“How much does it hurt?” It’s a question most often asked in every tattoo shop.
Whether one is excited or anxious, each tattoo artist has his own answer to this, but the fact remains that it’s one difficult question to answer.
Although, yes, it will hurt, because that’s what tattoos are partly all about.
Some people get tattooed to pacify the odd desire for pain, and to the eager ones, not even the mightiest of pain can stop them.
Rib Tattoo Pain
Because the skin in the rib area is thin and is directly over the bones, the ribs is considered one of the most painful places to get a tattoo. That said, it doesn’t mean the pain isn’t tolerable because your threshold is key. Lucky are those who have a high tolerance for pain — they are the bunch who will have an easier time while getting a tattoo on the ribs.
Alternatively, people with low threshold will find the experience excruciating and is advised to get something small and simple, preferably with thin lines.
Most tattoo artists would agree that first-timers shouldn’t get their first tattoo in the rib area. The reason? You have no absolute idea what to expect once the needle starts bobbing in and out of your skin. There have been cases wherein people end up having an unfinished tattoo on the ribcage because the pain is just too unbearable. But in most cases, if you really want a rib cage tattoo, you’ll just bite the bullet and deal with the pain!
Getting a tattoo in a different area will allow an individual to gauge the type of pain of course, which will prepare him getting tatted in the regions that are more sensitive.
What does getting a tattoo on the rib feel like?
A tattoo machine has a needle that maneuvers up and down, injecting ink while puncturing the skin. As how most people described the experience, getting tattooed on the ribcage feels like a sharp object is being scraped across the skin.
The needle goes into the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, all the way into the dermis. The dermis is where the ink is embedded and where people see the tattoo once it’s done and healed.
As for the pain, it will depend on the tattoo artist and of course, the one getting the tattoo. The sensation ranges from mildly uncomfortable to extremely uncomfortable, but some artists will temporarily stop now and then until the customer gets the hang of it or is ready for another round. For some people, the pain increases as the tattoo artist goes along, only stopping if the needle is pulled away from the skin.
While it’s hard not to flinch, the session will go faster and easier for the parties involved if the customer remains still. Even if the tattoo is already done, the artist may need to retouch some places, so expect the most unpleasant part of getting a tattoo, as the skin is already throbbing and burning at this point.
Overall, the number one thing you’ll feel aside from the skin being scraped is the needle prodding into each of your rib cage bones. The vibration gets rather annoying after a few hours. It’s not painful per say, it’s simply uncomfortable and irritating. Imagine someone poking your rib cage bones with their index finger over and over for hours on end. Now you know how a rib tattoo feels!
How to Make a Rib Tattoo Session Less Painful
Simplicity is beauty and will hurt less.
Firstimers need to go easy on the design if they’re really bent on getting their first tattoo on the rib area. There are designs that may be delicate or rather small, but this doesn’t mean it will look less impressive than expected.
A good tattoo artist has the capability to transform any small design into a powerful one, so rock that tiny tat.
Take your time in choosing a tattoo artist.
Each tattoo artist has his own style and trademark, and their craft is truly unique it deserves all the praise it can get. However, not all artists are light-handed, and for such a delicate part of the body, it’s better if your rib tattoo is carried out by an artist who isn’t too rough.
Scour the neighborhood or talk to other tattoo enthusiasts to get first-hand experience feedback. This will help you a lot in choosing a tattoo artist.
Numbing sprays exist.
The wonders of technology brought about the experience of number sprays and creams to lessen the pain. This is perfect for people who are not entirely sure if they can make it through the the whole thing. A cream or spray is applied before your tattoo session but remember the experience will not be totally pain-free. Pain will still be present, but at the very least, you get to have tattooed with mild discomfort.
Letting Your Tattoo Heal
Two words: loose shirts. Wear loose shirts until your tattoo is completely healed. The first night will be painful because the skin is easily irritated, and washing it will be a dreadful experience as well.
By following the artists instructions in tattoo care, however, the scabs will come off, and the pain will subside. Some people experience itchiness once the ink starts to peel away, which can be remedied by cocoa butter or a mild lotion.
You will need a lot of patience during the healing process so don’t rush in letting the ink peel away. You should be good within a couple of weeks, and your tattoo will look more natural.
So, how bad do rib tattoos hurt? The honest answer is, “it hurts a lot,” but it’s certainly better than being hit by a bus.