Professional tattoo artist, James Withee, lists his top 5 most painful areas to get tattooed.
What’S up everybody i’m james withey and today we’re going to talk about the top five most painful areas that you can get a tattoo all right, all right! So for those of you that don’t know who i am, i am james whithey, i’m a professional tattooer. I’Ve been doing this stuff for about 10 years now, and i own a shop in gilbert arizona called dark horse tattoo company. If you want to check out pictures of tattoos that i’ve done you’re, certainly welcome to pop over to my instagram. It is james with the tattoo.
You can check out my work on there and verify that. I do in fact know what i’m talking about the reason i’m making this video right now is because i’ve been collecting a lot of tattoos lately and uh. You know it’s one thing to do tattoos and you know, gain the knowledge on how how they feel or how much they heard or whatever, by doing them on other people and kind of hearing their feedback over the years. It’S quite another thing to actually collect tattoos and a lot of these areas that are the most painful and unfortunately, for me, i’m at a point in my tattoo collecting career, where i’m running out of space on all the easy areas and all the areas that i Have left are the painful ones so pretty recently i’ve gotten uh top of my thigh done uh both sides of the ribs, my entire stomach is blasted. You guys saw.
I got the uh the neck tattoo pretty recently here and um yeah, i’m starting to collect a whole bunch. I got my back piece that i’m starting up in about two months here and um: i’m not looking forward to it, but i am looking forward to it at the same time. You know i’m kind of excited and scared at the same time. So this video, you know it’s pretty straightforward, just the top five on all the worst places that you can possibly get tattooed. You know i’m gon na go ahead and skip over some areas that really aren’t common areas to get tattooed like if you get tattooed on your genitals or something like that, like i assume that that would probably be one of the worst areas, but we’re not going To get into any of those areas we’re just going to talk about places where people get tattooed normally and regularly and places they heal well and are conventional places to get tattoos.
Also, if i sound really nasty during this video, it’s because i am getting over some sort of a cold that i’ve had for like the past week or a week and a half, and today is my first day feeling like. I have some energy and motivation and i’m in good spirits for the first time in a while. So hopefully, that translates through in the video also also, if you are a person that is fairly heavily tattooed and you have some experience with tattoo pain – go ahead and drop your most painful area of the body. You’Ve ever been tattooed in the comments section right now. All right so without further ado, let’s go ahead and get into the list number five on the list is going to be the knee, so the knee is kind of an unexpected area where i feel like a lot of people making.
This list probably wouldn’t have included that on there, but the reason i did is because i’ve had a lot of feedback from clients saying that that’s the absolute worst area, they’ve been tattooed, and these clients are like really really tough ones, that i’ve tattooed in a whole. Bunch of other areas, and they pretty much – were unfazed by it in satellite rocks. Now me personally, i don’t have any tattoos on my knees. I have uh on my left leg. My tattoos pretty much go right from my thigh like right up to the area.
Above my knee and on my right leg, it’s the opposite where my tattoos are on my shin and going up to the area right below my knee and those areas did hurt. Don’T get me wrong, but they’re not directly on the knee so on this list. This is going to be the only area that i can’t really speak from personal experience on um but yeah. Definitely it is one of those areas that will make even the toughest clients, uh wince and uh cringe and maybe swarm around a little bit with pain. I remember a while back.
I was tattooing on one of my longtime clients. His name is jesse. If you’re watching this video shout out to you, jesse um he’s been tattooed by me in a bunch of different areas like the arms, the thigh, the leg like we’re working on a leg sleeve on him right now that well one of the pieces i did on Him was a heisenberg piece. It was like a color portrait um that we blasted at a convention on back-to-back sessions and, like i said he sat for like a [ __ ] rock for that one um, but on that same leg, we’re doing a whole bunch of like nautical, like ocean sea Creature, themed stuff and uh, you know he’s been blasted on the majority of that leg, including like behind the knee and the back, and all that sort of stuff and uh. The front of the knee is the area that seemed like it hurt him, the worst out of all of them.
So the reason i’m using this client as an example is because he sits ridiculously well and i’m always joking around with him that he’s dead inside because nothing affects him or phases him. But i remember when we were tattooing, his knee. That’S the only time i’ve seen this guy wince, that’s the only time i’ve seen this guy cringe and mind you. He still sat still and sat like a champ for the session, but that’s the only time that i ever saw any sort of pain in his face when he was getting tattooed. Alright, so number four on my list of the worst areas, the most painful areas to get tattooed is going to be the nipple.
Now i know, there’s probably a lot of people out there after hearing what just came out of my mouth wondering why the [ __ ], would you possibly get your nipple tattooed? What kind of sick [ __ ] are out here getting nipple tattoos just to get them, but the reality is you got ta understand that yeah there’s some people that are getting just straight. Nipple tattoos like i’ve done like um tattoos, where i’ve turned girls nipples into hearts, or something like that um with like flesh tones and [ __ ], but the majority of the time when somebody gets their nipple tattooed. It’s not because they set out to get like one individual piece on their nipple or whatever. It’s because they’re getting an entire chest piece like a chest panel, where their whole chest is covered with tattoos and oftentimes that is going to mean that the piece is going to look better if you tattoo over the nipples, instead of just leaving them blank and having nipples that like stand out in the piece, as some weird like i don’t know, bright contrasty piece of flesh uh set Up against all the other tattooed skin around it.
So a lot of people yeah when they’re getting chest pieces um their entire chest done they have to get their nipples done too, to kind of make it so the nipples look more subdued and don’t stick out on The piece now me personally, i have you know pretty much my whole chest done and uh my tattoos go around my nipples and some parts. It actually goes into the nipple a little bit because the dude that did those tattoos was a [ __ ] [ __ ], and he wasn’t really even that good at tattooing. To begin with, i got it done when i was locked up and [ __ ] um, but i have tattooed over people’s nipples hella and just straight blacked them out and um the ones that are around my nipples, like the tattoos around them yeah they [ __, ] hurt like a [ __ ] too, so when i’m saying nipple i’m including around the nipple and the actual nipple itself as being ultra painful. So let me try to think of an example. As far as times when i had to black somebody’s nipple out to make sure the entire chest piece looked good, okay, i got it so there was this dude a while back one of my clients from a couple years ago that got a hercules tattoo from me.
On his chest – and we pretty much did like one whole side of his chest or whatever i’ll try to dig up like a picture of it and put it somewhere on the screen right here. So you can check it out, but we did a hercules uh like type of mythological tattoo on his chest and in the piece his nipple kind of fell into an area where it was like close to around where hercules is like, i don’t know, crotch would be, Or something like that, and if i had left that nipple blank like mind you, this dude has like kind of pink nipples. You know i mean they’re kind of light-skinned, colored, nipples and uh, which is kind of weird to talk about, but [ __ ] he’s got light nipples and if i left that nipple um, if i had left it like blank, then i feel like it probably would Have stuck out quite a bit and looked awkward as if, like hercules, had a nipple for a crotch or something like that. You know so i basically told him when we laid the stencil on. I was up front with them and i said this nipple right here is probably going to have to go dude and he didn’t really want to do that or whatever, but after i explained it to him, it kind of like just ran down like this is what It’S going to look like if we don’t and there’s really no other place, there’s really no other way to place this stencil unless we change which side it’s on or unless we choose a different reference or something like that, and he really liked that reference a lot.
So he ended up kind of just going with whatever i said, and i was like – let’s just go ahead and black the nipple out and when i blacked that dude’s nipple out it was it felt like i was torturing somebody like it really felt like. I was [ __ ]. If i was a sadist then i would have been really enjoying that moment right there, but yeah. He was hurting like a [, __, ] and uh. That was a memorable experience for me, even though i wasn’t even getting the [ __ ] my nipple tattooed at that particular time.
I, like can still remember his pain and feel it just by being in the presence of the [ __ ] situation and being the one that’s causing it. You know so yeah the nipple hurts like crazy and um. Just keep in mind that if you get your whole chest done, it is very possible. You’Ll have to black your nipple out because, on that guy with the hercules tattoo, that’s not the first time that i’ve done that i’ve blacked out a bunch of nipples or tattooed over a bunch of nipples and darkened them throughout my career. So be aware that you might have to do that if you get your chest done, okay, so before we continue on, i want to go ahead and thank the sponsor of this video, which is skull.
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Number three is the armpit. Now this is another area where i wouldn’t say that it’s the most common area to get tattooed, but it’s one of those areas that ends up having to get tattooed, because if you tattoo everything around it, the same thing happens where that blank spot on the armpit Really sticks out unless you have a bunch of hair, which i don’t so it ends up being one of those areas. That’S more like collateral damage um when somebody gets like a whole body suit or like just large work and starts to get a lot of coverage, and it ends up being one of those areas that nature never intended for you to get tattooed there.
But you ended up being forced into a situation where you did, because all the [ __ ] tattoos just started encapsulating that area and then making it so that it sticks out like a sore thumb. So you know i’ve had the pleasure of having some of my tattoos go into my armpit quite a bit on one side of my ribs kind of both sides, one of them it kind of more hugs around the armpit. One of them goes into the armpit. Quite a bit and uh yeah. I was getting my ribs done a few months ago and got to experience that for the first time ever and for me personally, i thought that the armpit wasn’t going to be that bad, because because it’s kind of fleshy, like it’s kind of like a spongier softer Area and usually areas of the body that are like that tend to hurt less.
In my experience, at least so you know usually the areas that hurt the worst are the ones that are like right up against bone or something like that like we were talking about the knee earlier, you know, but yeah getting the armpit done was brutal and it’s A different type of pain, because not only does it have like the standard, you know tattoo pain where it’s like the hot cat scratch, or something like that um and like the vibration or whatever like. I guess the knee would be a lot of vibration and that’s the reason why that would hurt a lot. But the armpit has a weird feeling: that’s like almost ticklish. At the same time, as being extremely painful – and i don’t know, if there’s a lot of other areas on the body where that same combination of ticklishness and extremely painful applies, you know like, for instance, when i’m getting when i got my elbows and [ __ ] Done a lot of people would say those are really common areas that hurt a lot, but i would kind of disagree. I feel like the the elbows yeah.
They hurt maybe slightly more than average, but they’re, not really that crazy and the worst part about getting tattooed on the elbows is they feel a little bit ticklish and it kind of makes you wan na. I don’t know like reflexively move away from the needle a little bit, because it’s just something you can’t control. Likewise with the feet. It’S kind of the same thing where, if you get tattooed on your foot, like it’s kind of difficult to stay still, because it’s got that little ticklishness to it. Well, that ticklishness is amplified probably way worse than on the elbow or the foot with the armpit.
But you kind of have this feeling: that’s like a combination of that ticklishness, with the fact that it’s like on this, like side of your body like ribs area, which is like one of the worst areas you can get tattooed, you know so definitely um. The armpit makes you feel like i don’t know it just feels like the needle is going in deeper than it should like it’s impaling you or some [ __ ]. It just makes you want to like [ __ ] cringe away from it, and i mean so. It’S really difficult to stay still there, and that area is probably one that will scar me for life, not literally because the tattoo came out amazing, but figuratively scarring me for life mentally and emotionally scarring me for life. Okay, so number two on my list of the worst areas you can possibly get tattooed is gon na, be the ribs and uh.
You know we all expected the ribs to uh to be on this list right here. I feel like it’s legendary status as one of the most painful areas you can possibly get tattooed is like there for a reason. It exists for a reason and for me personally, i just went and got both sides of my ribs done within the past, like three or four months by a really amazing tattoo named abe. Alvarez shout out to abi alvarez, go check him out on instagram. If uh, you don’t know who he is already and um, i also got my whole stomach tattooed by uh dude that works the same shop as him named com, so shout out com1 as well um.
The reason i’m mentioning calm in this segment right here is because the stomach tattoo that he did on me goes on to my ribs on both sides like quite a bit like it’s a huge like it’s blast all over my gut and uh, pretty much like. I would say 20 of that tattoo or 30 of that tattoo is on the ribs, rather than the stomach and uh the stuff. That av did is like in the areas above that, like up into here and kind of like goes into my armpits and [ __. ], so i know what it’s like to get the entire side of my body tattoo, like from armpit all the way down to hip, and definitely it is one of the most painful experiences. I’Ve ever had those those particular areas and the reason that i separated the ribs, like this part number two.
What i’m talking about is like kind of the mid portion of the ribs right here like where this arch happens here and yeah that hurts more than the armpit and feels different from the armpit. And that’s why i separated those two sections. But they were definitely both of those areas where some of the most painful i’ve ever been tattooed on and from tattooing other people. I know that the ribs is absolutely horrible and some, i would say, like maybe 40 of the people that i tattoo on the ribs. Don’T sit well for that session and, i would say maybe, like 90 percent of people that do get tattoos on the ribs are people that think that they’re going to sit good because they know that they have a good pain tolerance.
You know. So let me think here as far as my experience getting the ribs done, um for the first like the upper ribs up here, where i got it done by uh abey that area. You know i got a portrait right there. It’S like a bayasa type of girl like a clown girl and um that probably took about eight and a half hours on one session and um. Definitely it took a lot of mental fortitude to make it through that session, and that was one of those areas where i had to wince and make faces and uh focus on my breathing and do all that sort of stuff too.
You know so, and i sit pretty good like i’ve sat for a very long time on uh different areas of the body. I sat for 12 hours on the arm before sat for like 10 and a half hours on the top of the thigh. You know i’m not a wimp when it comes to getting tattoos, but i’m certainly not invincible, and the ribs was one of those areas that certainly it put me to the test and uh. You know the second session i actually had to like wait a little bit before i went and got that one done, because the first one you know i had sat for eight and a half hours on the first one um had an appointment scheduled for a month Later to go, get the second side done, but i ended up hitting up a b and being like yo. Maybe we should wait a little longer, so i can kind of like mentally and emotionally reset before coming and getting the other side done, because this [ __ ] is like really traumatizing like for real, like it was super um like swollen and bruised up like when.
I was healing a few days later. It was starting to turn green around the outskirts almost like when you have a black eye and a black eyes healing and uh. It was just really sore to where i felt like i couldn’t lift my arm or really operate, or do anything and that’s another reason why i uh spaced the the sessions out so that you know i wouldn’t like put me out of commission so to speak on. Just getting [ __ ] done in my regular life, like you, have to prepare um for downtime after you get your ribs done. If you’re getting a really large session like that or you might have to i have to but yeah i went back for the second session.
Uh sat for about six and a half hours, seven hours on that one and i still got ta go back um in three or four weeks here to get like this little stripe in here uh some of the background resolved on it because i still have a Little bit of blank skin in there, even though most those areas have been tattooed into as well. You know just have to kind of tie everything together so to speak so um but yeah. The ribs is one of the worst areas you can possibly get tattooed. It is um life changing and after you get that it kind of changes, your definition of what a painful tattoo is and what a painful tattoo isn’t and that’s why, when people are talking about how the elbow hurts and [ __ ] and i’m tattooing them, i’m Just like nah it doesn’t you don’t even know what the [ __ ] pain is [, __, ], so yeah, that’s the ribs, so number one on the list is going to be the sternum and uh yeah. I also can speak from personal experience on this one.
As well as experience, tattooing people on this area, i feel like the sternum is probably the worst area you can get tattooed it’s pretty close to the ribs. I feel like the ribs is definitely comparable, but the sternum still takes the cake, and i think the reason. Why is because there is the added sensation of vibration when you get the sternum tattooed, because, like it really is just like right, like in the center of the chest, if you guys don’t know what the sternum is. It’S like this area of the chest right here right in the middle pretty much and um, because it’s basically there’s no flesh or muscle or fat or anything there. It’S just directly into the freaking bone.
When that needle’s hitting you and the whole chest hurts you know, i have my entire chest: done: got the [ __ ] done when i was like 19, when i was locked up, um and yeah. That was one of the first areas that i got tattooed on. My body unfortunately and um i just jumped straight into like one of the worst spots. You can possibly get one and it feels like it feels like. Somebody is burning you with hot grease um, like literally it makes you want to stop the person and be like yo.
Is there something wrong with a needle like what’s going on or whatever, because it [ __ ] it hurts that bad. It feels like somebody’s burning you with hot grease, and it also has that added effect like i was trying to say of vibration, because it’s like pretty much right into the bone. So imagine like if you were to combine like the ribs and the knee, because the knee is pretty bony right and you’re pretty much like getting tattooed right up against the bone with that bone. Kind of reinforcing like how the needle’s impacting the skin it’d be like. Putting your head up against the wall and then having somebody punch you in the face, while your head’s already up against the wall, you’re going to get knocked out, and i mean because there’s nowhere for your head to go.
It’S the same type of [, __ ]. When you have bone right behind that layer of skin, that’s getting tattooed, so imagine like the ribs being combined with an area like the knee or the elbow or something like that. That’S kind of how the sternum feels and when you’re getting tattooed there. It is very, very difficult to stay still and you’re going to want to wince, and you know, unfortunately, that is one of those areas that if you want your front panel done, you want your chest done. Then your sternum is included so uh, it’s a fairly common area to get tattooed even considering how painful it is now.
Luckily, for me my uh sternum was all pretty much like single needle, like homemade machine like pepper, shaded type stuff, so probably not quite as painful as it would have been, if, like they were using professional equipment and professional techniques, because me personally, i feel like professional Equipment hurts worse than homemade equipment, um, but yeah still a very painful experience for me at 19 years old chilling in prison and uh, basically like trying not to make faces in front of all my cholo homies and [ __ ]. While i was getting that tattoo done, it was uh, it was quite the experience. Luckily, i probably will never have to experience that again. You know i got a little bit of blank space like right in the middle of the bottom right there that i got to get into so that’s probably going to hurt, but i don’t really have to do the sternum in any significant way. That’S going to uh be a prolonged session.
I’M super glad that that’s out of the way but yeah if you’re uh, if you don’t sit well and like i don’t know like let’s say, you’re like a chick, that’s looking to get like an underboob or like a sternum tattoo, or something like that. And you don’t really know whether or not you sit well for tattoos or you can handle the pain. I would totally like hold off on getting tattooed on that area. Until you have a little bit more data on how you’re going to respond to it, because it can definitely be a disaster if you get tattooed in that area and you don’t handle it well and aren’t able to sit still so that’s my list there. I really am curious to see how it would compare with somebody else’s list.
That’S heavily tattooed and um been tattooed in a lot of these areas that i’m talking about here. So if you have a lot of tattoos or if you’re a tattooer, that’s done a lot of tattoos and you have that data like that feedback from clients over the years, definitely jump in the comments and drop your list. If you have like a different top five or a different order, or something like that or if you would trade any of these out or switch any of them around on my list drop that in the comments. So i can kind of compare notes and see what you guys got, because i’m really interested and curious to see what everybody says and for anybody out there. That is disappointed that i didn’t mention some more obscure areas, i’ll go ahead and just list a couple of notables right now, um other notably painful areas would be like.
I think the hands get mentioned quite a bit like top of the hands and the knuckles um. The head, like especially on the front of the hairline up in there like um on the scalp, but not on the face or whatever, not on the forehead but like on the top people, say that [ __ ] hurts like crazy, uh the throat a lot of People say the front of the throat hurts really bad, especially since the positioning is awkward and the person’s like putting their hands all over your face, the entire time that area sucks uh. What else a lot of people say? The foot, a lot of people say the elbow me personally. I don’t really think those areas are too tough.
Once you experience some of these other areas, a lot of people say the hip is painful. What else the spine? A lot of people say the spine really hurts a lot. I got some tattoos on the top of my back and uh the top of the back like in the spine middle area. It hurt a little bit, but i wouldn’t really put it anywhere, even in the top ten honestly but yeah.
Those are some other notables right there, like i said, if you have other ones, drop them in the comments. If you enjoyed this video go ahead and throw a like on it to help me out and go ahead and subscribe if you’re new to the channel, so thanks for watching we’ll see you soon have a nice day.