Fact Check: Do Tattoos Hurt More If You’re Slim?

Kylie Jenner has a new tattoo on her inner arm. (Photo: Snapchat)

Kylie Jenner got two more tiny red tattoos this weekend, and according to her tattoo artist Jon Boy, it probably hurt since she’s “skin and bone.” Jon Boy gave Kylie a tattoo of an “M” on her inner finger and the name “Mary Jo” on her inner elbow as a tribute to her grandmother. The 18-year-old reality star also tattooed a crowned “K” on the back of Jon Boy’s wrist, and he seemed to be in much less pain during his tattoo session than Kylie was during hers. Could it really be because she’s thin, or is it because Jon Boy has so many more tattoos than Kylie, making him used to the pain? We consulted a top dermatologist and tattoo artist to set the record straight.

Jon Boy tells Kylie Jenner that she’s “skin and bone.” (Video: Snapchat)

“I don’t think there is a really simple answer as a lot of different factors determine pain level,” says dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD. “One of the most important factors is an individual’s pain tolerance to different types of pain and perception of pain.  So for example, if you were to ask different people with multiple tattoos in the same area they would likely say the most painful one was in different areas (one person might say inner arm whereas another might say behind the ear or another area).” Dr. Shah says that there are some areas that are inherently more painful because they have more nerve endings, such as the palms and soles, nipples, and parts of the face. Other areas can have heightened sensitivity to pain as well, due to thin skin or skin that is less exposed, like the inner arm. “In most people, areas overlying bone or other structures without much ‘padding’ do tend to be more painful, but not always,” Shah confirms. “However, a heavier person with a lot of fat might find getting a tattoo underneath a fat roll more painful because the skin is less exposed to sensation and touch in general. Also with tattoos size and amount of shading also play a role in pain.” Basically, tattoo pain is circumstantial and doesn’t necessarily have to do with weight.

Kylie Jenner looks uncomfortable while getting a tattoo on her inner finger. (Video: Snapchat)

Speaking from firsthand experience, top tattoo artist Yoni Zilber of New York Adorned agrees with Dr. Shah. “It’s an individual thing for some it more painful on bones some on fat,” he says. “But in my experience, skinny people’s sit better for tattoos.” Zilber also points out an issue that Kylie May encounter with her tattoos.  “Red ink does not age so well, some fade all the way and some look like a skin problem if done without black outlines around it to give it contrast, but that you will see only years later.” He also points out that irritation is most common with red ink. “It depends on the quality of ink, but most of the irritation I’ve seen was from red ink, and mostly after it’s exposed to sun.” Based on Kylie’s documentation of her tattoos, it seems like she’s careful to pick the best artists. Still, we hope her tattoos don’t fade into red blotches. And the verdict is in, thin people can stop worrying so much about tattoo pain.

Kylie got a second new tattoo with her BFF Jordyn Woods. (Photo: Snapchat)


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