Home » Do Color Tattoos Hurt More than Black and White?

Do Color Tattoos Hurt More than Black and White?

Getting a tattoo is always an exciting process. Thinking of unique design ideas, waiting for the day to come till you can finally get inked, and showing it off to your friends and loved ones is an exciting journey.

Before you get a tattoo, however, there might be questions you ponder upon, and one of them could be if colored tattoos hurt more than black and white ones.

Numerous factors decide if a tattoo could be painful or not. The placement of the tattoo is one of the prime factors. While some areas have thick skin and don’t hurt much, others have a thinner layer and hurt more, especially if it’s on a bone.

The style of your tattoo, too, could determine how much the process might hurt you. The more complex a tattoo is, the more painful it will be.

If a lot of shading is involved, your skin might feel the pricks, whereas the ones with just an outline are not as tricky.

If you’re lucky enough to get an experienced tattoo artist who can execute a tattoo smoothly within a short time frame, you will experience less pain.

Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs can often amplify the pain as they make your nerve endings more sensitive. So, it’s better to avoid those before your tattoo procedure.

Do you want to know why tattoos hurt or if color tattoos are more painful? Well, we’ve got the answers for you. Let’s dive right in.

Why Do Tattoos Hurt?

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While getting a tattoo, ink is injected into the dermis, the middle layer of your skin. Permanent tattoos require the use of needles for this procedure to take place.

When the tattoo ink gets applied to the dermis, it can create blood clots and damage the skin, leading to bruises.

This is why it is imperative to provide proper care to your skin after getting a tattoo so that your skin can heal and you can avoid infections.

Why do you think the tattooed area often looks slightly swollen or tends to hurt?

This is because our bodies adapt a coping mechanism to prevent it from causing further damage to the skin. The swollen area, however, can feel tender or painful.

Which Areas Hurt the Most While Getting Tattooed?

While various factors determine how painful a tattoo could be, certain body parts are more sensitive to tattoos than others.

Listed below are some of the areas where it’s the most painful to get tattooed:

Ribcage: The ribcage is considered one of the most painful areas to get a tattoo. The fat around the ribcage is not as much as other body parts, and the skin on the area is fragile.

Whenever you breathe, there’s movement in the ribcage, causing the skin to move, making it more challenging to complete a tattoo on that body part. 

1. Armpit

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Armpits have a lot of nerve endings. You will also find tattoo artists advising their clients not to get a tattoo in that region since it can be excruciating.

2. Breasts and Groin

Breasts and Groin
Image Source: fabbon

Getting a tattoo on your breasts can be painful due to how delicate and tender the region is. The same goes for the groin area due to all the nerve endings, which can experience irritation on coming in contact with the needle of a tattoo gun.

3. Shins and Ankles

Shins and Ankles
Image Source: pinterest

When thin layers of skin are involved, it’s bound to hurt more. This is because the bones on your shin and ankles lie right below thin skin layers, causing it to ache while getting tattooed.

4. Kneecaps and Elbows

Kneecaps and Elbows
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Much like ankles and shins, the bones on our kneecaps and elbows are situated right underneath our skin. Tattoos cause vibrations, and when these vibrations are experienced over a bony region, they can lead to severe pain.

5. Hips

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Since the hip bones are located right below the skin, getting a tattoo on the hips isn’t easy. It becomes more painful for the thinner people who don’t have much fat around their hips.

6. Spine and Neck

Spine and Neck
Image Source: outsons

The spine and neck come under sensitive regions, so avoiding getting tattooed on those areas are better.

7. Behind the knees

Behind the knees
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The area behind your knees not only has a lot of nerve endings, but it also has stretchy and loose skin. This is what makes it a sensitive area to get tattooed.

8. Lips

Image Source: authoritytattoo

The skin on your lips and around it possesses a lot of nerve endings and is mostly loose. Getting a tattoo on your lips can make them swell, bleed, and bruise badly.

Bonus Read: How Long Do Lip Tattoo Last? Complete Guide on Inner Lip Ink

9. Stomach and Inner Bicep

Stomach and Inner Bicep
Image Source: nonspewpa

The pain experienced while getting tattooed on your stomach can either be painful or pretty severe. It depends on high tight a stomach one has.

People who weigh more have loose skin on their tummies compared to thinner bodies. Tighter skin entails less pain when the tattoo needle touches your skin, whereas loose skin means it will be pretty painful.

The skin on the inner bicep is loose and soft. Still, the muscle within the inner bicep can cushion the pain experienced when you get tattooed. Although the process might not be as painful, the healing time could take longer in this area.

10. Face, Head, and Ears

Face, Head, and Ears
Image Source: allure

The face doesn’t contain a lot of fat, much like the head and ears, making it difficult for the pain to be cushioned. These areas have plenty of nerve endings that could irritate if you attempt to tattoo them, causing pain. 

11. Hands, Feet, Fingers, and Toes

Hands, Feet, Fingers, and Toes
Image Source: feet

Although feet and hands are popular areas to get tattoos, they also have thin skin and many nerve endings that make it tricky to execute the process.

The same goes for toes and fingers. Additionally, you might experience spasms if the needle of a tattoo gun disrupts the nerves on your feet and hands.

The lesser painful areas to get tattoos are:

Forearm and Outer Bicep

Forearm and Outer Bicep
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Since it doesn’t have a lot of nerve endings and has plenty of muscle, the outer bicep is an excellent place to get a tattoo. The same can be said about your forearm since humans have thick skin in that region, so getting a tattoo there will not be as invasive.


Image Source: ironinktattoo

Calves store a lot of muscle and fat and, due to the absence of too many nerve endings, serve as an excellent spot to get tattooed.

Outer Shoulders

Outer Shoulders
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The outer area of a human’s shoulders has thick skin, which makes it a region where you might experience low-moderate or low pain.

Lower and Upper Back

Lower and Upper Back
Image Source: tattooeasily

The upper and lower back aren’t located too close to the bones, which is why you won’t feel much pain getting tattooed in these areas.

Do Color Tattoos Hurt More?

The question of “Do color tattoos hurt more?” could arise in your mind if you’re thinking of getting a colorful tattoo. The color of your tattoo’s ink can’t be used as a prediction as to how much it will hurt you while getting it done.

As mentioned, various factors decide how much getting a tattoo might hurt you. There was a time when the consistency of colored ink was thicker than black ink, which meant that it would take longer for the tattoo artist to design it for a client.

It would hurt more because the longer it takes to get a tattoo done, the more painful it is and the more damage it causes to your skin.

Times have changed now, however, and all the tattoo inks possess the same consistency, ‌avoiding ‌colored tattoos without hurting more.

These days, the factors that might hurt you while getting a tattoo differ greatly from the color of the ink in question. If your tattoo artist takes longer to complete a design, it is bound to hurt you more.

Although it may not seem like much, the poor quality of a needle’s sharpness is not just damaging to the skin but ends up hurting you more.

Needles that are new and sharp usually hurt less. Hence, it might be more painful if the tattoo artist uses a soft hand.

A tattoo artist’s use of white ink to highlight a tattoo could amplify your pain. This is not because of the color of the ink but because of the needle repeatedly going into your skin.

For the white color to get saturated and show up prominently, the process needs to be repeated several times, leading to pain and damaged skin.

Pain threshold, however, is a very subjective matter. For instance, while some find the shading process of a tattoo painful, others don’t mind it much.


Do color tattoos hurt more?

No, color tattoos do not hurt more. In earlier times, colored ink had a thicker consistency than black ink, which is why it tended to hurt more.
However, all the colors these days have the same consistency, thereby not making the colored ink hurt more.

What factors affect how painful a tattoo can be?

Some factors that affect how painful a tattoo can be are the sex of the person, the location of the tattoo, the pain threshold of the individual, the complexity of the tattoo, the experience of the tattoo artist, and how well rested a person is.

Which areas of the body hurt the most while getting tattooed?

The areas of the body that hurt the most while getting tattooed include the armpits, ribcage, shins, ankles, breasts, elbows, kneecaps, spine, and neck. 

Does shading a tattoo hurt?

Coloring or shading a tattoo hurts some people, but the degree of pain is not the same for everyone, and it mainly hurts if the tattoo is more giant.

Why does a tattoo often hurt?

Tattooing doesn’t hurt everyone, but it can hurt some people. This is because needles penetrate the dermis of your skin, causing it to swell and be tender, which in turn causes pain. 

Which areas of the body don’t hurt much while getting tattooed?

Certain body areas hurt less while getting tattooed, such as calves, outer biceps, upper, and lower back, forearms, and outer shoulders.


Before getting a tattoo, you must gather all the knowledge to be completely prepared. This includes knowing about the aftercare process, preparing for a tattoo, what makes a tattoo hurt, and so on.

If you wish to know which areas are more likely to hurt you or why colored tattoos hurt in the past, go through the article to get all the answers you need.

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!