Tattoo FAQ: Do Tattoos Hurt?

Happy New Year, Tattoo-fanatics! We’re starting off 2019 with InkAddict’s first Tattoo FAQ. Before we get into our first topic, we’ll give you a little idea as to how this concept came about, how you can get involved and what to expect from future posts.

Allie Already is my name, and I’m a former tattoo artist. Earlier this year I had moved on from tattooing to pursue other creative avenues (one of them being writing). I still have a love for tattooing and store plenty of information in my noggin from my years immersed in it. So, it seemed a perfect fit to combine my knowledge of the tattoo industry with writing, and create an FAQ-based article for the benefit of this large community of tattoo enthusiasts.

As InkAddict is a hugely tattoo-influenced brand, they’ve so kindly provided the platform to make this all happen. We’re aware that searching through the internet for tattoo answers can be like falling down a rabbit hole, complete with biased opinions and silly billies providing guesstimates on blogs or social threads. Alternatively, you might ask tattooists directly. Having been one, I can admit that I would rarely set aside time to answer curiosities in comments and emails while I was working. Enter Tattoo FAQ. This is where you guys come in. We encourage your questions, so we can provide detailed and well-informed answers.

You can remain anonymous, and we’ll post our articles in a timely fashion. If you have anything to ask, send in your questions to info@inkaddict.com with the subject “Tattoo FAQ”. Remember, no question is a silly question! Unless of course, it’s a silly question. Then it’s a silly question. We encourage those too.

That covers our intro, which brings us to our very first post!

 I’m Getting My First Tattoo, Will It Hurt?

I know, this seems like the simplest question of all time. Turns out it’s broader that you’d think. It’s also a very important question for first-timers.

Here’s the short answer—yep, it’s a bit hurty. A slightly more hopeful (and truthful) answer; Tattoos hurt only as much as you let them. The pain is relative. It can depend on your personal threshold, the duration of the tattoo and where you’re getting it.

It’s also important not to fixate too much on others’ opinions. A tattoo feels different to everyone according to their own tolerance and experiences. Your friends may also not be able to perfectly convey their experience with words, so they can often make it sound either better or worse than it actually is.

A friend might say “Don’t get your ribs tattooed!” while the next will say “My ribs were fine, I didn’t feel a thing.” Confusing, right? But it helps my point, different experiences, different thresholds.

The tattoo artist has a big part to play. It’s their responsibility to be empathetic and patient. I know as a former tattoo artist that it’s easy to become frustrated with a client as they’re hindering your efforts to produce a decent tattoo. Though I’d give it my best effort to remain patient and offer breaks if I could see my client struggling. I’d often need a break too!

Remember that you’re allowed to take it at your own pace, don’t be afraid to ask if you need a rest. If you’re unsure of the artists character in that regard—ask when you’re booking the tattoo. Check with your tattooist if you’ll be allowed breaks throughout the session if it gets too much, as it’s your first tattoo and you’re feeling nervous. You should be met with an understanding response. If not, it might be worth it to find an artist you’re on the same page with. You should feel comfortable enough to express your worries and concerns.

This may sound silly in the context of a professional exchange, but I also believe compatibility is important between artists and clients. Mostly with larger projects, but in general as well. For example, I’d have clients who would prefer to sit and zone out for hours on end without stopping, when I’d physically and mentally need a break. I know artists who have strictly scheduled rests throughout a session for efficiency, and for a client in need of regular breaks, these sessions would be a struggle and a half.

All of this being said; If it’s a decent-sized tattoo and you really feel as though you won’t be able to sit through it all, it’s better to mention this when you’re booking it in. This way the artist isn’t over-booking time, and you don’t feel pressured through pain.

It may also help to know the pain isn’t constant. Each line or bout of shading only lasts a few seconds, in between which you have a moment to relax and breathe. Allowing you to tolerate the pain step by step, second by second.

You may even surprise yourself. If you show up to your appointment mentally prepared for any pain; you’ll likely crush it!

To sum up; it will hurt, but mostly according to your mindset. You can go at your own pace, take breaks, and remember that no one is forcing you to sit down and see it through. It’s all up to you. You may bring things to keep yourself distracted like a book, your phone or some music. Maybe even pass the hours having good chats with your tattoo artist. It doesn’t have to be quite as daunting as it comes across. You may actually have fun and book in your next tattoo as you’re walking out the door!

Happy tatting!


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