What Does a Tattoo Feel Like?

Tattoos feel different for each person, with descriptions ranging from a cat-scratch feeling to feeling like being repeatedly stuck with a pin. The sensation and level of pain varies from irritating to nearly unbearable; it depends on the person and the location of the tattoo.

How someone feels a tattoo often varies based on the location of the tattoo, the skill of the artist, the detail of the tattoo and the person's pain threshold. Places such as the upper arm or calf hurt less than the shoulders, which hurt less than bony places such as the feet or elbows. If an artist tattoos too deep, it can be extra painful; outlining intricate detail can also be quite painful.