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Do Tattoos Hurt?

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At Carribbean Connection, we encourage our friends and employees to express themselves in every way they can. The world is not the same place it was 20 years ago. We live in a society where the unusual is becoming the ordinary, and it's a wonderful thing. As body art becomes more accepted in both our social and work lives, more people are deciding to pull the trigger on a fresh new tattoo. Most people have a lot of questions before their first tattoo idea comes to fruition, but the most common question is the obvious one. Do tattoos hurt? To truly understand the answer to this question, you should first understand the tattoo process. 

Bill Dawson Tattooing

Bill Dawson in the studio, working on a tattoo.


Some things you should consider:

  • Your skin is composed of 3 layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. A tattoo machine's needle only needs to penetrate the first layer into the dermis. This means the needle should only have to penetrate 1-2mm deep depending on the area of your body you are getting tattooed. Doesn't sound as bad anymore, right?
  • You may have heard someone say the pain of a tattoo depends on where it's at. There is absolutely some truth behind this statement, as certain parts of your body will likely be more sensitive. If you're really worried about the pain, get your first tattoo somewhere that isn't as tender, like the top of your arm or your back. Test the waters first, you might be surprised at how tolerant you are to the sensation. 
  • The damage a tattoo machine causes to your skin is minimal, and many times people don't experience bleeding.
  • If bleeding does occur, it's usually minimal and the artist should be wiping it off as they progress, to keep the area sanitary. The horror stories you heard about bloody and awful tattoo experiences, are probably the result of alcohol or blood thinners being involved.
  • Your mindset matters! Go into your first tattoo experience remembering that this is something YOU want to do, and the experience will be worth it for you. Don't let yourself get psyched into thinking it's going to be painful just because someone told you so!

Trust your artist!

If you're letting someone put a permanent work of art on your skin, you should first make sure they are reliable, sterile, and capable of working their style into the design you're looking for. Take some time finding an artist that is willing to work with you to make sure your design is perfect in it's own way. Don't just settle for the first tattoo artist you find on the internet. It's a good idea to speak to people who have already had work done by a particular artist, and see how their experience went. A good tattoo artist will explain to you in detail exactly what is happening throughout the process, and provide as much insight as possible about the aftercare of your new tattoo. They will be able to maintain a thoroughly clean studio, and should be using gloves with sterilized equipment. Don't be afraid to let your artist know if you're nervous or have concerns, as it's their job and goal to make you as comfortable as possible!

Our artist Kayla Daniel hard at work with sterile and proper equipment.


To Answer Your Question...

No two individuals will have the same pain threshold, so there is no right or wrong answer. The fact of the matter is that often times people let their anxiety get the better of them, which always results in an uncomfortable experience. If you're worried, just start simple. Get something small on a part of your body that you're comfortable with, or that your artist helps recommend. Begin your journey into the world of body art with an open-mind and a calm conscious, and go with an artist that makes you feel good about the process. If you're mindful of all those things, you will have a wonderful experience, and an awesome new tattoo!

Nathan Cox Zombie Girl Leg Tattoo

A brand new calf tattoo by award-winning artist, Nathan Cox.


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