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Do Behind Ear Tattoos Hurt? Pain Level, Process, and Aftercare

Do Behind Ear Tattoos Hurt?

If you’re considering getting a behind the ear tattoo, no doubt one of your big questions is – how much does it hurt? Behind the ear is known to be one of the more painful spots due to the thin skin and proximity to bone and nerves. However, while it may cause some discomfort, many claim it’s not as bad as you might think. Keep reading to learn what you can expect.

Pain Level Varies by Individual

Every person has a different pain tolerance when it comes to tattoos or piercings. For some, a behind the ear tattoo might just feel like a slight irritation. For others, the pain could be sharply uncomfortable. Generally though, ear tattoos fall around a 5 to 8 on a 10-point pain scale. The good news is the tattoo process doesn’t take very long since these designs tend to be small and simple. Learn more about tattoo healing time here.

Outlining Hurts More Than Shading

Your artist will start by outlining your design, which involves repeated needle pricks along the same area of skin. This outline stage usually causes more discomfort than the shading stage that follows. As the needle moves around to fill in and color the tattoo, the pain tends to decrease and feel more manageable. Just get through the outline and you’ll likely feel some relief!

Nerve-Rich Area of Body

What makes behind the ear an especially sensitive spot is that the skin back there contains superficial nerves. These nerves register sensations like pain and pressure more intensely. Areas like the elbows, knees, ribs, and sternum also have many nerve endings close to the surface, making tattoos in those spots extra spicy!

Aftercare Stings a Bit

Once your new ink is complete, the pain doesn’t fully stop there. As your tattoo heals over the next two weeks or so, it will feel lightly sunburned, itchy, and irritated. The skin may be extra sensitive as the nerves repair themselves. Be very gentle when cleansing the area during aftercare, and avoid picking scabs so you don’t disrupt the healing! Learn more about proper tattoo aftercare here.

Ear Tattoos are Quick and Cute

Even though parts might sting, ear tattoos don’t take long at all. Most designs are petite and outline-based rather than heavy, full color pieces. This means you likely only have to endure the discomfort for less than 30 minutes. And just think – once it’s over, you’ll have an adorable new tattoo in one of the trendiest spots! The slightly spicy pain will be worth it when you end up with a delicate, beautiful design you love.

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