Home Tattoos Dealing with Shading and Outlining in Tattoo Pain

Dealing with Shading and Outlining in Tattoo Pain


When somebody goes to get a tattoo, pain is usually somewhere near the top of their concerns. Tattooing can cause some pain and it is definitely something to get used to. Because tattoos are done in stages, first outlining the tattoo and then shading it in, many people wonder which one is more painful. Tattoo shading and outlining both can be painful, and a number of factors can contribute to such problems.

Is it my tattoo artist?

If you have extreme pain during the outline part of the tattoo, you first need to make certain that the artist is not tattooing your skin too deeply. This is fairly easy to recognize. The pain hangs around much longer and is sharper during the process. The lines should not be uneven or overly thick, and you should not see ink under the skin in the area of the outlines. You also should not have extensive wounds or marks. If these things are happening during the outlining process, consider changing artists before you move on to the shading.

Is extreme pain always the sign of a bad artist?
Absolutely not. Sometimes people are just extremely sensitive to the pain and have skin that hurts more than the average person. The rest of this article will assume that this is the case and that it is not your tattoo artist that is the problem.

Shorten your sessions

Regardless of whether you are in pain from the outline or the shading, it is important to remember that you can start or stop anytime you please. Don’t try to go longer than you can handle and shorten the tattoo time that you are in the chair when you need to do so. Many people can only handle about a half-hour at a time. If this is you, don’t feel frustrated or pressured. Do what you need to do to deal with the pain.
You may also try any number of tattoo numbing creams on the market. These can help a great deal towards easing the pain from tattoo shading and tattoo outlining alike.

So which one is worse?

This is something that many people argue over, and it really does boil down to what you personally think. If you would take a poll, I would imagine most would say the shading is a bit more painful, but that is not a scientific opinion. It just seems to be the general consensus. The shading uses more needles at a time and covers more of the skin’s surface. Some folks think that this actually minimizes the pain from tattoo shading. Both shading and outlining can be painful in the right (or wrong) situation. That is what you should remember.

Minimize the wrongs and you will be in much better shape. Grab you some numbing cream, shorten your sessions and make sure you have a solid, reputable inker doing your work. If you do these things, you will be in great shape for your brand new tattoo.