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Getting your first tattoo is an incredibly exciting time in your life. However, although a lot of people spend plenty of time thinking about what they’d like to get tattooed on their body, nowhere near as many people consider the importance of tattoo placement.

Nonetheless, the placement of your tattoo shouldn’t be an afterthought because tattoo placement is just as important as the design of the tattoo itself. After all, you need to consider how visible you’d like your tattoo to be on a day-to-day basis, how much pain you’re happy to tolerate during the tattooing process and how the tattoo will look when it’s finished.

Research has shown that 27% of women get their first tattoo on their ankle, while 34% of men get theirs on their upper back. However, although these are the most popular places for men and women to get their first tattoos, there’s no reason why you have to follow suit. With this in mind, let’s take a look at all the best spots for your first tattoo.

Your upper collarbone

collarbone tattoo

There are a number of advantages to getting your first tattoo on your upper collarbone. Although many people consider the chest for their first piece of artwork, the upper collarbone area is usually a better choice. This is because the skin in this area usually doesn’t stretch as much as it does in other areas around the chest, so the tattoo remains fairly constant.

As an added bonus, tattoo ink can fade over time if it’s exposed to direct sunlight for lengthy periods, and an upper collarbone tattoo can be easily covered with clothing. Plus, the area is still relatively close to your heart, so it’s a good place to get a tattoo that holds a lot of meaning.

Your back

Your back provides the perfect blank canvas for your first tattoo. After all, between the shoulder blades, you have a large and flat area that’s perfect for your tattoo artist to work with.
The back is a particularly popular spot with men who are looking to receive their first tattoo because it’s the perfect place for a big and bold piece of artwork. However, this space provides a number of advantages to both men and women. For example, it’s easy to cover up if you don’t want your tattoo to be exposed in your daily life, and the skin here stays pretty constant. This means that if you gain weight or go through a pregnancy, then your tattoo is unlikely to change shape.

On top of this, at the top of your back, the skin is thick and doesn’t have many nerve endings. This means that you’ll only feel a low to moderate level of pain while the professional tattoo equipment is working its magic.

Your wrist

wrist tattoo

The wrist is an incredibly popular tattoo location with female clients. However, although it’s the seemingly perfect location for a dainty and delicate tattoo that doesn’t take up too much space on the body, it’s important that you understand that there are a few drawbacks to getting a tattoo here.

Firstly, in warm weather in particular, it can be hard to keep a tattoo on this part of the body covered. As a result, you’ll need to ensure that you’re happy with the idea of having your tattoo on display for the majority of the year.

In addition to this, even though you’re likely to be getting a small tattoo that will only require a reasonably short sitting, it’s worth keeping in mind that wrist tattoos can be incredibly painful. This is because the wrist area isn’t padded and contains a number of nerve endings. Plus, the skin here is thin, so it’s common to feel a sharp and stinging pain while the tattoo is in progress.

Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that because wrist tattoos are often exposed for lengthy periods, the colours can react to light over time and become dull. As a result, wrist tattoos are usually better in black and white rather than colour from many of the more vibrant tattoo ink sets.

The most painful areas for a first tattoo

Firstly, it’s important to say that there is no ‘wrong’ place to get a tattoo. The design and placement of your tattoo are both deeply personal decisions, and you should always select the area of the body that’s right for you.

However, for most people, the level of pain they’ll experience while getting a tattoo is a major driving force in deciding the placement of the final design. If your design is large and you require multiple sittings, you may decide it needs to be placed somewhere where you won’t experience too much pain. Alternatively, if your design is small and isn’t intricate, you may decide to tolerate the pain for the perfect placement.

If you’re concerned about the level of pain you’ll experience while getting your first tattoo, then we recommend that you avoid the following areas:

  • The ribcage
  • Your fingers
  • Your elbows
  • Your shins
  • Your hip Your ankles
  • Your armpit Your kneecap

All of these areas have skin that sits close to the bone, which makes the tattooing process quite painful. That said, the position you pick for your first tattoo should be driven by what the tattoo means to you and how the finished design will look. For example, tattoos on the chest can be painful if they go over your ribcage. However, if you’ve selected a meaningful design that reminds you of someone, you may decide it’s best that it remains close to your heart.

Key takeaways

In summary, although some locations are more popular than others for a first tattoo (and with good reason), there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ place for you to choose. So, when you’re selecting the location for your tattoo, consider how the finished piece will look, how long the tattooing process will take and the level of pain you’re willing to withstand.

The best way to decide where your tattoo will go is to work in conjunction with your tattoo artist. Remember, these artists are experts in what they do and they’ll easily be able to identify a position on your body where your artwork will look perfect.

In addition, they’ll also happily explain how the tattoo equipment they’re using works, which can help allay any fears you may have about the sensations you’re feeling. If you’re still feeling uneasy about the process, ask them to show you their tattoo supplies and explain the process before they start. Feeling nervous is perfectly natural, and your tattoo artist will happily put you at ease.

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