The level of pain from a wrist tattoo depends on the part of the wrist being tattooed. The most popular placement for wrist tattoos is the inner wrist. This allows for greater visibility than other options like the side or top.
Inner wrist tattoos can hurt because the skin in this area is very soft and sensitive. Even the visible veins in your wrists are usually much deeper than the layers of skin penetrated by tattoo needles. As long as you use a reputable tattoo artist, the risk of damaging the veins in your wrist is negligible.
The insides of your wrists have more nerves running through them than the outside. This can increase the amount of pain you feel when being tattooed in this area. However, pain is subjective because various people experience pain differently.
If you are looking for inspiration before your tattoo, check out my portfolio – you can find my works and projects here – on Instagram.
How Painful Is An Inner Wrist Tattoo?
As a general rule, the area closest to the wrist joint is more sensitive than places further away. The inner wrist near the palm is the most sensitive and can be one of the more painful spotsfor a tattoo.
Less fatty tissue around the wrist means you may experience more pain when getting a wrist tattoo than on another part of the body. However, the wrist is not necessarily the most painful place to be tattooed. Some people say the throat, ribs, and armpit are the most painful places to be tattooed.
Fatty tissue helps to minimize pain by shielding the nerve endings. There is not much fatty tissue in your wrist. Also, many nerves and veins run along the inner wrist, which is why this area is so sensitive.
The nerves on your wrist are closer to the skin’s surface, so you will feel the pain from the needles more deeply. Some people may describe the pain as intense, but itis usually manageable. Because the inner wrist does not have much space and can only take a small tattoo, the pain will not last for long.
When the needles puncture thin areas of skin such as that on the wrist, the pain can feel quite sharp and deep compared to the usual scratching sensation of being tattooed on the forearms, thighs, and buttocks.
Pain Levels Depend On The Placement Of A Wrist Tattoo
There are several areas on the wrist that a tattoo may be placed, depending on the design. They are as follows –
- The inner wrist on the tender part just below the palm
- The outer wrist at the top of the bony part where you’d look at your watch
- Around the wrist in the form of a bracelet
- The sides of the wrist on the outer and inner edges
A tattoo on the outer wrist can be painful because, although the skin may be less sensitive than on the inner wrist, the bones are near the surface. Pain tolerance is an individual thing, but a tattoo on a bony area hurts more than one in an area with a fatty layer.
Nerves, glands, arteries, and veins are more painful to tattoo over as are joints or anywhere the bone is right under the skin. Areas where the skin is tighter and there is underlying muscle or fat are less painful.
A bracelet tattoo will take up the skin on the bony outer wrist, the tender inner wrist, and the sides of the wrist, so it is associated with a relatively high degree of pain. The inner wrist is not a good placement for detailed designs because of the wrinkles caused by bending your wrist.
What Are The Chances Of Damaging Your Wrist Veins?
Your wrists have much less fatty tissue under the skin than other parts of your body. This means that the tattoo artist must be careful of the veins on both your inner and outer wrists.
Tattoo needles must not penetrate too deeply into the skin, potentially causing damage to or even injecting ink into the veins.
A skilled professional will have been trained to prevent damage to the veins. The skin has different layers, with the epidermis being the outer layer and the dermis lying just below it. The ink must be deposited into the dermis for the tattoo to be permanent.
The epidermis is always shedding flakes of skin, so it can’t hold a tattoo for long.
Below the dermis is a layer called the hypodermis, where subcutaneous fat is located. There are plenty of blood vessels in the hypodermis as it is the layer that joins the skin to the muscles and tissue below. Tattoo needles are generally not able to inject ink into the hypodermis.
The tattooing process damages the epidermis and the topmost layer of the dermis. Modern tattoo machines can deliver up to three thousand needle pricks a minute. A skilled artist can reduce the amount of ink getting into your bloodstream by injecting it at the correct depth.
Remember that there are also blood vessels in the dermis, which is why you bleed when you get a tattoo, so these blood vessels are being damaged. However, they are usually tiny and heal quickly. No matter where the tattoo is placed, there will be damage to these delicate blood vessels in the dermis, but it is not serious.
Tattoo needles are not the same as the hypodermic needles used to inject people for medical reasons. Hypodermic needles are much longer and are designed to penetrate deeper so that they can be inserted into muscles and veins. Tattoo needles are short with tiny tips intended only to penetrate the upper layers of the skin.
Amateurs who aren’t trained in the art of tattooing and who may not be using the proper equipment can dig a needle in too deep. Not only can this potentially damage a vein, but it also leads to unsightly scarring.
If you do get tattoo ink in your veins, it travels as particles in the blood that can get stuck in the liver. Your body can’t break these ink particles down. They can also travel to your lymph nodes, causing them to change color to match your tattoo.
Usually, if the tattoo artist injects the ink too deep, you can get what is known as a blowout. The ink spreads through the skin layers causing the tattoo to look smudged and blurry. It is unlikely that a professional tattoo artist will damage a vein.
Health Care Tips For Wrist Tattoos
Wrist tattoos require a little extra monitoring because of the high degree of flexibility in this area. You should keep a close eye on how often your new tattoo is in contact with surfaces and do your best to avoid unnecessary contact and flexing. Highly mobile areas of skin are more prone to abrasion and infection.
A wrist tattoo may be more painful while it heals because of the frequency with which we use our hands. Our wrists are more likely to be bumped or scraped than other areas of our bodies. Placement of a tattoo over the wrist joint or the inside of the wrist where it is always bending can mean a longer healing time and should be regularly moisturized.
Why You May Prefer A Wrist Tattoo
Wrist tattoos are often small and unobtrusive but still on an obvious part of your body. They make a statement without being too brash. Many people want wrist tattoos to serve as a constant reminder of something important to them.
On your wrist, they can serve as inspiration, encouragement, or a daily affirmation.
A tattoo design is very personal to the wearer and should be pleasing to you rather than to other people. The question of whether it must also be displayed for others to admire is your choice. Body art is permanent, and the chosen design must be one that you can live with.
Wrist tattoos can be more painful than others, but you don’t have to endure for long because they are usually relatively small. The chances of damaging the veins in your wrist are slight if you use a professional tattoo artist who has been properly trained. Wrist tattoos are prone to fade faster because of the wear and tear on the skin in this area.
Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you
Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.
Design and tattoo ideas
For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):
- Great Book of Tattoo Designs, Revised Edition: More than 500 Body Art Designs (Fox Chapel Publishing) Fantasy, Celtic, Floral, Wildlife, and Symbol Designs for the Skin by Lora Irish
- The Big Book of Small Tattoos – Vol.1: 400 small original tattoos for women and men by Roberto Gemori
- Tiny Tattoos: Over 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks by Rebecca Vincent.
If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).
The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):