Do Piercings Hurt More Than Tattoos?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 21, 2019
    Last Updated: January 29, 2021

Piercings could hurt more than tattoos, but it depends on where you’re getting the piercing. Also, some describe piercing pain as very short and intense, while tattoo pain can be drawn out and consistently painful.

If it’s your first time getting a piercing or a tattoo, you’re probably worried about the intensity and duration of the procedure. The information below guides you through whether your piercing will hurt more than a tattoo, depending on where you’re getting pierced.

How Much Do Piercings Hurt?

A needle punctures your skin suddenly and then exits your body, with some people reporting burning and throbbing feelings. If you’re a bit of a thrill-seeker, this is excellent news: it can feel like a pinch or a bee sting, depending on your threshold, but you won’t know until it happens! 

If you don’t like surprises, think of it as a quick procedure in which the most acute pain lasts for up to a few seconds — at the very moment of the procedure. Your aftercare procedure will determine how long it will stay sore and how quickly the piercing will heal. Note that your piercing will likely be sore when you clean it for a few days, too.

How Much Do Tattoos Hurt?

On the other hand, tattoo pain is often described as one similar to a cat scratch, and the healing period can take up to ten days. Highly individual as well, it’s not uncommon to watch somebody in excruciating pain while getting tatted. This isn’t unreasonable, especially considering the proximity of nerve endings under the skin. 

How Long Does The Pain Last?

With tattoos, the momentary intensity is significantly lower, but the stinging lasts much longer than the quick prod of the piercing. 

There’s a correlation between how long tattoos and piercings take to heal and how long they hurt for. Of course, this is highly dependent on the area of the body. While an earlobe piercing heals in six to eight weeks, a belly button piercing may take up to a whole year to fully recover.

Does It Hurt the Same Everywhere?

With both tattoos and piercings, how much they hurt depends on:

  • Concentration of nerve endings
  • Amount of flesh and muscle in the area 
  • Skin thickness

The most painful spots for both a tattoo and a piercing are the ones with the most nerve endings, like the groin, and the boniest ones, such as an ankle. If you want the least painful experience possible, choose a fleshy and muscular part of the body, such as a thigh or an upper arm. 

Knee tattoos can be painful

Similarly, piercings are harder to endure in the nipple area but easier on the earlobes. No matter your view on a baby or a toddler having their earlobe pierced, this is the reason why they can manage the pain.

The Art of Making It Hurt Less

To reduce how much your piercings and tattoos hurt, take in the below tips:

  • Choose a Professional: Always make sure that your body artist is licensed
  • Safety First: Check how the parlor sanitizes their equipment. With a robust regime, infections and pain levels can be reduced
  • Sleep Well: Getting a good night’s sleep before the tattoo or piercing can help reduce sensitivity to pain
  • Eat First: By having a healthy diet, it’s thought that pain is more manageable. Make sure you eat before the appointment to avoid blood pressure from dropping and fainting
  • Breathe: Practice deep breathing to manage the pain
  • Chat: Talk to your artist and get lost in their stories and tales to take your mind off the pain
  • Use a Numbing Cream: If you’re especially concerned about the pain, using a good numbing cream can work wonders for reducing discomfort throughout your procedure.

One of the most effective piercing numbing products currently on the market is Zensa Numbing Cream, which contains the highest level of Lidocaine allowed by the FDA for over-the-counter use. The feedback left by thousands of customers for this product is nothing short of exceptional.

Just follow the instructions on the packaging, apply shortly before your piercing procedure is due to begin, and look forward to a less painful and more comfortable piercing experience.

Piercings Hurt, but It Could Be Worse!

Due to the difference in the procedures, pain differences between piercings and tattoos are just as incomparable as the pain between childbirth and, well, nothing!

If you want a piercing or a tattoo badly, the fear of how bad the potential pain is, shouldn’t be the rock in the shoe that prevents you from getting one. With enough sleep and proper preparation, you can have a manageable experience and come out with a fantastic piece of bodywork.

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