo pain. If you find this blog informative, share it with all your friends.

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