A common description of the feeling of getting tattooed is a repeated cat scratch. Another description is that it feels like scratching a sunburn. The exact sensation and the level of pain varies based on the individual, with some people claiming there is hardly any pain and others claiming the pain is only annoying and uncomfortable.
The pain can be too much for certain people; however, most people report that the pain wasn't as bad as they expected. The literal feeling of getting a tattoo is of a needle being inserted into the skin repeatedly. The feeling is concentrated in the area of the tattoo, and many people become numb to the pain during the process.
The feeling of being tattooed also depends on the location and size of the tattoo. Areas where skin is stretched tightly over bone, such as the ribs or chest, are usually more painful to get tattooed. Areas that are less painful include the arms, the back and the thighs.
After a tattoo is completed, the skin is red and sore. It can bleed or ooze pus. It is an open wound and can feel like a sunburn. Proper tattoo aftercare includes washing it regularly, patting it dry and applying a healing ointment.