Getting your first tattoo is exciting, but it also comes with many questions like what you want, where you want it, and what pain level you can expect. The truth is that a tattoo will hurt no matter where you get it, so you should focus on getting your tattoo in the right place for you. With that in mind, some areas may hurt a little less, so where are these places, and where should you get your first tattoo.
If you are going for your first tattoo and want it to hurt as little as possible, you should look for an area with more fat and muscle, as tattoos over bones may hurt a bit more. If you are looking for a first tattoo but may need to hide it, your thigh, back, neck or upper arm may be a good option.
There are many different reasons why a specific area is considered a good place for a first tattoo, and it all depends on what is most important to you. An area can be regarded as good if it manages to lessen the pain, ensure the tattoo doesn’t fade or stretch, hide your tattoo easily, or even make a statement or show it off. It is essential to pick the right place for you as this is permanent.
The 4 Best Places To Get Your First Tattoo
Though we may not all enjoy the thought, there is very little of the human body that cannot and has not gotten tattooed before. With this in mind, there are a lot of places you get to choose from for your first tattoo. However, some areas of the human body are more strategic or popular, and there is usually a good reason why they get used so often.
Below is a list of four popular places to get your first tattoo and why that area is so popular. These are not the only good areas to get your first tattoo; the choice of where you get your tattoo is ultimately your personal choice.
The Upper Arms:
The upper arms are an area of the body that is very popular for tattooing and has been popular for a very long time, whether it’s a first time or not. There are a couple of reasons why this part of the arm is so famous for tattoos, and one of the most important is because the area tends to have more fat and muscle. The upper arms refer to the part of the arm between the shoulder and elbow for this article.
- Less Painful – Because this part of the body is known for having more fat and muscle, it is also a less painful area to get a tattoo. Though the process will still hurt, you will likely avoid the feeling of the needles going over bone, which is what most people regard as the most painful common tattooing experience.
- Easy To Hide – Another reason the upper arm is a popular area to get your first tattoo is because it is relatively easy to hide. Though many people are becoming more accepting of permanent body art, some workplaces or people still discourage it. With this in mind, you should be able to hide a tattoo on your upper arm quite easily if you need to.
- It’s Easy To Show Off – In contrast to the previous reason why this area is so common for getting a tattoo, if you have an upper arms tattoo, it’s pretty easy to show it off. Unless you’re against it, most people will be able to see your tattoo if you’re on the beach, working out, or even wearing a specific kind of shirt or top. Lifting a short sleeve to show a friend if you wish is also easy.
- Safety From UV Rays – UV rays are one of the biggest enemies to a good-looking and long-lasting tattoo. And though putting on some sunblock to keep your tattoo in good shape is easy, putting a shirt on over your tattoo can be quicker, simpler, and more convenient.
Another part of the body that many people get their first tattoos on is the thighs. Though this area is more common for women, it is still a common-enough area for men. The thighs have similar benefits to the upper arms, and I will explain them in more detail below. For simplicity, the thighs refer to the site above the knee and below the hip, an area that rarely has bones that you can see.
- Less Painful – Naturally, for most people, the thighs are an excellent area to get a tattoo if you want to avoid pain. The reason is that you are very likely to have a decent amount of fat or muscle on your thighs, even if you are skinny. The fat and muscle on your thighs mean there is little to no chance of the needles going over your bones and causing irritation or pain.
- Easy To Hide – Another reason the thighs are a popular spot to get your first tattoo is that it is easy to hide if needed. Similar to getting a tattoo on your upper arms, you will likely be covering your tattoo in your everyday life, making the process of hiding the tattoo even easier than one on your upper arm.
- You Can Show It Off Or Keep It Private – Though the simplicity may differ for different genders, if you wear shorts regularly, you can keep your tattoo to yourself or show it off to others if you wish. For the ladies or gents that enjoy wearing speedos or bikinis on the beach, you can make a statement with your tattoo, while those who don’t want to can wear shorts to keep it hidden.
- Sun Protection – Similar to getting a tattoo on your upper arm, keeping your tattoo from getting too much sun is relatively easy if it is on your thigh. If you are on the beach and want to show off your tattoo, you can wear sunblock to keep harmful UV rays from making your tattoo fade, and if you aren’t on the beach, your tattoo is likely already protected by whatever you are wearing.
There are some excellent reasons why calve tattoos are so common among tattoo first-timers and veterans of all genders. Not only are the calves likely to be less painful to tattoo, but the area can also get chosen for convenience, space, and other reasons. The calves refer to the usually muscular “meat” on the back of your leg behind your chin.
- Good Canvas – The area of the legs called the calves make for a brilliant location to get a more significantly sized tattoo. Since this part of the legs is often less hairy and provides you with a big enough space, many first-timers that want sizable tattoos choose to get their first ink on their calves.
- Comfort And Cleaning – Another reason getting your first tattoo on your calve is so popular is that it allows you relative ease while the artist is busy and is easy to clean and wrap. If you get your first tattoo on your calve, the aftercare routine is much easier to do than it would be on your thigh, and covering your tattoo during the leaking process is much simpler.
- Less Painful – Unless you plan on your tattoo going from the calve to the front of the leg, you will likely avoid any bone during the tattooing process. As mentioned, this is a great way to ensure you do not endure extra pain because the more fat or muscle an area has, the less painful the tattoo should be.
- Easy To Hide Or Show Off – As with the areas we have discussed above, the calve is a great area to either show off your tattoo or keep it hidden. Men are less likely to show this tattoo at work since most places require full-length pants, but all genders can hide their tattoos with long pants if needed.
Additionally, if you wear casual clothes like shorts and want to show off your calve tattoo, it is effortless and a great way to make a statement.
- Sun Protection – Similar to getting a tattoo on your thighs or upper arms, having a tattoo on your calve makes it easy to protect it from sunlight that can cause it to fade. Even if you prefer wearing shorts, you can easily apply sunblock to the area to keep your tattoo from being damaged by UV rays.
- Less Likely To Stretch – Though the calve may grow and shrink as life goes on and we gain and lose weight or muscle, the skin in this area does not stretch too much, and when it does, it stays relatively tight. The stretching of the skin is a significant factor to consider for your first tattoo, as you will likely want to keep your first tattoo in excellent condition.
The wrists are the part of your arm attached to your hands and palms and are a trendy place to get your first tattoo. This area commonly features a smaller tattoo and is much more likely for a “statement tattoo,” like the semicolon, a popular first-time tattoo to show support and awareness of the issues like depression and suicide.
- It Is Fashionable – Though this may not be a concern for everyone getting a first-time tattoo, fashion dictates a lot of what we do, what we wear, and even where we get our tattoos. The wrist tattoo is one of the most popular areas, and because it generally gets used for smaller tattoos, most people believe this is a suitable area to get your first.
- Perfect Place For A Statement – Whether you are struggling with issues yourself or have lost people in the past, the wrist is an excellent way to make a statement since it is easy to show, and most people will notice it. As mentioned above, one of the most common “statement tattoos” is the semicolon, but there are many others, and the design is up to you.
- Comfort And Cleaning – This is an excellent place to get your first tattoo because it allows you to be relatively comfortable during the tattooing process and is easy to keep clean and wrap after.The further away from your hand the wrist tattoo is, the easier it is to clean and cover during the leaking period.
- Less Likely To Stretch – Since the wrist tattoo is popular to make a statement for your first tattoo, it is also beneficial that the wrist skin doesn’t stretch much. There is little chance of fat or muscle making your tattoo stretch or deform since the wrist isn’t particularly muscly or fatty.
What Areas Should You Avoid For Your First Tattoo?
One of the most asked questions before getting a tattoo is what is the least painful area to get a tattoo or what areas you should avoid for your first tattoo. If you are getting your first tattoo and don’t know what pain you’ll be able to handle yet, you will likely be looking for an answer to this question. However, I have some good and bad news for you.
The truth is that getting a tattoo will always be painful, no matter where you get it. However, the pain of getting a tattoo will most likely fade as the process goes on and your nerves settle. Another reason the pain numbs after a while is the adrenaline you should get during the process. The start may be a bit painful, but once you get settled in, most say the feeling resembles scratching.
Though there will be less pain in areas with fewer nerve endings and less bone to go over, there will still be pain either way. The best place to get your first tattoo is where you feel the tattoo should be. The worst pain you may have from getting your first tattoo is getting it in a place you didn’t want to.
How To Prepare For Your First Tattoo
Though you may now feel like you know where you want your tattoo to be, there are also some other things to consider before you get your first tattoo. It would be best if you made some preparations to ensure the best result for your first tattoo and all tattoos after your first. Below I list some essential aspects to consider before getting your first tattoo.
- Design – Tattoos are a permanent form of art that you will carry with you forever, so it is essential to ensure you know what design you want for your first tattoo before you sit down to get it. Once the plan gets picked out, you may also want to use temporary tattoos or markers to simulate the design and see if you’re happy.
- Be Open-Minded – You must be open-minded about the area, the design, and even the size of your first tattoo. Once you have a space you prefer and a design you like, you can start speaking to an artist to see if they can help you choose the right size and placement and even help you with a custom design.
Though it is important to stay open-minded, you should be firm about what you don’t want or don’t like. This tattoo is your first, and you must be happy with it.
- See Other Artists – With all the basics in place, speaking to more than one artist is also good practice. You can choose an artist based on how you feel about them, their work looks, pricing, or a combination of everything. You will trust this person to make permanent art appear on your body, so be sure to pick the right one.
Though there are many choices to make and aspects to consider when deciding where your first tattoo should go, the decision is yours. Speaking to artists can help you choose the correct placement for your design or your purpose. It is, however, essential to remember that getting your first tattoo will hurt, no matter where you get it, so be sure to pick a place where you are comfortable.
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):