Are Dotwork tattoos less painful? 5 crucial reasons why.

are dotwork tattoos less painful

Are you considering getting a dotwork tattoo but wonder what the pain level might be? We give you all the information you need to find out if a dot work tattoo is right for you.

Dotwork tattoos are viewed as one of the least painful types of tattoo. The precise, delicate dots used to build up an image do not drag the skin and therefore cause less pain. Getting a dot work tattoo in a low pain location such as back of the shoulder will mean a relatively less painful tattoo.


Are you thinking about getting a tattoo but are worried about the pain? In this article, you will find out why a dotwork tattoo is a great choice when you want a low pain tattoo. You will also find out the best locations to have your dotwork tattoo if you want to make your tattoo as painless as possible.

Are Dotwork tattoos less painful?

Are dotwork tattoos less painful. Yes. Dotwork tattoos are seen as being one of the least painful tattoos you can have.

Combined with a delicate ethereal quality of design, this makes the dotwork tattoo a very popular tattoo choice.

Are dotwork tattoos less painful? Yes. There are several reasons why…

Are Dotwork Tattoos Less Painful?

Are Dotwork Tattoos Less Painful? Dotwork Tattoos can be less painful than a regular tattoo as they tend to use lighter designs.

1 – Dotwork tattoo designs tend to be lighter and less solid

The delicate style which lends itself to dotwork tattoos is characterised by light lines and shading. It doesn’t tend to lend itself to solid heavy power lines or shapes. Avoiding these tattoo elements makes the tattoo less painful.

2 – Dotwork Tattoos avoid solid black or colour which needs pigment packing in

Some tattoo styles, such as black tribal or bright colour tattoos require a heavy amount of ink to be packed into the skin. The artist will need to solidly work on a small area of skin, working the pigment in to get a consistent and smooth area of dark black or colour. This can be quite traumatic to the skin and therefore painful.

Dotwork avoids this, building up the darkest colour in tiny dots so it is less traumatic and painful on the skin.

3 – Dotwork Tattoo pain is more localised rather than radiating

Normal tattoo pain can be described as radiating over the entire area which can make it harder to handle. Because the skin trauma of a dot work tattoo is smaller in area, the pain tends to be more localised just to the area being worked on. This can make the pain much easier to handle.

4 – You don’t tend to get the dragging pain of a long line with a dot work tattoo

Anyone who has ever had a tattoo knows that the worst pain is when your artist is trying to pull a long line. It can feel like they are never going to stop. You lie with gritted teeth willing them to finish.

Dotwork tattoo designs are much less likely to contain these teeth-grittingly long lines. Lines are shorter or built up entirely from dots so you are more likely to avoid this kind of pain.

5 – One area of the dotwork tattoo is finished at a time so you aren’t working into the raw skin

Your tattoo artists will work on and finish one area of your tattoo at a time, building up the gradient in that area. Once they have finished the gradient they will move on and leave it alone. This means they probably won’t be returning to tattoo over previously tattooed and raw skin which saves you a LOT of pain.

Tattoo pain does depend on what you are comparing it to. However, a dot work tattoo will probably be much less painful than a tattoo needing solid black or areas of bright colour.

Does dotwork tattoo take longer?

This is an important thing to consider. Dotwork tattoos require precision tattooing to build up the gradients and shades within the tattoo.

For this reason, they tend to take a lot longer than a normal tattoo.

This is important to consider for 2 reasons.

1 – Longer under the needle can mean more pain

Although the dot work tattoo itself may be less painful, you will spend longer under the needle.

This can mean that your natural painkillers {endorphins} will start to run out.

{Endorphins. See how your body creates these natural pain killer chemicals in this research}

This can mean that you do start to experience more pain as the tattoo progresses and may be desperate for it to finish.

2 – Longer time tattooing will mean a more expensive tattoo.

Tattoo prices are generally related to how long the tattoo will take. An intricate dot work tattoo will take longer to execute and therefore may be more expensive.

How are Dotwork Tattoos made? What is tattoo Dotwork?

It’s helpful to understand how Dotwork tattoos are made. The technique is very simple.

Your tattooist places thousands of tiny tattoo dots into the skin to build up shades of grey.

The closer together the dots are the darker and denser the shading looks.

By using this simple method, the tattooist can create subtle and soft gradients of colour which have a lighter and more delicate feel than traditional tattoo techniques.

Where is the most painless place to get a tattoo?

Now that you understand that dot work tattooing techniques can minimise pain, you may be looking to take it a step further.

If you get a dot work tattoo in one of the places that are known to be less painful, you can absolutely minimise the tattoo pain that you will feel.

So where are the tattoo locations which are the least painful?

  1. Back of the shoulder.
  2. Behind the ear.
  3. Outer side of the thigh.
  4. Top side of the forearm.
  5. Top of the arm – Outer side.
  6. Top side of the wrist.
  7. The backside/glutes.
  8. Front of thigh.
  9. Back of calf.

In general, avoid bony areas such as the foot or ribs and soft skin, such as the underarm if you want to avoid tattoo pain.

If you combine one of these locations with a dot work tattoo you should have a reasonably low pain tattoo experience.

In Conclusion. Are Dotwork tattoos less painful?

Yes, Dotwork tattoos are often less painful than other styles.

If you combine a dot work tattoo with a lower pain area of the body you should be able to minimise your tattoo pain experience.

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Examples of Dotwork Tattoos

Here are a few great examples of dot work tattoos to give you some inspiration for your next tattoo.

Talk to your tattoo artist about your ideas and they will be able to create a beautiful and unique tattoo just for you.

beautiful mandala dot work tattoo

beautiful mandala dot work tattoo

Delicate dotwork fox tattoo

Delicate dotwork fox tattoo

No hard lines in this dotwork tattoo mean it will be less painful

No hard lines in this dotwork tattoo mean it will be less painful

are dotwork tattoos less painful

Are dotwork tattoos less painful? This tree is comprised of delicate dots so would probably be less painful than a regular tattoo.

Little alien dot work tattoo.

Little alien dot work tattoo. Soft gradients and lack of bold lines mean less pain

whale sea dotwork tattoo

Beautiful soft lines in this sea and whale dotwork tattoo shouldn’t be too painful.

Tiny delicate moon dotwork tattoos

This delicate moons dotwork tattoo will be one of the least painful tattoos you could get.

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