Tattoo Pain Scale: How Painful are Behind the Ear Tattoos?

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 Are you looking for the perfect spot for your first or next tattoo?

The little patch of skin behind your ear might not be your first pick, but behind the ear tattoos are flattering despite their unusual placement. This is probably why many people are considering getting tattoos behind their ear. Even popular celebrities like Selena Gomez love their tattoos placed behind their ears.

For tattoo newbies, behind the ear tattoos might seem intimidating. After all, the area behind the ear is so sensitive that it’s considered an erogenous zone. This means that tattoos behind the ear can be painful. However, this shouldn’t scare you out of getting a new tattoo. The experience shouldn’t hinder you from getting a unique tattoo.

Why Get a Tattoo Behind Your Ear

Behind the ear tattoos are stunning. They are also the perfect tattoos for people who want to be subtle with their body art. These tattoos offer a discreet way to let your personality shine. If you want to hide your new tattoo, your long hair is your best friend. But if you’re ready to show off your new ink, you can easily style your hair.

How Much Do Behind the Ear Tattoos Hurt?

All tattoos come with a certain pain level. How extreme the pain will be for your session greatly depends on your personal tolerance for pain.

With a behind the ear tattoo, the art will be placed in the area behind your ears, which is composed of a thin layer of skin that sits directly on top of your skull. Since there isn’t any muscle or fat to absorb the shock of the tattoo machine’s vibrations, your bones will feel the vibrations. This can be a painful and uncomfortable sensation for some people.

On the bright side, most behind the ear tattoos are small. So, even if they are painful, you wouldn’t have to endure the pain for long. If you’re really worried about the pain, ask your tattoo artist to apply numbing cream. This won’t stop the intensity of the vibrations, but it can alleviate some of the pressure.

Other factors can also influence the pain factor of these tattoos. A person’s emotional state, for example, can make the tattoo experience more painful. Several studies show that negative emotions, including depression, anxiety, fear and stress, can increase a person’s perception of pain.

Fortunately, the worst will be over once your tattoo is done. As mentioned above, it takes a short while to finish tattoos behind the ear. After that, expect some soreness for the first week, along with some crusting, redness and swelling. The pain after should be pretty mild.

How Can I Relieve the Pain?

Are behind the ear tattoos worth the pain? (Photo by Pinterest)

If you’re worried about the pain during and after your tattoo session, there are some things you can do to mitigate it. Here are some tips:

  • Work with an experienced tattoo artist. The more experienced and skilled a tattoo artist is, the less time you’ll spend in the chair; therefore, less pain.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration is often linked to increased pain perception. Plus, not drinking enough water can make you feel bad. Drink plenty of water before your appointment and have some water nearby during your session.
  • Avoid alcohol. While it pays to stay hydrated before and during your session, stay away from alcoholic beverages. Drinking before getting a tattoo could heighten the pain and increase the bleeding.
  • Eat. Enjoy a light snack before the session. Having something in your belly can prevent dizziness and nervous stomach feelings.
  • Take breaks when needed. If you can’t handle the pain anymore during the session, don’t be afraid to ask for a break. Most tattoo artists don’t have a problem with this.

How Will I Know if My Tattoo Has a Problem?

As mentioned above, it is common to experience pain during and after your appointment. The pain should be manageable and it will eventually improve a few days after. If the pain doesn’t improve, there could be a problem, like an allergic reaction or an infection.

See a doctor if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Open sores
  • Pus or smelly discharge from the tattoo
  • Skin that feels hot to the touch
  • Painful, itchy blisters or rashes over the tattoo
  • Worsening or severe swelling, redness or pain

How Should I Care for the Tattoo Behind My Ear?

Like any new tattoo, tattoos behind the ear are vulnerable to damage during the healing process. To ensure that your new ink heals well, following your artist’s set tattoo aftercare routine is important.

Right after your session, your artist will cover your new tattoo with a bandage or plastic wrap. They will also tell you how long you should keep the wrap or bandage on. On top of that, they will send you a list of aftercare instructions, which often include the following rules:

  • Avoid washing your hair. If you’re the type that showers every day, make sure to wash your hair the day before your session to avoid unnecessary irritation after. If you need to wash your hair a day after, tilt your head to the other side. Avoid getting any hair products on the tattoo.
  • You can shower but avoid soaking the tattooed area for at least two weeks. This means no long baths or even swimming.
  • Avoid using any exfoliating product/cloth/gloves. If you need to rub over that area of the body, use your clean fingers.
  • While your new tattoo heals, avoid using earrings that could scratch it.

Do Behind The Ear Tattoos Fade?

Tattoos inked behind the ears are more prone to fading compared to other placements. Because the skin in that area is thin, it doesn’t have as many pores to ‘hold’ the ink. So, you’ll most likely need touch-up sessions, especially if your tattoo is colored. But you don’t have to touch it up the next week. Give your skin a couple of months to breathe before scheduling a touch-up session.

The Bottom Line

Behind the ear tattoos can be painful, but they aren’t as bad as groin tattoos. The pain, however, shouldn’t stop you from getting your dream tattoo. Since most behind the ear tattoos are small, you need not endure the pain for a long time.

Having an experienced artist do your tattoo is a big help! So, instead of not getting your dream tattoo, find a reputable studio artist and enjoy your new ink.

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