How Bad Do Stomach Tattoos Hurt?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 16, 2019
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Tattoos are one of the most popular forms of body art; in fact, 21 percent of Americans bare one. If you’re thinking of joining the crowd, you’re likely to have some questions about a few things. 

One of these questions is likely to revolve around how bad stomach tattoos hurt. If you’re getting a stomach tattoo, you might be even more concerned, as this is a delicate area.

How bad a stomach tattoo hurts depends on:

  • Bodyweight
  • Pain threshold
  • Design
  • Size

The Tattoo Procedure

If you’re thinking about getting a stomach tattoo, and are concerned about the pain, become familiar with the process. It’ll help you to know what’s in store so you can prepare well.

The skin is the body’s largest organ and forms part of the integumentary system, consisting of three layers: the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. 

The tattooing sees a needle penetrating the epidermis and dermis layers — the ink inserts into the dermis layer. 

How Bad Will the Tattoo Hurt?

The Stomach Location

We all know that tattoos hurt. A needle is piercing your skin, and this is bound to cause the average person some discomfort. 

Even so, tattoos can be especially painful in areas where fat storage is higher and the number of nerve endings is larger. The stomach is, unfortunately, one of these areas


Bodyweight comes in to play regarding the level of pain for your stomach tattoo. Your skin stretches with weight gain and loses its elasticity — if this applies to you, the skin is likely to be more loose and fleshy. This excess skin won’t distort the look of the tattoo but may make for a pretty painful procedure. 

Pain Threshold 

The severity in pain of a stomach tattoo can heavily rest in the hands of your pain threshold. What are you like with day to day pain? A good way to gauge this is your sensitivity to something as simple as hot drinks or bumps and scrapes.

Don’t mistake your pain threshold with your pain tolerance, which cites the highest level of pain you can endure. These levels vary with different people and their brain makeup. Studies show that females have a lower tolerance and threshold to pain than men. 

Tattoo Design

Be conscious of how you want your tattoo to look. It’s easy to get wrapped up in exciting brainstorms for the design, forgetting it can influence pain. 

A minimalist tattoo of a simple black outline on your stomach should make for a quicker tattoo session. A comprehensive design filled with color, however, extends the session. Shorter sessions lessen the pain duration. 

Tattoo Size 

As with all tattoos, size can determine how painful the session is. The larger the surface area of the tattoo, the longer it takes, much as an intricate design would. 

A smaller tattoo equates to a shorter tat session. You’ll be hurting less.

Preparing for Stomach Tattoo Pain


Don’t forget that our minds are powerful things. Try to implement the ‘mind over matter’ mantra and know that you can persevere through the pain.

Hydrate Your Body 

Make sure that you’re adequately hydrated leading up to the stomach tattoo session. Hydrating the skin will improve its barrier function, especially when using certain plant oils.

Non-Blood Thinning Pain Relievers

Taking a non-blood thinning pain reliever like Tylenol before the session can help. These over-the-counter painkillers can be used safely to lessen the pain.

Schedule a Morning Session

Our bodies produce higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol in the morning. Scheduling a tattoo session at this time can help your body to deal with the pain. However, don’t expect miracles – the difference will likely be negligible, although it’s worth a shot if you’re your especially worried about the pain.

Try A Numbing Cream

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

Although the effectiveness of tattoo numbing products varies from person-to-person, many customers are 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 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 supplied with the cream and apply shortly before your tattoo appointment is due to begin so that you can look forward to a less painful and more comfortable tattooing experience. The amount of cream you get in a tube also ensures you have more than enough for a large tattoo. Click here to buy from Amazon


The bottom line is that all tattoos hurt. Areas of the body with minimal fat and more nerve endings, however, cause particular pain. Also, keep in mind the size and design of your tat. If you’re planning on going all-in with the complexity and size, it’s going to hurt more.

A stomach tattoo can hurt more based on body weight, and the loose stretched skin that can come with weight gain. The pain threshold also comes into play. How bad the stomach tattoo hurt can depend on the minimum amount of pain you start to feel.

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