How Much Does a Forearm Tattoo Hurt? Informational Guide

Do forearm tattoos hurt? This would certainly be succeeded by another question, How much do forearm tattoo hurt? Everything you should know

Are you planning to get your very first tattoo? That’s awesome! Or perhaps this is your second, third, maybe fourth tattoo?

Either way, getting a tattoo done is one of the most exciting experiences there is. If you’ve chosen your forearm as the canvas for your new body art, you may be wondering, “Do forearm tattoos hurt?” This would certainly be succeeded by another question, How much does a forearm tattoo hurt?

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about tattooing the forearm and how much pain you might experience getting a forearm tattoo.

Is The Forearm a Very Painful Location For a Tattoo? 

Pain, as you know, is very subjective. What you might consider painful, might feel next to nothing to someone else.

However, on the whole, the forearm is Not one of the most painful places for body art. In fact, the forearm is considered a pretty pain-free location – with mild-to-medium pain levels during tattooing. In fact, if you ask tattoo artists or people with tons of body art, they might say that the forearm is the least painful of all locations for your first tattoo.

This is true for both the inner and outer forearm regions.

Pain levels: How much pain can you expect in your forearm 

Tattoos hurt a lot when the needle meets the bone. The closer the bone is to the dermis (the second layer of the skin where the tattoo ink is deposited to make it permanent), the more likely it is that you’ll experience pain. Other areas where your tattoos are most likely to hurt are where the skin is super sensitive.

The forearm is a relatively fatty area of the body. It has a thick layer of muscles and fat above the forearm bones (the ulna and the radius). Plus, this is a location of your body that is routinely exposed to stress in the form of exercise, chores, pollution, etc. All of these take a toll on the health of the forearm, and also the texture of your skin. Your forearm skin isn’t as sensitive or vulnerable to pain, as the skin on your neck or at your armpits, or near the pubic region, for example.

Plus, there aren’t many nerve endings on the forearm either. As your tattoo artist runs the machine across your forearm, it is less likely to come in contact with nerves close to the epidermis or dermis, thereby preventing severe pain.

In fact, if you’d ask us how much does a forearm tattoo hurt, we’d say that its pain level is somewhere between 2 and 4 for most people. (This is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least painful to 10 being the most painful).

Of course, in saying this, it’s important to consider your own pain threshold here. If you have sensitive skin or tend to experience pain more acutely than others, then you may feel the forearm is painful to tattoo. But in our experience, we’ve seen that the forearm is the best place to get your first tattoo.

What Does Pain on The Forearm Feel Like During Tattooing? 

Pain during tattooing depends on what type of artwork is being done. Line work and shading result in different types of pain. White ink can be more painful than tattooing in black or other colors because it takes longer for white to appear and stay on the skin. If you’re getting your existing tattoo reworked or if a previous tattoo hasn’t healed properly and needs fixing or if you’re getting a scar covered up – all of these could increase the chances of pain even in a forearm tattoo.

Most people say that while getting the forearm tattooed, they experience minor pinpricks on their arms. There could be a tingling or mild scratching sensation. If the artwork is closer to the wrist or the elbow, then you might even feel a sharp sting as the tattoo machine comes closer to the wrist bone. If it’s a blackout tattoo or you need lots of white shading in there, you might feel a minor burn on your forearm.

While forearm tattoo pain is mildly distracting, it isn’t all-out unbearable.

Does Hair On The Forearm Affect Pain While Tattooing? 

No, it does not. This is because your tattoo artist will either ask you to shave your forearms and come or they will shave your forearm before your session. So, you don’t have to worry about hair on your forearm being pulled out by the tattoo machine while tattooing.

How Much do Inner forearm Tattoos hurt?

Inner Bicep Tattoo Pain – 6 out of 10

There is a fair amount of pain associated with inner bicep tattoos. There are several sensitive nerves located in the inner bicep/elbow area that run along the underside of your arm. You have a relatively tender tattooing area on the inner bicep due to its thin, sensitive skin.

Lower Arm Tattoo

Pain – 3 out of 10

A tattoo on this area is generally less painful than on other areas. Additionally, the forearm makes an ideal canvas for your tattoo artist to work on. Considering the radial nerve that runs through the inner arm, the outer forearm is less painful to tattoo than the inner forearm.

What Is The Least Painful Place to Get A Tattoo?

Areas of your body with few nerve endings are the least painful places to get a tattoo. Consider the outer shoulder, calf, buttocks, and outer arm.

Will There Be Pain After Getting The Forearm Tattoo? 

Your tattoo will certainly feel sore for a few hours after you get it done. However, it shouldn’t hurt beyond this time period. If done properly, no tattoo – no matter where they are located – should be painful. Your forearm included.

Depending on what type of tattoo has been drawn on your forearm, you will be given specific care instructions that you need to follow to ensure your forearm tattoo heals properly and is completely pain-free later. It’s very important to follow your tattoo artist’s instructions and to look after your tattoo carefully.

How Do I Recognize If It’s an Infection-Related Forearm Pain? 

Tattoo infections rarely occur in studios that are sterilized and which use fresh needles and fresh, organic ink for each client. Additionally, if you have implemented every post-tattoo care instruction properly, you shouldn’t be having an infection.

Don’t confuse scabbing of your forearm tattoo for infection. Scabbing is a natural and normal healing process. It’s very important that you don’t pick or scratch at the scabs so that your skin can heal perfectly underneath. The same holds true for your forearm tattoo leaking a water-like substance. This is plasma and it helps your skin heal from the tattoo.

But if you haven’t picked at your scabs and yet you continue to experience pain in your forearm in the area where you have recently got the tattoo, look for one or more of the following infection symptoms –

  • Fever.
  • Red, inflamed lesions on the tattoo.
  • Pus coming from the tattoo.
  • Sudden hot or cold shivers.
  • Changes in appetite.

Contact your tattoo artist immediately if you experience pain along with these symptoms. They will recommend what you need to do next.

Getting a forearm tattoo can be the best idea for first-timers and people with sensitive skin 

Overall, forearm tattoos don’t really hurt that much. Plus, they heal quickly too. You’ll notice that your forearm is large enough to support an expansive artwork and spacious enough to hold multiple small tattoos too.

If this is your first time getting a tattoo and you’re nervous about experiencing pain, then consider getting your forearm tattooed. Choose painful areas like your back, shoulder, ribs, ankles, etc. for a later day when you have greater experience getting body art.

Best Forearm Tattoo Ideas 

So, now that you know the forearm is a great place for tattoos, let’s consider what tattoo ideas look great here –

Armband Tattoos


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A post shared by Ola Oleszkiewicz (@pejczi)

Forearm Sleeves


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A post shared by Clare Keton (@clareketontattoos)

Single Animal Tattoos (Elephant, Snake, birds, etc.)


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A post shared by Saskia Patrice (@saskiapatrice)

Flower Tattoo


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A post shared by Pat Ribeiro (



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A post shared by Tiago Vicente (@tiago__dot)

Tribal Designs


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A post shared by tattoomaori (@tattoomaori)

Geometric Shapes

Blackout Blocks


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A post shared by Blackwork Archive (@blackworkarchive)

Words and Quotes


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A post shared by Anastasia Summer (@nsxtattoo)

Pet Paw Prints

This list is endless. Explore the various forearm tattoo ideas on our website at World Tattoo Portal and find the perfect artist who can do your forearm tattoo for you. It’s going to be an incredible experience.


  1. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Tattoos: Understand risks and precautions.
  2. Tattoo removal: Eliminate unwanted tattoos. (n.d.).
  3. Yamamotová A, et al. (2017). Do multiple body modifications alter pain threshold?