Do Neck Tattoos Hurt? A Guide to Pain, Healing, and Aftercare

Are you considering getting a neck tattoo? It’s a bold statement and a way to express your creativity and personality. However, before jumping into the chair, you might be wondering: do neck tattoos hurt? This article will explore the topic of neck tattoos, including the pain level, healing process, and aftercare tips.

Understanding Neck Tattoos

Neck tattoos are among the most visible and attention-grabbing tattoos you can get. They can range from small and discrete designs to large and complex pieces that cover most of your neck. For many people, a neck tattoo is a way to make a statement, show their individuality, or celebrate a milestone or achievement.

While neck tattoos can be stunning, they come with certain challenges. For one, the neck is a sensitive area that is prone to pain and discomfort during the tattooing process. The skin on the neck is also thinner than other parts of the body, which means it’s more susceptible to damage and scarring.

Pain Level of Neck Tattoos

The million-dollar question: do neck tattoos hurt? While pain is subjective, most people agree that neck tattoos are among the most painful tattoos you can get. The reason for this is twofold: the sensitivity of the skin and the proximity to bone and nerve endings.

During the tattooing process, the needle penetrates several layers of skin, causing trauma and triggering the body’s pain response. This pain can range from mild discomfort to intense burning, depending on your pain tolerance and the location of the tattoo.

Moreover, since the neck is close to the spine and central nervous system, the pain can radiate to other areas of the body, such as the head, shoulders, and arms. This means that even a small tattoo can cause significant discomfort, especially if it takes several hours to complete.

Topping the charts as one of the most painful places to get tattooed, a neck tattoo is reported by most to be almost unbearable when it comes to the pain this area feels. The combination of thin skin, prominent bones, and the abundance of delicate nerves within the neck amplifies the intensity of the experience, resulting in a remarkably painful endeavor.

Factors That Affect Pain Level

While neck tattoos are generally considered painful, several factors can influence the level of pain you experience during the tattooing process. These include:

  • Your pain tolerance: Everyone has a different threshold for pain, depending on various factors such as genetics, age, and previous experiences.
  • The location of the tattoo: Some areas of the neck are more sensitive than others, such as the sides and back of the neck.
  • The size and complexity of the design: Large or intricate designs require more time to complete, which means more needle penetration and trauma to the skin.
  • The skill of the tattoo artist: Experienced and skilled tattoo artists know how to minimize pain and discomfort during the tattooing process.

How to Make Neck Tattoos Hurt Less

  • Firstly, stay well-rested and nourished before your tattoo appointment. Ensuring your body is in good condition can help minimize your sensitivity to pain. 
  • Additionally, staying hydrated can contribute to a smoother tattoo experience. Communicating openly with your tattoo artist about your pain tolerance and concerns is crucial. They can adjust their technique, take breaks if needed, and provide guidance on managing discomfort. 
  • Distraction techniques such as listening to music, focusing on your breathing, or engaging in conversation during the tattoo process can also help take your mind off the sensation. 
  • Finally, remember that pain is subjective and everyone’s threshold is different. While tattoos on the neck may be more uncomfortable, many individuals find the end result to be well worth it for the personal statement and unique art they carry.

Healing and Aftercare Tips

Once your neck tattoo is complete, you’ll need to take extra care to ensure it heals properly and looks its best. Here are some tips to help you through the healing process:

  • Keep the area clean: Wash the tattooed area with mild soap and warm water twice a day, pat it dry gently, and avoid rubbing or scratching the skin.
  • Apply ointment or cream: Use a thin layer of tattoo-specific ointment or cream to protect the skin and promote healing. Avoid petroleum-based products, as they can clog pores and slow down the healing process.
  • Avoid sun exposure: Keep the tattooed area covered and protected from direct sunlight, as this can cause fading and damage to the skin.
  • Don’t pick or scratch the scabs: Let the scabs fall off naturally, as picking or scratching them can lead to infection and scarring.
  • Follow the aftercare instructions given by your tattoo artist: Every artist has their own preferred aftercare regimen, so make sure to follow their advice to ensure optimal healing.


  1. Are neck tattoos more painful than other tattoos? Yes, neck tattoos are generally considered more painful than other tattoos due to the sensitivity of the skin and the proximity to bone and nerve endings.
  2. How long does it take for a neck tattoo to heal? The healing time for a neck tattoo can vary depending on the size, complexity, and location of the tattoo. Generally, it takes around two to three weeks for a neck tattoo to heal completely.
  3. Can you get a neck tattoo if you have a low pain tolerance? If you have a low pain tolerance, getting a neck tattoo might not be the best idea. However, you can talk to your tattoo artist about ways to minimize pain and discomfort during the process.
  4. What are the risks of getting a neck tattoo? The risks of getting a neck tattoo include infection, scarring, allergic reactions to ink, and damage to nerves and blood vessels.
  5. How do you choose a reputable tattoo artist for a neck tattoo? To find a reputable tattoo artist for a neck tattoo, ask for recommendations from friends or family members, check online reviews and ratings, and make sure the artist is licensed and experienced in neck tattoos.


Getting a neck tattoo is a serious decision that requires careful consideration of the pain, healing, and aftercare process. While neck tattoos can be stunning and symbolically meaningful, they also come with certain challenges and risks.

Overall, there’s no denying that neck tattoos are considered to be among the most painful tattoos you can get due to the sensitivity of the skin and proximity to bone and nerve endings. However, with proper preparation, aftercare, and choosing an experienced tattoo artist who knows how to minimize pain, you can make the experience as comfortable and rewarding as possible.

If you’re considering getting a neck tattoo, make sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully, do your research, and follow these tips to ensure a successful and satisfying outcome.