Is it Normal to Get a Headache After a Tattoo?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on October 1, 2021
    Last Updated: February 18, 2022

Getting a tattoo for the first time can be a stressful experience but it’s important that you know what to expect from it. The process is not just about getting the tattoo, there’s a whole lot more to it than that. 

The tattoo process causes trauma and stress to both your body and your brain. This takes a lot out of you and your body needs to heal. Your skin has just been penetrated by a number of needles over and over again.

Lots of people get a headache following a tattoo. The question is, is this normal, and can it be avoided?

Is it Normal to Get a Headache After a Tattoo?

There are lots of reports of people getting a headache after having a tattoo, especially their first one. There are lots of reasons why this would happen, one of these would be the stress when thinking about the tattoo and the process. 

A tattoo is a big commitment and you will have the tattoo that you chose for life so it’s a big decision. This can be stressful before you even get into the tattoo studio. Add into that the thought of the pain and then the actual tattoo process and it’s no wonder that people come away with a headache. 

After the tattoo is completed your immune system will get to work and start the healing process. You will also feel the tension release and this can result in a headache.

How Long Will It Last?

A headache following a tattoo can last for a few days as your body relaxes and starts the healing process. It may get worse before it gets better but that’s normal.

However, if you find that you still have a headache after this time, we would recommend that you speak to your doctor.

What Can You Do To Feel Better?

You can take an over-the-counter painkiller to dull the pain that you’re feeling. However, we wouldn’t recommend that you take anything stronger than this. 

You should spend a few days after getting the tattoo looking after yourself and your tattoo. Make sure that you eat well, and drink plenty of (non-alcoholic) liquids to keep your body in the best condition. 

Spend some time relaxing after the stressful time you’ve had and keep your tattoo in the best condition.

Tips For Next Time

Your first tattoo will always be the worst as you don’t know what to expect. You could build the situation up into something that it isn’t and get yourself stressed. This isn’t good for your head or your body as you will be tense.

Try relaxing and keep yourself calm before your tattoo appointment, this should help with some of the stress. It should also ease the trauma on your body as you’re not so tense. 

Also, make sure that you’re hydrated for your appointment and have had enough sleep, this will help you to relax. 

Make sure that you don’t have any medication as you are going for your tattoo. This should be avoided as you don’t know what effect it may have on you. You should also avoid alcohol as this will be more likely to create a headache rather than stop one.


You should be fully prepared for both getting the tattoo and the aftereffects of the procedure. It’s normal to get a headache afterward as your body has just gone through trauma and your brain has been stressed. 

Don’t let this put you off getting a tattoo as it’s only a small part of the process. After the pain is over, you will be left with a beautiful tattoo to look at.

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