Planning a Forearm Tattoo? Here’s What You Should Know

Planning a Forearm Tattoo? Here’s What You Should Know

Sep 01, 2022 | Bridget Reed

When you tell your friends and family you plan on getting a forearm tattoo, they’ll probably wince and warn you about how painful it is. While tattoos are notoriously painful, extreme pain is a thing of the past with topical anesthetics.

With HUSH, tattoos don’t have to be a painful experience anymore. We want you to be able to get the body art of your dreams without the pain and irritation. So go ahead, get that forearm piece you’ve always wanted — or get a full sleeve (hell yeah). With HUSH, the painless possibilities are endless.

How Much Do Forearm Tattoos Hurt?

Planning a Forearm Tattoo? Here’s What You Should Know

Forearm tattoos are a great place to get your first tattoo because, relative to the rest of the body, forearm tattoos are less painful than others. This part of the body doesn't have as many bones or nerves as other spots, but it’s loaded with muscle and flesh to keep you feeling good during your session.

While people believe that tattoo art on your forearm is less painful than other areas of the body, pain tolerance is an individual experience. Something that hurts one person might not hurt someone else, and vice versa. 

Here at HUSH, we believe no one should have to go through excruciating pain to get a badass tattoo — wherever they want it.

With our prep, session, and aftercare products, you don’t have to worry about how much your next tattoo will hurt. All you have to worry about is showing it off.

Outer Forearm Tattoo

The outer forearm is a great place for a tattoo if you’re worried about pain levels. This nice fleshy area is low on nerve endings and bone, so it’ll be less painful than other areas with thinner skin. 

The elbow is the one spot on your outer forearm that will be more painful than others. This bony area has thinner skin than other areas of your arm, so it goes from being one of the least painful areas to get tattooed to one that really hurts. Don’t let this stop you from getting your dream elbow tattoo! Slap on some HUSH for a smooth session.

Inner Forearm Tattoo

The inner arm tends to be slightly more sensitive than the outer arm. This area of the arm has more nerve endings than the outer forearm, but it’s still a relatively low pain area of the body to get a tattoo.

Just like your outer arm, the area around the inside of your elbow will be more sensitive than other areas of your inner arm. The skin is thinner around this mobile joint, and your elbow pit has more nerve endings. 

Additionally, this area experiences more movement than other areas of your arm, so it might take slightly longer to heal. Oddly enough, some people say this area tickles in an ouch-kind-of-way. 

Sleeve Tattoo

A sleeve tattoo covers the entirety of your arm — both front and back. Some people opt for a full sleeve, which encompasses the entire bicep area and the forearm, while others opt for a partial sleeve. A partial sleeve can either mean just a bicep sleeve or just a forearm sleeve tattoo.

Sleeve tattoos are generally more painful than other types of tattoos because, simply, more of your arm is getting tattooed. It’s a long process that might stretch out over multiple sessions, and depending on the level of detail, a sleeve tattoo can take many hours to complete.

That said, sleeve designs can look awesome, so don’t let long sessions or the idea of pain stand in your way. The rad thing about multiple sessions is your arm has time to heal between them.

What Are Popular Forearm Tattoo Ideas?

Planning a Forearm Tattoo? Here’s What You Should Know

People often want to get meaningful tattoos to celebrate loved ones or inspire themselves. Other times, people simply want awesome art pieces to show off on their bodies. No matter why you want a tattoo, choosing a design is one of the most fun parts of getting a tattoo. 

Many people look online for tattoo ideas and inspiration and then work with an artist to decide how to make it original and unique. Artists also post art that followers can claim — start following local artists you like, and you may just find your next piece.

For those who want smaller tattoos, you might want to look for something less detailed to prevent colors from bleeding together over time. If you’re planning on getting a partial or full sleeve, you can choose several designs to piece together over time.

Whether you choose from one of many popular tattoo designs or opt for something completely unique, you can work with a tattoo artist to get the exact style and design you want. 

Quote Tattoo

A quote is a great option for a small forearm tattoo. If you want something that is not very noticeable but meaningful to you, you can opt for a small, thin quote in black ink. 

If you want something bolder that stands out, you can design a large, bold quote for the world to see. You can even do a quote tattoo as an armband and wrap it around your forearm.

Armband Tattoos

Armband tattoos are a super popular forearm design choice since they can wrap around your forearm or wrist like a bracelet. These types of tattoos can vary drastically. Some people might opt for geometric shapes or geometric designs for a cool futuristic tattoo.

Others might opt for dot work, a tribal tattoo, or a tree tattoo to symbolize a connection to nature or their heritage. Whether you’re going for a minimalist geometric forearm tattoo or a complex web of branches and vines, a tattoo artist will be able to come up with the perfect armband design.

Flower Tattoo

Flower tattoos are very versatile and can come in many different shapes, sizes, and levels of detail. Even something as simple as a rose tattoo can come in many different styles, like watercolor red roses or a minimalist black rose outline. While flowers might seem like a simple forearm tattoo, talk to your artist about all of your different options.

Smaller Designs

You can adorn your forearm with plenty of small forearm designs. Some popular options include an arrow forearm tattoo running the length of the forearm, a vertical tree, and more. No matter how big or small of a tattoo you want, your artist can design something you’ll love.

Cover-Up Tattoo

Listen, we’ve all made tattooing mistakes. Maybe you thought you’d be in love with that dragon tattoo or wolf tattoo that’s smack in the middle of your forearm forever, but you’re just not. Or maybe you thought it would be a great idea to get your sweetie’s name tattooed — until you broke up a month later. Let’s not talk about the stick and pokes you got in that basement in high school.

There’s no shame in the cover-up game! Tattoo artists can come up with amazing cover-up tattoo ideas to give you a piece of art you love without having to sit through dozens of super painful tattoo removal sessions.

How Can I Prepare for a Forearm Tattoo?

The key to a long-lasting, pain-free, sick tattoo is preparing for it. If you take the proper steps before, during, and after your session, you’ll have a bomb tattoo for years to come — not a quick-fading, dull piece of art. HUSH prep products make it easy to get ready for your session.

Clean and Shaven

To prep the area you’ll be getting tattooed, you will want to keep the area clean and free of hair or stubble. Before your session, give yourself a nice smooth shave. Even if you have thin, barely-there hair on your forearms, your tattoo artist might want you to remove it for the tattoo — or will likely do it for you.

After shaving, you’ll need to clean the area well to ensure it’s free of sweat and dirt. Don’t get tattooed after a sweaty gym sesh — take a nice, thorough shower and clean your tattoo area with our CBD Foam Soap. This foaming soap is designed especially for tattoos and can help soothe any discomfort you might experience during your session.

A soothing blend of botanicals like aloe leaf extract, chamomile extract, green tea extract, and calendula extract from the marigold flower all work together to help soothe any irritation caused by your tattoo. We combine these with CBD extract for natural hydration to prevent any discomfort.

Relaxation, Satiation, and Hydration

Before your tattoo, you’ll also want to eat and drink enough food and water. Especially for longer sleeve tattoos or larger pieces, make sure you have a full meal beforehand. 

Needles can make some people dizzy, and an empty stomach won’t help. We’re not saying to stuff yourself, but have a satisfying snack before your session. HUSH can help with tattoo pain, but we can’t combat hunger pangs.

Being hydrated is also super important. Hydration keeps our skin happy and healthy, which is essential when healing a tattoo. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks before your sitting and opt for water instead. Also, get a good night’s sleep and wear comfortable clothing so you’re as relaxed as you can be while getting your tattoo. 

How Do I Take Care of My Skin During a Forearm Tattoo?

Planning a Forearm Tattoo? Here’s What You Should Know

The session is where all the magic happens! For many people, it’s also where all the pain happens. 

But with HUSH, this doesn’t have to be the case. Using our Numbing Gel or Numbing Cream (perfect for people with more sensitive skin), you can sit back and relax while your artist does their thing. 

Get rid of your pre-session anxiety by using HUSH session products. Keep reading to learn how our topical anesthetics work for your next tattoo sitting.

Numbing Gel

Say goodbye to pain and goopy, traditional topical anesthetics. Our water-based Numbing Gel uses super-strong lidocaine to melt away pain, blocking targeted nerve endings where you need it the most. 

With HUSH, there will be no more flinching or anticipation. Let the buzz of the tattoo needle be music to your ears with this fragrance-free gel to give you all the numbing you want without irritation. 

We also include a bunch of other ingredients in our numbing gel that soothe and support your skin, making for a quick and easy healing process. We use a blend of extracts including green tea, chamomile, calendula, and aloe leaf in deionized water for pure, soothing skin support. 

We also throw in some menthol for a cooling kick that feels heavenly on irritated skin. We recommend spreading on a thick layer of our numbing gel about an hour before your session to give the lidocaine time to kick in and work its magic. 

If you’re worried about making a mess, you can wrap your forearm in plastic wrap while the gel sinks in.

Numbing Cream

Our Numbing Cream provides just as much punch as our gel but is perfect for more sensitive skin. Whether you have naturally sensitive skin or are getting a tattoo on a more sensitive area of the body, our cream is right up your alley. 

This topical anesthetic also uses the maximum-strength power of four percent lidocaine to melt away pain for a wince-free experience.

The main difference between the cream and gel is the use of menthol. Some people love menthol, but other skin types might be more sensitive to it. Both of our products are paraben-free, but if you have a sensitivity to menthol, our cream might be for you!

What Does Forearm Tattoo Aftercare Entail?

Planning a Forearm Tattoo? Here’s What You Should Know

Aftercare is one of the most important parts of getting a tattoo. If you don’t take care of your tattoo properly after getting it, it can cause your tattoo to fade prematurely or even cause an infection. 

To prevent any problems following your sesh, follow your tattoo artist’s advice, and use HUSH aftercare to ensure a smoooooth healing process.

Keep It Clean

It’s super important to keep new tattoos clean and prevent bacteria from getting in them as they heal. After all, new tattoos are considered open wounds, so you want to keep them fresh, clean, and free of dirt and bacteria. 

Use our CBD Foam Soap, a cleanser designed for tattoos, to protect your new tattoo against the yuck. Our soap also has botanicals with soothing and cleansing properties and fatty acids to help support your body’s natural healing process. 

Don’t worry — our 100 mg of organic CBD won’t get you high. This non-psychoactive, THC-free soap only uses the soothing, healing cannabidiol to hydrate your skin while soothing feelings of discomfort.

Smooth Soothing

Opt for our Healing Spray instead for that new tattoo you’re dying to itch and scratch. This numbing spray uses lidocaine to numb and soothe your tattoo, so you can stop scratching it and prevent infection. 

Follow the spray with our Healing Balm to soothe any itchiness or irritation. This CBD cream is ultra-hydrating, with shea and mango seed butter to moisturize your skin and triglycerides to help retain that moisture. Our cream will help your new and old tattoos look vibrant and feel great with a blend of brightening oils.


If you plan on getting a forearm tattoo in the summer when you tend to wear short sleeves and spend a lot of time in the sun, you might want to wait until winter or accept your fate of wearing long sleeves for a couple of weeks until your fresh ink fully heals. 

A sunburn is one of the worst things to happen to a new tattoo. It can disturb your brand new ink so much that you might even need a touch-up after your tattoo fully heals. 

Even worse, if your sunburn is severe enough, it might even cause an infection or blisters. Major ouch! It’s better to be safe than sorry and cover up while your tattoo heals.

After your ink is fully healed, smooth on some sunscreen with zinc oxide if you plan on exposing your tattoo to the sun for an extended period. A solid sunscreen can help prevent fading and bleeding and the dreaded tattoo sunburn. 


Forearm tattoos are considered one of the least painful locations to get a tattoo. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll be sitting pretty without a topical anesthetic. 

Tattoos without our Numbing Cream or Numbing Gel are still painful. Especially if it’s your first tattoo or if you’re diving into a full sleeve, you’ll want to make sure you load up on numbing agents to make for a pleasant session.

Decorating yourself in sick body art doesn’t have to be an excruciating experience anymore. By using our session and aftercare products, your tattoos will heal smoothly, and you’ll feel your best, too.



Experimental studies on the effect of lidocaine on wound healing | PMC

Tattoo Pain Chart: Where It Hurts Most and Least, and More | Healthline 

Tattoo Aftercare: Products, Tips & More | Healthline 

Questions and Answers: FDA posts deemed final order and proposed order for over-the-counter sunscreen | FDA

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