Before you head out for your tattoo session, you might wonder if there's anything you can do to prepare yourself for a more enjoyable session. 

The answer is yes.

There are some steps that can be taken before your tattoo session to ensure that you and your artist have the best experience possible.

Tattoos can take a toll on your energy levels and are especially tough on your body, which is why it is important to be ready for your session.

Not only will these steps minimize pain, but they will also help your healing process after your appointment is over.


In this article we'll talk about best practices on how to prepare for a tattoo session. Let's dive in!

Read also: First Tattoo: 6 Things Your Artist Wants You to Know

What to Do Before Getting a Tattoo? 6 Basics

- Rest

Before your appointment, remember to show up well-rested. Depending on the size and intricacy of your tattoo, sessions can last for a few hours and will be tough on your body.

- Bring snacks

Be sure to show up to your appointment after having a good meal to stay energized.

Come to your session prepared with snacks and drinks so that your blood sugar does not go too low at any point. Eating also prevents dizziness that might arise out of nerves or hunger.

- Stay hydrated

Make sure you stay properly hydrated before and throughout your session with (mainly) water and/or sugary drinks.

By ensuring a proper hydration, we'll also help the healing process.

Tattoo hydration

Read also: Tattoo Aftercare Instructions Step by Step

- Bring entertainment

If you are anticipating a long tattooing session, come prepared with headphones or something you enjoy so that you can listen to music and/or watch a TV show or movie to pass the time.

If you’re allowed to bring a friend, talk to them to distract yourself from the pain.

- Talk to your artist

Some tattoo artists work by getting in the zone, which means that they may not be so open to chatting. However, many artists love getting to know their clients, so don’t be shy to strike up a conversation with them.

Be perceptive to their cues to make sure that you are not interrupting their flow as you speak to them.

Tattoo artist

- Avoid alcohol

Alcohol can thin your blood, which in turn can make you bleed more.

As your tattoo artist is depositing ink onto your skin, excess bleeding can make it more difficult for them to tattoo your design.

A lack of sleep and dehydration are common symptoms of being hungover, so avoid drinking the night before your tattoo.

What you Should NOT Do Before Getting a Tattoo

- Sun exposure

Avoid spending extended hours under the sun before your tattoo.

Excessive sun exposure can lead to sunburns, leaving the surface of your skin sensitive, and in many cases, the drying and peeling of your skin.

Not only does this make it more painful and difficult for your artist to tattoo your design, but it can also contribute to infection.

Sun exposure tattoo

- Caffeine

Like alcohol, caffeine also should be avoided before getting a tattoo.

Caffeine can act as a blood thinner and can also cause you to be jittery. This can make it increasingly difficult for tattoo artists to work on you. Know your limits and be mindful of them as you prepare for your tattoo.

- Wear tight clothes

Wear clothing that is loose, comfortable, and easily accessible for you and your tattoo artist.

You want to be able to lie down for extended periods comfortably.

Bear in mind the placement of your tattoo and remember to dress accordingly. For example, if you are getting a piece on your thigh, wear loose shorts or a dress.

Can I Use Numbing Cream Before a Tattoo?

The biggest concern for many people is the pain that they will encounter as they get tattooed, which is how numbing creams have grown in popularity.

Some tattoo artists are open to their clients showing up with numbing cream, others are skeptics of its efficacy, and many are simply against the use of it.

Numbing creams are not always a fool-proof way to prevent the pain of a tattoo. If you are struggling to make it through a session and you are finding the pain impossible to tolerate, using a numbing cream may be an option for you to relieve the pain.

Be sure to discuss this with your tattoo artist before your session because for certain artists, showing up with the area already numbed might cost you your appointment.

How to Prepare for Tattoo Pain

Let's get it out of the way: getting tattooed hurts. However, everyone has a different threshold of pain.

The best way to prepare for tattoo pain is understanding the factors that affect the level of pain when getting tattooed.

Factors like the placement of the tattoo, its size, and the artist’s technique are some of the contributing factors to the pain of the tattoo. 

Of these three, probably the biggest contributor to pain is the location of your tattoo.

Pain is determined by the nerve endings in your body. The more nerve endings an area has, the more painful getting tattooed becomes.

Certain areas are more sensitive than others, which is why many tattoo artists recommend tattooing more fleshy parts of the body like the thighs and arms, especially if this is your first tattoo experience.

Areas like fingers and feet are bony and have more nerve endings which result in a more painful process of tattooing.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that tattoos are both fascinating and no easy feat, therefore they take time and preparation.

By taking some of these precautionary steps before you get tattooed, you will create the best environment for both yourself and your tattoo artist.

Remember that tattoos are for life, and you want to make sure that you are ensuring the longevity and quality of your design by taking all the necessary steps.

Our mission is to inspire and educate the tattoo community. We have combined our many years of experience in the industry and our love for tattoos to create useful and enlightening content. Join us in this exciting journey in the beautiful art of tattooing.
Welcome to Sorry Mom.

- Rasmus Cort Hansen, CEO & Founder