9 Places on Your Body Where Tattoos Hurt the Least

Tattoos don’t hurt, right? Wrong! Although they aren’t nearly as painful as they used to be, getting inked can still hurt depending on the placement and size of the tattoo. For instance, tattoos on your fingers and toes can be some of the most painful places to get inked because nerves are close to the surface there.

Which part of your body hurts the most?

It all depends on your pain threshold, but many people feel that chest tattoos hurt more than upper arm or forearm tattoos. Why? Some say it’s because there is less fat padding to cushion you against your ribs or because of nerve endings that are particularly sensitive in that area. You can get around pain by adding plenty of anesthetic, though if you’re looking for ways to decrease pain after getting a tattoo, check out our guide: Ways to Make Getting a Tattoo Less Painful.

The underside of your wrist

There’s a reason you see a lot of wrist tattoos. The skin on your wrist is softer and thinner than most parts of your body, meaning it’s easier to tattoo without causing excessive pain. A downside: The area tends to heal slowly—and can leave an awkward scar if something goes wrong during your session. If you want a tattoo in a sensitive area, talk to your artist about other options, like lightening or skipping certain colors that might cause more discomfort for you. (You can also ask them about new advances in laser technology that minimize pain.) Also: Avoid salons where artists aren’t licensed; unlicensed tattooers often use unsterilized needles and ink straight from their homes.

You armpit

For those of you who want to rock a tattooed armpit, there’s some good news: it’s one of the least painful places to get a tattoo. As for why that is, researchers aren’t sure yet. But anecdotal evidence suggests that it has something to do with how sensitive you are to pain (known as pain tolerance). People with low tolerance report more pain after getting an injection or surgical procedure in their armpit, says Joshua Leeds, MD, associate professor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and coauthor of The Pain Relief Prescription. Some believe it may be due to nerve distribution patterns. Why can’t I feel anything?

Inside crook of your elbow

Getting a tattoo in an area that bends and flexes, like your elbow, is one of your best bets for a comfortable tat. This spot allows for minimal movement and will also be hidden by long-sleeved shirts more often than other areas. If you can’t find anyone to do your tattoo here (many artists are afraid of hitting a nerve or hitting tendons that may cause problems later), then consider getting it somewhere else on your arm. The upper parts should work well.

Back of your neck

This area is, as one Redditor puts it, absolutely crucial to tattoo placement. The thicker skin is usually more resistant to pain. Plus, it’s a spot that’s highly visible, but rarely exposed. If you’re looking for a low-risk area for your next tattoo and you don’t mind showing off your work, the back of your neck is a perfect choice. It will be there forever (or until you decide to remove it), but no one has to see it every day. This can lead to fewer questions about where you got it done or how much money you paid for it—and that in turn could make ink look like less of an extravagant purchase than its price tag would suggest.

Behind your knee

Getting a tattoo in one of these locations will be painful, but it’s not because there is more bone or skin than other areas. Because of how tattoos are injected into your body, you’ll get a lot of ink into these areas with fewer shots. The important thing to remember is that no matter where you decide to get a tattoo, keep it clean and moisturized so it heals as nicely as possible. And if you do have problems with an area when it comes time for touch-ups, mention that area specifically at your next appointment. You should also be sure to only visit licensed tattoo artists. You can use online databases such as those at Yellow Pages or Yelp to find artists in your area and make sure they’re properly licensed professionals.

Inner side of your upper thigh

The inner thigh is safe territory. You’ll likely need to lie face down on a tattoo table, with your legs suspended over armrests. Then, you can expect your artist to work from about mid-thigh down to about three inches above your knee. Many artists don’t want to go above that because there’s no more flesh for them to pin down and ink properly, so don’t be surprised if they won’t work higher than that. It will hurt—we’re not saying it won’t—but as long as you breathe through it and remind yourself that it will end soon (because it will), you should be fine.

Hipbone area

This is probably one of the most popular spots for women to get tattooed, especially around any type of curves. In fact, getting inked around your hipbone area is so common that it’s almost become synonymous with having a tattoo at all! It’s not just hips, either; you can also hide tattoos behind knees and elbows with little effort. Make sure that your artist has a steady hand and knows what they are doing; there’s no such thing as an easy tattoo when it comes to body placement.