How Bad Do Shin Tattoos Hurt?

All tattoos cause pain; however, the level of pain differs according to the body part tattooed. It’s known that areas with less fat or skin cause the most pain, and the more you approach the bones, the more pain will accompany the tattoo.

Before deciding which area you’d like to have tattooed, it’s essential to know the level of pain associated with that area. Accordingly, you decide whether it’s worth the pain or to get a tattoo on another part of the body. Worried about shin tattoo pain? We’ve got you covered.

Shin tattoo pain can be significant because:

  • The skin is close to the bone
  • There isn’t much fat in the area
  • There are plenty of nerve endings around the shin
  • The sensation of the needle close to bone can be uncomfortable

Learn About the Shin Area

We’re going into some biology, here, so no falling asleep, soldier! It’s important to know more about the area you’ll tattoo — it could sway your decision either way.

The shin area has two main bones — the tibia and the fibula — which are a vital part of the body, especially since they’re responsible for connecting the ankle to the knee. Moreover, they have a critical role in providing support to the muscles of the lower leg.

We’re mainly concerned about the tibia here since it’s the shin bone and is the second-largest bone in the human body. It’s found in the lower front part of your leg — you know, the place that always takes the brunt of knocks and bumps.

If you’ve ever played sports, you know how easy it is to feel pain in this area. Since lead with our lower legs when we move, it has a high chance of being on the receiving end of the impact. We don’t wear guards on our thighs for a reason — they’re meaty and can withstand damage much better than our shins can.

Reasons Why Shin Tattoos Are Considered Painful

Minimal fat padding

The very thought of something touching our bones directly makes us cringe. We all know that there isn’t much padding in the shin area, meaning that the nerve endings in the area are going to be more sensitive to vibrations and an intrusion through the skin.

Stimulation of the periosteum — tissue surrounding the bones, to you and me — is known to be the principal cause of pain in this area.

Rattling Sensations

Another reason why the shin area is generally considered a delicate area to tattoo is the feeling the client gets when the needle gets close to bone.

When the tattoo needles pierce the skin that doesn’t have that nice cushion of fat beneath it, the rapid pumping movement of the needles can cause the person getting tattooed to experience an uncomfortable sensation that feels like the bone beneath the needle is violently rattling, and this sensation is usually felt throughout the whole region.

While not painful as such, this experience is generally not very pleasant, and over long periods, can mentally wear down the person getting tattooed as they try to take their mind off of the sensation.

Of course, your bones are not literally shaking, and the needles aren’t actually hitting any bone – it’s purely a strong, uncomfortable sensation.

Shin Designs Are Generally Quite Large

The size and detail of a tattoo are generally linked to the amount of pain that may be perceived. As most shin tattoos tend to be rather large, the pain will continue to build up as a tattoo sitting goes on, especially as hormones such as adrenaline begin to fade away.

How to Make Shin Tattoos Hurt Less

Choose a Small/Simple Design

The smaller and simpler the design, the less the tattoo will usually hurt. While shin tattoos tend to look better when they’re on the larger side, it may be wise to start small and build on your tattoo over multiple sessions – especially if you’re highly concerned about the potential pain.

Pick a Gentle Artist

When tattooing an area as delicate as the shin, you’ll want to pick an experienced artist who isn’t too rough with his work.

No matter who you pick, however, you will experience some form of pain and discomfort due to the nature of the tattooing process. It’s just good to realize that some artists are generally more gentle than others.

Use a Tattoo Numbing Spray/Cream

If you’re especially concerned about the pain, you may wish to try applying a numbing cream to your shin area before/at the beginning of your tattoo session.

Although the effectiveness of numbing products varies from person-to-person, many clients are generally very happy with the numbing effect that their chosen cream has achieved.

For people wanting a little extra assistance for dealing with the pain, a good tattoo numbing cream can really help to take the edge off.

One of the most effective tattoo numbing products currently on the market is a cream called Numb 520. The feedback left by hundreds of customers for this product is nothing short of excellent.

Just follow the instructions on the tub, apply shortly before your tattoo session is due to begin and look forward to a less-painful experience. The amount you get in a container also ensures you have more than enough cream for a large tattoo.

Give it a try, and I’m confident you’ll not be disappointed.

If you’re interested in trying something a bit different, here’s a selection of my other favorite tattoo numbing creams and sprays currently available.

It’s Your Decision

Getting a tattoo can be sexy and appealing to the outside world and fulfilling for the individual; however, it’s important to determine whether you can bear the pain that accompanies the various body parts. 

Shin tattoo pain is definitely no walk in the park – but with a bit of determination and grit, you should be about to walk out of the studio with the tattoo of your dreams.