Do Single Needle Tattoos Hurt More? Know Before Deciding

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Single-needle tattoos offer a classic and straightforward design that’s captivating for those considering their first tattoo. However, many are deterred by rumors suggesting they might be more painful than other tattoo types.

But do single-needle tattoos hurt more? While some people report less pain with single-needle tattoos than with those made with conventional equipment, others may have a distinct kind of difficulty. It may vary depending on your pain threshold and artistic elements. So the answer is not a simple “yes” or “no,’ but in some cases, it might hurt a bit more.

We bet that’s not everything that you need to know about single-needle tattoos. So, we have dived deep into this, so let’s get to know in detail!

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What Is A Single Needle Tattoo?

When it comes to small, delicate lines, nothing beats the results of a single-needle tattoo. A single-needle tattoo is made with just one needle, as the name suggests. It is certainly a variation of the fine-line tattoo, but these two have some distinctions. 

At Sentient Tattoo Collective, we have often seen that single-needle tattoos are preferred by those who value a minimalistic aesthetic or who like to pay tribute to a significant event in their lives in a tasteful and understated manner due to their fine, delicate, and intricate nature. 

Here, we puncture the ink into the skin one at a time using a needle. 

While reactions to the pain of a single-needle tattoo may vary from person to person, many report that it is more continuous, intense, or stinging than that of a typical tattoo.

Do Single Needle Tattoos Hurt More? 

Your skin may become more sensitive to the discomfort of single needles used for more elaborate patterns if your artist is working on a smaller region for a longer period of time. The pain may feel more like a razor cut, as they work on the same area for quite some time. 

However, the pain that you will experience during this depends on a number of factors, including pain tolerance, where the tattoo is being placed, and the artist’s competence. Single-needle tattoos are reported to provide a distinct sensation than multi-needle or traditional tattoos.

However, we try to make the pain as minimal as possible with our tattoo exports.

Sentient Tattoo Collective | Walk-in Tattoo Shop Tempe AZ

Factors That Affect The Single-Needle Tattoo Pain Scale

Some factors may affect your pain scale while getting your single-needle tattoo done. Here are some of the factors to consider: 


    • In most cases, shorter sessions (between one and two hours) are preferable.
    • Longer sessions (4-6+ hours) might be uncomfortable, thus many people choose to spread them out over a longer period.

Needle Diameter

    • It may be more uncomfortable to get delicate lines done, as they require a smaller needle size.
    • Smaller fine-line tattoos can be done at the beginning of the session.
    • As the session wears on, it might be comforting to switch to larger needle groupings for shading and filling.

How To Make The Process Less Painful? 

Many individuals would appreciate it if getting a tattoo didn’t hurt as much. Although the ongoing debate is that single-needle tattoos hurt more, there are ways to lessen the intensity of that suffering that we have learned throughout our journey.

Choose A Suitable Spot

Choose a less tender spot if discomfort is a concern. In general, the ribs and the inner arm hurt more than the upper arm, shoulder, or outer thigh.

Stay Hydrated 

Take care to drink enough water and rest up. The body is better able to deal with discomfort if the patient is well-rested and adequately hydrated.

Use Anesthetics: Creams And Gels

Lidocaine is a common ingredient in over-the-counter numbing creams and gels, which can be used to alleviate pain. Follow the product’s directions and apply them to the tattoo site before your visit. Moreover, some tattoo parlors provide stronger topical anesthetics than what you can get in a drug store. 

Use Methods Of Distraction

Bring some headphones and tune out the discomfort with some tunes, a podcast, or an audiobook. Keep yourself cool and breathe deeply to help you relax while getting tattooed. Taking slow, deep breaths helps alleviate stress and discomfort.

Take Breaks In-Between 

During a lengthy tattoo session, you should not be afraid to request short breaks every hour or so in order to stretch and unwind. Your tattoo artist will understand your need for these breaks.

What Styles Work Best For Single Needle Tattoos?

If you have set your mind on getting a single-needle tattoo, you might be interested to know about some of the trendy styles. So, here are a few that never go out of style for your single needle tattoo ideas! 

    • Small And Detailed Designs: Designs that are both elaborate and little are best captured by single-needle tattoos because of their ability to capture minute details. Consequently, in order to get the most out of this style, it is suggested that you go with motifs that are little and intricate.
    • Black And Grey Or Color: Single needle tattoos can be done in either black and gray or color, depending on your tastes and the experience of the tattoo artist. Black and gray tattoos are more traditional, but color tattoos are becoming increasingly popular.
    • Minimalist Styles: Designs that are floral or geometric work nicely for minimalist single-needle tattoos. These designs frequently place an emphasis on beauty and plainness.
    • Detail: Single-needle tattooing is the method of choice when it comes to achieving a high level of realism and detail in designs. Paintings and pictures are excellent sources of inspiration.
    • Script Iconography: Script is a popular choice for single needle tattoos.
Tyson Weed tattooing a client's arm

Do Single Needles Tattoos Last?

Single-needle tattoos can last a lifetime. But you need to make sure of the proper care and maintenance of the area if you want this to last. 

The durability of a tattoo, even those created with a single needle, is contingent on several important elements. An important factor is, first and foremost, the level of expertise and experience of the person doing the tattooing. 

Tattoos with fine lines and precise features are more likely to last the test of time if you get it done by a professional. They are knowledgeable about how to operate with a single needle to guarantee that the ink is placed properly and at the appropriate depth in the skin, both of which are necessary for a tattoo to last for a long time.

Also, taking good aftercare of your tattoo throughout the healing process and in the days and weeks that follow can have a big influence on how long it will last. This involves protecting the tattoo from excessive sun exposure, keeping it clean and moisturized, and keeping it clean. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a single needle tattoo better than multiple?

Whether a tattoo is done with a single needle or several needles is a matter of personal preference. Tattoos done with a single needle are great for little, precise details, whereas those done with numerous needles tend to be bigger and brighter. 

What type of tattoo hurts the most?

Tattoos on sensitive places, such as the ribs, belly, inner arm, armpit, inner thigh, or face, might be more uncomfortable for some people than others. Your pain tolerance and how long the session lasts are additional factors in the intensity of the pain you feel.

What is the problem with single needle tattoos?

Due to the complexity of single-needle tattoos, sessions may need to be stretched out. To get the greatest results, you’ll need a talented artist who knows the real deal. 

Does a single needle tattoo fade?

Single-needle tattoos, like other types of tattoos, can fade with time unless you take special care of them and avoid direct sunlight. Single-needle tattoos may fade faster than multi-needle tattoos because of the finer lines and features in the former.

Bottom Line 

So, as a direction to do single-needle tattoos hurt more, we must say that this depends on your pain tolerance. But there is no more significant pain in a single-needle tattoo than other conventional ones. 

Selecting a qualified tattoo artist, discussing pain relief choices, and keeping in mind the tattoo’s intended placement and your own pain tolerance may all contribute to a more pleasant tattooing experience.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, be sure to contact us today! We offer walk in tattoos!


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