Where Is the Best Place to Get Your First Tattoo?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on February 09, 2022
    Last Updated: February 9, 2022

Getting your first tattoo can be a daunting and exciting experience, and no one can sugarcoat it tattoos hurt. If you want a gorgeous piece of artwork shrouding a part of your body, then pain is part of the deal. However, some places on your body feel less pain than others.

We discuss the best place to get your first tattoo. We also look into the least painful places, popular places, areas to avoid, and preparation.

Where Is the Best Place to Get Your First Tattoo?

Where you decide to get your tattoo depends on whether you want to minimize pain or prefer specific spaces on your body. If you intend for your first tattoo to be your only tattoo, it’s probably best to choose a place you like. On the other hand, if this tat is going to be the first of many, it’s a good idea to start with a less painful spot.

Least Painful Places to Get a Tattoo

The least painful places to get a tattoo are usually fatty areas of the body and those with fewer nerve endings.


Thighs are an excellent place for your first tat because you can lay down comfortably due to the positioning. Laying down relaxes the body, which can help you deal with the pain.

Some areas of the thigh aren’t very painful to ink. However, major nerves run through the upper leg, which can cause severe pain. The most painful parts are the back of the thigh and inner thigh. The outer thigh is the least painful to have inked. 


The side of the calf is a good place to start as it’s relatively low on the pain scale. There’s also a lot of space to play with so you could go to town with a design. 

However, you’ll need a higher pain barrier for the back of your calf, as this can be a jaw-clenching experience.


Your forearm is an ideal place for your first tattoo, as it provides a decent-sized canvas, and it isn’t particularly unpleasant. The outer forearm is less painful than the inner forearm because the radial nerve passes through here.

Upper Arm/Shoulder 

The upper arm is arguably the least painful place to have a tattoo. But, if you venture towards the inner bicep, it can become more intense as the skin becomes thinner.

Popular Places For a Tattoo

Back of the Neck

The back of your neck is a stunning place to get inked and not too painful. The ideas for neck tattoos are endless, and they range from simplistic flowers to intricate patterns.


Usually, more males than females will choose the chest area, although it tends to be more painful for men.

The chest can be a very sentimental, meaningful place to have a tattoo because it’s close to your heart.


The wrist is a beautiful spot for a first tattoo, especially if this is your only tattoo. However, there are many nerve endings in this area, and the skin is relatively thin so, it can be painful.

Tattooing the wrist tends to hurt more if you’re close to your hand. So you may want to place a tattoo higher up towards your forearm if you’re nervous about the pain.

Places to Avoid

Rib Cage

The rib cage is a notoriously painful area, and most people agree that this is the worst place to have a tattoo.


Not all parts of the face a painful to have tattooed, but it’s hard to cover them up. Unfortunately, people can be very judgemental and perceive tattoos as unprofessional.

If you plan on getting your first tat here, you may want to speak to your boss to check if it’s a problem. You might also want to think about prospects and whether or not a tattoo on your face will interfere with them.


Like the face, hands and fingers are also difficult to cover, and they’re painful to ink. 

Three major nerves run through your hand to provide sensation to your fingers, which could explain why it’s so painful. They’re also very boney and provide little cushioning against the needle.

The aftercare of hands and fingers is quite challenging as they’re constantly exposed. Hands are often prone to infection due to frequent contact with contaminants (toilet flushes, door handles, etc.).

Preparing For Your First Tattoo

Before you rush out to get inked, there are a few things you might want to think about and do to prepare.

Tattoo design: Choose the design of your tattoo carefully. You want something that you’re going to love several years from now. Avoid names of current partners and pop culture references because you may not like them in the future.

The artist: Do your research, talk to the artist, and check out their work. You can also ask people who already have tattoos about their experience with the artist.

People’s opinions: Get your friend’s and family’s opinions about the design you’ve chosen. Although it’s ultimately your decision it is nice to hear other people’s thoughts.

Shop cleanliness: Always check out the cleanliness of the shop before you book your appointment.

Moisturize: Moisturize your skin twice a day in the weeks leading up to your appointment. Dry flakey skin isn’t the best canvas for your tattoo. However, don’t moisturize the day of your session as it could interfere with the needle and ink. 

Shower and shave: Shower and shave before your appointment, as the area must be clean. Try to avoid any cuts, and if you’re worried about nicking yourself, leave the shaving up to the tattooist.

Eat and drink: Eating and drinking before your session helps keep your energy levels up. You can also take snacks with you.

Clothing: Wear appropriate clothes for your appointment and choose clothes you don’t mind ruining. Also, think about the area you’re getting inked and how easy it is to access. 


The best place for your first tattoo is ultimately your choice. However, certain things such as the amount of pain it causes and whether it’s easy to cover may influence your decision.

Once you’ve decided on the best place and design for your tat, take your time to prepare.

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