7 Tips for Avoiding Tattoo Pain That Work

Upper Arm Custom Rose Tattoo

7 Tips for Avoiding Tattoo Pain That Work

Nervous about getting a tattoo? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. In fact, many people with tattoos still get butterflies and worry about their pain tolerance before receiving new ink. But getting permanent art is something that any amount of tattoo pain is worth enduring.

If it’s your first time getting inked, it can be helpful to talk to someone who’s been through the process, or to a professional California tattoo artist. If you’re not sure who to ask, then check out our list of tips to make getting a tattoo hurt less.

1. Get a good night sleep.

It takes a lot of energy to sit through a tattoo. The more sleep you get the night before, the longer you will be able to endure the pain during the tattooing process. If you come in exhausted, chances are you won’t be able to handle a full multi-hour session. Make sure you get enough sleep to allow the endorphins and adrenaline to kick in to help block some pain.

2. Come in sober.

Stay sober for at least 24 hours before your session. Most, if not all, tattoo artists in California will refuse a drunk customer trying to get a tattoo. Though drinking or being under the influence of drugs may seem like an easy way to lessen the pain, it will actually make your tattoo more painful.

Alcohol (as well as Tylenol, Advil, coffee, and energy drinks) is also a blood thinner, which means you will bleed more—and the ink won’t take as easily. It could also leave you lightheaded, or even cause you to faint.

3. Stay hydrated.

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the session. When the skin is well hydrated, it will be easier to work on and will speed up the process, reducing the pain involved.

4. Wear loose fitting clothing.

Choose loose and thin clothing for your session, especially if the tattoo will be covered after. You will be more comfortable if you leave your new tat uncovered; for example, wear a sleeveless shirt or tank top if you’re getting a shoulder tattoo, and wear shorts or a loose skirt if you get a thigh tattoo.

5. Think about the type and style of your tattoo.

Your tattoo style and type will also affect how much pain you experience. A tattoo design with a lot of shading and color might cause you to experience more ‘scratching’ pain. Conversely, dot work or watercolor tattoos usually require a much softer touch and have a lower level of pain. Consult your tattoo artist about the style of your tattoo and ask how painful it might be if you’re concerned.

6. Focus on a distraction.

Plan something to occupy you during your tattoo session. Some people like watching movies, reading comic books, playing games, or talking on the phone. Start planning your next vacation or make a bucket list—anything to take your mind off the needles and the pain.

7. Always choose a professional tattoo artist.

Never risk your wellness with a neophyte tattooist. Always choose an experienced and licensed professional tattoo artist in California to create your body art. They are more skilled, knowledgeable and years of practice have given them the light hand touch. Sessions with an expert are faster, the pain is less and the work is brilliant.



The team at DH Tattooing in Livermore, California, is a family of passionate and creative tattoo artists dedicated to the design and creation of dynamic and timeless art. Our artists specialize in a variety of tattoo styles including black and grey realism, American traditional, color, script, Japanese, and many more. Check out our portfolio for some ideas, or book a consultation with one of our artists today.

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