Thigh Tattoo Pain: How Bad Do They Hurt?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 22, 2020
    Last Updated: January 3, 2021

The thigh is prime real estate in the world of tattooing, thanks to its size and shape that allows the area to be a perfect canvas for an experienced tattoo artist. If you’ve been toying with the idea of getting a thigh tattoo, you may want to know just how much it will hurt


Thigh Tattoo Pain

If you’re concerned about tattoo pain, the thigh area is one of the best places to get tattooed. This is because:

  • The thighs are fleshy, meaty parts of the body.
  • The skin is thick and more accustomed to friction.

The thigh has two very distinct sections in terms of tattoo pain, the inner and back of the thigh, and the upper and outer thigh. Where you place your new tat could impact just how much it hurts (or doesn’t).

Inner and Back of Thigh

The inner thigh is one of the most painful places around the thigh region to be tattooed on as it contains many nerve endings and is protected by only a thin layer of skin. The back of the thigh also has significant nerve endings.

Upper and Outer Thighs

These areas are consistently rated as one of the lowest pain thresholds for tattoo placement. The thigh’s top and outer side have a thicker layer of protective skin, not to mention a significantly higher percentage of both muscle and fat to protect nerves and bone. 

The muscles along the front of the thigh called the quadriceps, are the largest muscle group in the body. Our bodies also store fat in the thighs. The combination of thick muscles and protective fat provides a significant cushion for the nerves and bone during tattooing. 

Additionally, the skin on the upper and outer thighs tends to be thicker than the inner thigh and other parts of the body. The regular friction of clothing possibly contributes to the toughness of the skin on our thighs as well.

Upper and outer thigh tattoos are very popular for their aesthetics and versatility. Since the thigh is a larger section of the body, you can likely get large artwork tattooed with minimal pain. Thigh tattoos can also be easily covered – a major advantage when an occasion calls for it. 

How to Manage Tattoo Pain

No part of the body is going to be completely pain-free during the tattooing process. Permanent tattoos are made by injecting ink into the lower layer of your skin, called the dermis. The dermis is a living tissue containing blood capillaries and nerve endings, and pain is the body’s natural response to initiate the healing process. 

In general, the most painful spots for a tattoo are the parts of your body with many nerve endings, thin or sensitive skin, or areas where the skin is closest to the bone. The least painful areas are parts of the body with significant muscle mass and fat, which help protect nerve endings and bone. 

While your upper and outer thighs themselves will protect you from some pain, it’s always a good idea to be prepared to manage pain and take care of your skin’s healing process. A few tips for managing pain include:

Find a Professional

Be sure to do your research and find an experienced tattoo artist

Sleep Well

Protect your immune system by getting a good sleep before getting your tattoo. Studies show that sleeping well can help our bodies manage pain better.

Eat & Hydrate

Low blood sugar can decrease our pain tolerance, and dehydration has a whole host of adverse effects on the body. Eat a good hearty meal an hour or two before your next tattoo sitting.

Take Tylenol

While this isn’t scientifically proven to help reduce pain, many people say a dose of Tylenol before their tattooing session helps. Avoid alcohol and blood thinners like ibuprofen and aspirin, though.

Use a Numbing Cream

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 expect a less-painful experience. The amount you get in a container also ensures you have more than enough cream for a large tattoo.

Enjoy Your Thigh Tattoo

Getting a tattoo on your upper or outer thigh is one of the best places on the body if your goal is minimal pain with maximum aesthetic appeal. Results vary based on your individual pain tolerance, of course. For anyone new to tattoos or looking to avoid additional discomfort, the upper and outer thigh may be a perfect choice.

After getting a tattoo, you will likely experience some soreness in the area. Take good care of your skin as it heals and watch out for signs of infection. Swelling may last up to a week and is completely normal. With proper care, your skin will heal up perfectly.