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What to Really Expect When You're Getting a Bigger Tattoo

That ancient "Does it hurt?!" question is finally answered. Kinda. In-depth.

Probably the most frequent and annoying question tattooed people get is "Does it hurt?" or something in that sense. People just love to know if the needle punching through your skin for (sometimes) hours hurts! This won't be one of those thousands and thousands of articles complaining about this and saying that yes, getting tattooed does hurt. I want to talk about something not many people talk about.


The act of getting tattooed itself isn't the only painful part and sometimes it's not the worst one either.


It would be helpful to say that this will mostly apply for people who will be getting bigger or medium sized tattoos. Simply something more than your minimalistic style flower, letters or little dots on your fingers. Big tattoos are great, in my opinion. I was always one of those people who planned tattoos out and the idea of having a sleeve created from many smaller, seemingly incoherent tattoos gives me shivers. I love those planned out, completely flowing and coherent sleeves where everything is in the same style and fits nicely together. But with that—and all big tattoos—comes a price. (And no, I'm not talking about the actual money you pay for it...)

Not only do you have to sit through sometimes hours (depends on how long your session is and how you planned it with your artist) of tattooing which obviously hurts, but there is also more than one kind of pain.

Not many people talk about this for some reason but to me, the discomfort of sitting in the chair for several hours in insane twisted position is sometimes much worse than the needle going through the skin itself. Because even if you don't have great tolerance, you can get through it. The moment the needle is gone it's bearable and at the beginning of every session, your body is full of hormones trying to help you deal with pain. (It is also extremely important to eat before your tattoo and get enough sugars which really really helps you get through it!) When I was getting my sleeves done, the most annoying part was always having to twist and turn and sit uncomfortably (even though I was allowed to sit how I want and try to get comfortable) so the tattoo artist has good grip and can tattoo in all the awkward places.

This results in my arm always aching like I was lifting the hardest weights in the gym for several days after the tattoo. Which is kind of annoying. It is different kind of pain than getting tattooed and probably not as bad for most people but still... something to be prepared for.

No Pain, No Gain. Right?

Monami Frost

Another big thing is the healing itself when it comes to larger pieces.

It's one thing to take care of that little feather on the side of your finger that's so small you probably won't even notice it's scabbing. Another thing is leaving after your 4 hour long session completely drained (it's even normal to feel extremely tired/nauseous after big tattoo - it's big strain for your body afterall so don't panic) with huge open wound on your body that gets hot, swollen and uncomfortable. It's also obviously much harder to sleep with big tattoo because you need to be bit careful with it for the first few days. And the itching when it starts to heal...? Oh my.

Overall, when it comes to big tattoos, healing is probably the most annoying part of the whole proccess. Because the worst is done in few hours but the aftermach? That is for days or weeks.

It wasn't my intention to scare anyone interested in tattoos, I'm just giving you the most realistic, most detailed answer to that goddamn question "Does getting tattooed hurts?!"


Yes, it does, but it sure is worth it!

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What to Really Expect When You're Getting a Bigger Tattoo
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