The short answer is, YES!
Having needles pierce your skin is definitely going to hurt, but the real question is, how much does it hurt? Not really as much as you would think, given that it is as a result of a cluster of needles on a tattooing machine piercing your skin incredibly rapidly. It certainly doesn’t feel anything like the deep pain of an injection, but more like a constant vibration.
You will be surprised at how quickly your body reacts to produce endorphins (natural pain killers) to dull the pain significantly.
The level of pain will also vary depending upon the location on your body, so called “thin-skinned” areas close to bones tend to be more painful than others and on the types of needles being used. Most people tend to find the outlining needles produce a sharper, more noticeable pain as compared to the shading needles which feel more like a buzz or vibration and are almost painless.
Note: Do not drink alcohol, take any illegal drugs or aspirin prior to getting a tattoo – both alcohol and aspirin thin your blood and promote excess bleeding. In addition, aspirin will inhibit the clotting of blood which will slow down your healing process.
Some people have said that taking a couple of over-the-counter analgesics before tattooing can take the edge off the pain. Acetaminophen, commonly sold under the brand name ‘Tylenol’ is generally recommended, but not aspirin, ibuprofen, or other NSAIDs, as they tend to inhibit clotting. In short, you may find yourself bleeding like the proverbial stuck pig.