What Is an Armpit Tattoo?

H. Bliss

An armpit tattoo is a permanent marking in ink that is made in the underarm area of a person. These types of tattoos generally start in the area in the fold of the skin between the arm and the torso. They can extend to encompass the rest of the body, but start on the underside of the arm or on the skin on the connecting torso. Historically, human branding tattoos were frequently placed under the armpit, and were used as a means of marking those who had severely broken the law, such as deserters. Celebrities who reportedly have armpit tattoos include Zac Efron, Miley Cyrus, and Kat Von D.

Individuals who receive tattoos in states that do not regulate tattoo facilities should wait 12 months before donating blood.
Individuals who receive tattoos in states that do not regulate tattoo facilities should wait 12 months before donating blood.

Receiving an armpit tattoo usually hurts a great deal more than receiving most other types of tattoos. Even the most seasoned tattoo enthusiast is likely to admit that the pain from an armpit tattoo is difficult to take. The reason for this is that the skin in that area is particularly sensitive to pain. Getting an armpit tattoo can be a good decision for people who want a large tattoo that is easy to hide in delicate situations. The shape of the area under the arm allows the design to extend over a large area that does not clearly show under a standard shirt sleeve.

Applying numbing cream to the area to be inked may help reduce the pain associated with receiving a tattoo.
Applying numbing cream to the area to be inked may help reduce the pain associated with receiving a tattoo.

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An armpit tattoo is created by injecting ink into the skin with a machine connected to needles, to create a permanent picture on the recipient's body. Any style of tattoo design can be made into an armpit tattoo. These tattoos can have thin lines or thick, and they can be in color or black and white.

A tattoo machine.
A tattoo machine.

The subjects for underarm tattoos are as varied as the tastes of their recipients. Often, the armpit tattoo is designed to make use of the concave shape and opening and closing motion of the armpit area. Sometimes, the design has the mouth of an animal, like a tiger or shark, positioned so that it looks like the mouth is opened when the tattoo is revealed.

Other times, the armpit tattoo design is made to look as if the inked object has been released from the underarm area. This effect often involves images of animals like butterflies and birds or ribbons, flowers, or stars. A tattoo in the armpit area can also display simple, standard tattoo design styles.

Receiving an armpit tattoo is usually more painful than receiving other types of tattoos.
Receiving an armpit tattoo is usually more painful than receiving other types of tattoos.

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