How Much Do Wrist Tattoos Hurt? What You Need To Know

What is the pain like for a wrist tattoo ? Wrist tattoos are certainly one of the most beautiful types of body art in the world of tattooing.

With the turn or flourish of your wrist, you can display the various contours and nuances of your brand-new wrist tattoo to everyone.

If you’re considering getting a wrist tattoo, you’ve come to the right place. You may have wondered how much wrist tattoos hurt. Well, in this article, we’ll explore exactly how much they hurt, so you can decide if a wrist tattoo is for you or not. Let’s get started.

Is The Wrist a Very Painful Place To Get A Tattoo?

There are some parts of your body that result in little to no pain. There are others that hurt terribly when tattooed. The wrist falls between these two categories. For many, wrist tattoos come under the moderate to severe pain group.

But before we understand more about pain during wrist tattooing, it’s important to understand that the entire wrist does not hurt in the same way or at the same level. The severity of pain depends on the placement of the tattoo on the wrist.

Wrist Bones and Tattoo Placement

Now let’s talk about the bones in your wrists and how they affect pain during tattooing.

While tattoos do cause some discomfort, acute pain arises in two conditions –

  • You are getting the tattoo done in a location that has a lot of bones.
  • Your skin has many nerve endings and is therefore very sensitive to pain.

The wrist falls under the former category. Your wrist contains many small bones that support your hand movement, flexibility, and strength. These wrist bones are the proximal portions of the 5 metacarpal bones, which lead to the 8 carpal bones (which make up the main boney structure of the wrist) and finally, lead to the distal ends of the radius and ulna in your forearm.

Tattooing on the wrist where the machine runs over the bone results in pain. You’ll see that tattoos at the side of the wrist under the thumb hurt a lot because the carpal navicular bone is located very close to the dermis and comes into close contact with the tattoo needle.

The distal ends of the ulna and the radius bones on the outer wrist can also hurt when you get the tattoo done right on top of where the bones end. Just like the carpal bone, they too experience stress from the tattoo machine working right on top of them and can cause inflammation and pain.

The part of your outer wrist which doesn’t hurt much is the space where the major chunk of the carpal bones is located. This is because most people often have some layer of muscle and fat here, which makes it less painful. Plus, the bones are almost smoothly aligned here and aren’t as susceptible to pain as the sides of the wrist.

Inner Wrist

Now you may be wondering about the inner wrist. There are no bones that are located close to the surface of the dermis over here. So does that mean your inner wrist will not at all be painful during tattooing? Well, not quite.

It should be noted that the skin on the inner wrist is thin compared to other places. So, if you have sensitive skin, to begin with, you’re more likely to experience moderate pain even in the inner wrist while getting your tattoo done.

Pain levels: How much pain can you expect on your wrist?

Pain can’t be quantified as being a one-size-fits-all experience. However, based on the compilation of opinions by thousands of people who’ve got wrist tattoos, it can be said that wrist tattoos do hurt for most people.

Let’s take a scale that runs from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least painful and 10 being the most painful. In that case, wrist tattoos can hurt on a pain scale of 5 to 7 for different people, depending on their experience getting tattoos and the placement of the wrist tattoo.

Your wrist may hurt more than usual during tattooing in certain other situations, such as –

  • Reworking a tattoo that has not healed properly or which was infected and is still tender.
  • Covering up with intense shading and coloring.
  • Doing a tattoo that uses a lot of white ink (white hurts a lot more than black and other colors because it needs to be brushed in very strongly for the color to stay.)
  • Doing a tattoo on an injury or a scar that is sensitive to pain.

If you do come into any of these categories, it’s important to speak to your tattoo artist and ask them for their advice. They’ll let you know if the wrist is a good place for you to get a tattoo or not.

What does pain on the wrist feel like during tattooing?

Pain during tattooing can manifest in different ways for different people. From minor tingling to an intense scratchy burn, pain can be very unique depending on the type of tattoo being done, the colors being used and the area of the body being tattooed.

Your wrist will definitely experience a vibrating pain that is sharp and intense. This pain ebbs and flows constantly till the tattooing is completed. There may even be a burning type of pain, especially if a lot of shading is done for your wrist tattoo. The inner wrist will experience a sharp stinging sensation, as the skin is thin and tender and many blood vessels are located in that region.

You’ll feel the pain reverberating across your hand and forearm. You may even have minor referred pain in your elbow or shoulders after many hours of wrist tattooing.

We recommend that you get your wrist tattoo about 0.5-1 inches lower than the base of your outer/inner palm, to reduce exposing the more sensitive parts of your wrist to the tattoo machine.

Will there be pain and inflammation after getting the wrist tattoo?

Since the bones of the wrist will have experienced quite a strain, your wrist will definitely be inflamed, red and painful for a few hours after the tattoo session. But this pain should go away soon and you’ll only be left with a minor soreness. This soreness can persist for a few days.

Can a wrist tattoo become painful due to an infection?

If your wrist tattoo has been made by a qualified artist and in a hygienic studio, your wrist tattoo should not get infected. But, if your wrist tattoo is infected, you will experience intense pain even days after the completion of the tattoo, along with these symptoms –

  • Raw and red lesions on and around the wrist.
  • Wrist discoloration.
  • Pus seeping from the tattoo.
  • Fever.

If you experience these, then consult your tattoo artist about what to do, immediately. They will recommend medications to clear out the infection and reduce the pain.

If you notice water-like leaking from your tattoo, don’t worry. That’s actually plasma and it helps heal the skin that has been damaged by the tattoo. The same goes with scabbing. The top layer of your skin starts to scab and fall off, leaving behind the healed and inked lower layer of the skin, which results in your permanent body art.

Let Your Elegant Wrist Tattoo Become The Cynosure Of All Eyes

Wrist tattoos are definitely more painful than, say, forearm tattoos. But they aren’t as painful as back and chest tattoos. So, if you’re okay dealing with moderate pain levels, then go ahead and get your new wrist tattoo done. The wrist tattoo will make your wrist look smaller, thinner, and more elegant. It’s a beautiful decoration for people of all genders.

Is The Wrist a Good Place For a First Tattoo?

Typically, female customers will elect to have their first tattoo performed on their wrist. This is the ideal location for a delicate and dainty tattoo. However, beware! Due to the presence of many nerve endings in the wrist, the tattoo itself is more painful than it would be in an area where there is less cushioning.

Why Do Some People Find Them Extra Painful?

First of all, let’s take a look at the wrist anatomy.

It is important to take into account the delicate skin and nerves inside the wrist, as well as the wrist bone.

The nerves that run from the cervical spine down your arms, and then through your hands play an important role in the sensation and movement of your hands and fingers. It can be particularly uncomfortable to tattoo over these nerves.

In addition, your biological sex and your emotions may make a tattoo more painful.

Although males and females did not experience different levels of pain during the procedure, a 2020 study conducted by found that, after the procedure, females experienced higher levels of pain than males. It should be noted, however, that the authors point out that their study had a number of limitations – so take their findings with a grain of salt.

Stress before getting tattooed increases pain sensitivity during and after the procedure, according to the same study.

The sensitivity to pain has also been associated with fear and other negative emotions, according to Trusted Source.

As mentioned earlier, pain is very subjective, so everyone will experience it differently.

Amazing Wrist Tattoo Ideas

So, what wrist tattoo designs will look great?

Anything small – animal, bird, plant, flower, object – in line work


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A post shared by ♥ ALLIE MOON ♥ (@alliemoontattoo)

Wrist Bands


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A post shared by ☻ Gabriel Ménard (@dranem.bag)

Small lettering of Names or Quotes

Yin Yang Design


Sun & Moon


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A post shared by Teej (@taurusteej.tattoos)

Rose and Anchor


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A post shared by Do. Art Ink (@do.artink)

Don’t these ideas sound absolutely wonderful? Go ahead and find your preferred tattoo artist right here on World Tattoo Portal and book your wrist tattoo today. You can also look into how much forearm tattoos hurt if you are looking for a different placement.