There's simply no way around it: tattoos hurt. However, did you know that there are 8 simple ways to make the process hurt less? That's right, we've narrowed down our top 8 most effective tips for reducing and managing pain during a tattoo that you should implement during your next appointment. Take a look at our tattoo pain guide in the gallery below and let us know if you have a trick for managing tattoo pain that we didn't mention in the comments section on Facebook.
Did you know that sleep deprivation can actually lower your ability to tolerate pain? Several studies have been conducted in recent years, most notably one conducted through the sleep disorders and research center at the Henry Ford Hospital, have found that test subjects with an average of nine hours of sleep were able to withstand simulated pain up to 25% longer than the other subjects.
Eat a Hearty Breakfast
While we don't recommend in indulging in pancakes, bacon and eggs for every breakfast—there's evidence that proves that a high-fat breakfast can make the tattoo process less painful. In a 1997 study conducted by behavioral psychologists Zmarzty, S. A., A. S. Wells and N. W. Read—they found that healthy subjects who ingested high-fat low-CHO meals had a significantly higher pain tolerance than those who ingested low-fat meals or had no meals.
Dress in Comfortable Layers
While there may not be scientific evidence that leads us to believe that comfortable clothing reduces the pain of a tattoo, we'd still highly recommend it. When you're getting tattooing, you want to be as comfortable as possible and it helped to dress in layers because your body will likely begin to sweat as you're being tattooed.
Try a Topical Anesthetic
Over the past several years, the tattoo aftercare industry has created an abundance of products to help not only the healing process, but the actual tattoo process as well. There are dozens of topical anesthetics specifically designed to aid the tattoo process, from creams to balms to sprays, however, we highly recommend consulting your artist before applying one. Some topical anesthetics are meant to be used before the tattoo takes place, whereas others are only effective once the skin has been broken. There should be no surprises for you or your artist, so make sure you're in the clear before arriving at your appointment 'numbed up.'
According to a 2016 preliminary study published in Psychophysiology, people experiencing hypo-hydration and dehydration will have intensifies pain sensitivity opposed to those who are adequately hydrated. However, you don't want to be overly hydrated during the tattoo process, as this will require you to take frequent bathroom breaks and prolong your sessions.
Listen to a Podcast or Playlist
While there's nothing wrong with chatting up your artist or enjoying the sound track of a bustling tattoo shop, some people prefer to tune out from the tattoo process. We recommend listening to podcasts or creating a playlist because the long listening sessions of audio entertainment are a more effective distraction than manually changing songs.
Take the Edge Off
Okay, here us out on this one. While we by no means recommend showing up to your appointment drunk or high on drugs, anecdotal evidences suggests that many people have had positive experiences relieving and managing the pain of a tattoo through using cannabis. According to 2014 online study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, most participants preferred using indica strains to help with pain management and sedation.
But, if you're looking for a way to help deal with pain but don't want to deal with the symptoms of THC, there's always CBD. A study conducted by the European Journal of Pain found that CBD oil helped reduce inflammation and signs of pain in lab rats with arthritis.
Focus on Breathing
While being told to 'just breathe' during a tattoo may sound cliché, concentrating on deep breathing can actually be an effective tool in managing pain. First of all, holding your breath during the tattoo process is a bad idea because it causes fatigue and the stiffness of your muscles actually makes the process hurt more. Whereas meditation and relaxation techniques that revolve around slow and deep breathing can help control your stress hormones.
What do you think about these tips and tricks for managing pain during the tattoo process Do you make sure to prepare ahead of time for the pain before getting tattooed? Or do you prefer to earn your ink the old fashioned way? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section on Facebook.