Tattoo Pain Chart 101 – How Bad Do Tattoos Hurt?
Before getting my first tattoo it was pretty clear I had a slight case of needle phobia. My dislike for them was about the same as how I felt about seeing blood, disgusted. Needless to say, becoming a doctor or even male nurse just wasn’t in my future back then.
Of course, things are quite different today. I owe a great deal of that change from staying committed when it came time to get finally tattooed.
Years ago I decided to get one of the most painful places on my body tattooed, the edges of my boney ribcage. If I could handle that, I could surely handle anywhere else on the body. Or at least that’s what I told myself at the time. As I sat in the chair, I watched the needle tear its way underneath my skin.
The stinging and burning wasn’t so bad; it was easier than I had first imagined. Then the needle started japing right into my bone up and down, over and over. Sh-t just got real. Of course, blood and plasma were oozing their way on out of my body too. Beautiful, indeed.
However, with every jab and sting I became more comfortable with the process. A few hours later my artist was finished. At the end of the day I left the shop with an entirely new outlook for tattoos. Everything I expected was quite different from the reality of actually getting a tattoo.
Sure, it was somewhat painful, though, it was more so just an annoying sensation overall. I didn’t pull out my hair, pass out, throw up, ball my eyes out, let alone die either. If anything I oddly enough, liked the process as much as I liked my new tattoo. When people ask if me if tattoos hurt, my response even today is still, “Yes, of course, but not as much as you’d first think.”
Since then I’ve done a lot of research over the years, all of which I’d like to share with you today. Below you’ll find a tattoo pain scale, exceptional advice, and plenty more. If you’re nervous about getting a tattoo and hubbub over pain has got you worried, the best advice I can ever give you is, “don’t be!”
1. Definitive Tattoo Pain Chart
I’ve put together an accurate tattoo pain chart for your viewing pleasure. While it might seem straightforward, there are still numerous things to consider before jumping to conclusions. All of which I’m going to explain to you in greater detail as you continue to read on.
Just remember, your personal pain tolerance and threshold are going to ultimately determine what hurts the most and least. Some areas sting and burn, others throb with heavy pressure.
2. Major nerves in the body
Here’s a breakdown of where nerves run throughout the human body. As you can see, there are a lot of areas which are prone to being sensitive when it comes to tattooing.
While looking at this chart, just keep in mind the amount of muscle and skin that cover each area on the body.
3. How bad do tattoos hurt?
While it does depends on placement, things like your health, pain tolerance, attitude and state of mind are all factors too. The truth is, getting a tattoo is more of any annoyance than a painful experience. Yes, it hurts, no one likes a sharp needle prodding into their skin.
However, a lot of people make a big ordeal out it when well, it’s really nothing to worry about in the first place.
For some spots on the body you might feel like wanting to tear your hair out. While others simply sting and burn a bit. Remember, people have different pain tolerances too.
For instance, your friend might have told you their arm tattoo was agonizing. When you go to get the same place inked, it might seem like a cake walk.
At the end of day, there are a lot of factors to consider. Your tattoo artist could he really heavy handed or light and gentle. Even eating a breakfast or large meal before getting a tattoo can help lower your amount of pain.
The underlying structure of nerves and bone, and the padding from all the fat and muscle play quite a large role too. I’ll explain this more below.
4. What does it feel like?
Truthfully, getting a tattoo will feel different across all parts of your body. Certain places are far easier to ink than others. Areas like the ribcage are bonier, while areas like your butt are far meatier.
In other words, some places have a lot of cushion and other simply don’t. Which as you guessed it, affects the sensation you feel greatly. Of course, another to keep in mind, is where all the major nerves run through your body.
For meatier areas, it will feel like someone is dragging a needle across your skin, and let’s face it, they literally are. However, it’s not like getting a shot at the doctor. A tattoo needle doesn’t go as far into your skin.
You can compare the sensation with getting scratched from an animal’s claw or getting stung by a bee to some degree. It certainly does sting a bit. Expect it to feel like a tiny, sharp needle is prodding into you over and over.
Most notably, you’re going to feel a burning sensation. Tattoo needles go up and down over and over again which creates a lot of vibration and heat. You might end up feeling the burning sensation more so than the stinging.
For bonier areas like the ribs for example, you will feel all of the above plus one more thing. As the needle hits near the bone it feel like you’re getting jabbed with a dull metal object. Press your fingertips into your rib cage really hard, that’s exactly what it feels like.
When it comes to major nerve endings, your sensitivity will increase. It will test your pain tolerance as the discomfort goes up and up.
5. The most painful tattoo spots
These are going to include any parts with the body with an abundance of bone and nerve endings. When it comes to nerves there are large clusters in places like your hands, throat, nipples, genitals, face, solar plexus, etc.
For boney areas places like the ankles, hands and wrists, feet, spine, ribs, collarbone, kneecaps and elbows, etc are going to be quite painful.
6. The least painful place to get a tattoo
The same place where you probably don’t want a tattoo, your butt. Although, the tops of your thighs, calves, front arm, etc. have a lot of muscle too. Basically any area with a lot of cushion and lack of nerve endings and bone will result in the least painful experience for most.
However, there is one thing to consider before jumping to conclusions here. Some people prefer deep throbbing pressure over higher levels of stinging sensations which comes from inking over muscle abundant areas.
7. Will getting a tattoo in this specific spot hurt?
Wrist: Not the worst. Generally, wrist tattoos are just plain old average on the pain scale. However, when it comes to sleeves and inking around the sides of the wrist things can start feeling pretty brutal.
Back: One of the least painful places depending on where you ink at. However, in another regard, these can be major annoyances. You know how getting a professional back massage feels so good?
Now imagine, someone running a sharp needle all over it. Your back is already sensitive to begin with. Of course, this excludes ultra-sensitive areas like the spine for instance. For the upper back and shoulders you’ll notice the pain level jump the higher up you go.
As you move closer and closer towards the inner thighs the pain will greatly increase. This is especially true and far more noticeable as you work your way up to the groin area. Those areas are downright painful. Should you go downward towards the knee you’ll find it to be one of the most painful spots on the body.
Foot: Very painful. Remember, there’s a very small amount of skin covering up a large area of bone here. With every dip of the needle you’re going to feel it prodding at your bones.
Ribs: Another high pain area. Interestingly enough, inking the spaces in-between each rib bone feels like a mixture of being tickled, burned and poked with a sharp needle. However, when you cross over to the bones themselves, that’s where things get painful. You’ll feel the needle jabbing at your bone over and over again. It’s a mix of pain, burning, heavy pressure and oddly enough, a really annoying tickling sensation.
Chest: Generally average until you move towards the collarbone and sternum. In terms of being on the pain scale, the sternum won’t make you tap out, however, you will be glancing your fist in some serious pain. You can compare it to the elbow and knees. Another part of the chest to consider is the nipple area. Some gentlemen face extremely high sensitivity in that area, others simply don’t.
Inner Elbow: Without a doubt, one of the most painful spots on the body. Worse than the already excruciating outer elbow tattoo.
Collarbone: Very painful. Interestingly enough, while getting a tattoo on your collarbone it might feel like you’re actually getting one on the neck with all the vibration going on.
Calves: Often a cake walk; average.
Forearm and front arm: Considerably average and comfortable to tattoo without any concern.
Genitals: Extremely painful.
Throat: One of the worst places to get a tattoo when it comes to pain.
Hands: Just like the foot, there’s a lot of bone and not enough skin covering it. Hand tattoos are as just difficult to get artists to do as they are to have inked while sitting in the chair. The same is true for the fingers as well.
Ankle: When it comes to ankle tattoos, it’s a tossup between average and terribly awful. Based on the bone-y location you can still expect a lot of pain regardless of your tolerance.
Head: Extremely painful and made even worse by the fact that you can hear the entire process happening just inches away from your ear.
Inner Bicep: Average until you move up towards the armpit. The armpit is in a world of its own; needless to say, it’s extremely painful.
Spine: High pain.
Hip: Certainly far above average. Remember, just like the ribs there’s a lot of bone here.
Behind the ear: High pain.
Shoulder: High on the pain scale, however, for some it’s slightly above average.
Stomach: Very bearable with some places above average and others below it.
Back of the neck: High level of pain.
Lip: Difficult to ink let alone, highly uncomfortable to get.
Shin: Often tender with a high level of pain on the scale. Varies man to man. Some have shins of iron others don’t.
Upper Arm: Considerably average.
Palm: High pain and very difficult if not impossible to ink. Considering how much the palm is used on the daily basis it’s easy to expect fading and wear. Even people who have tattoos on their entire body will leave this area as is, because the effort generally isn’t always worth it.
Knee: As bad as the elbow and armpit. Easily, one of most painful spots to get inked. Both the outer knee cap and inside areas will be extreme.
Remember pain levels vary greatly for each and every person. Don’t get discouraged if one place has a reputation for being associated with extreme pain. What hurts for someone else may very well end up not hurting you a single bit.
In other words, not all bodies have the same sensitivity nor pain tolerance. If you really want a tattoo in a specific spot go for it!
The pain doesn’t last forever, but the cool ink you get does.
Consider incorporating the discomfort of being in the chair into the meaning of your tattoo. If you care about something so deeply, show a little sacrifice; it will certainly be worth it in the end.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather WatchCheck Price
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.