All body art requires the endurance of some level of pain. Both body piercing and tattooing share the use of a needle to complete the task at hand. Where tattoo machines utilize a rapid succession of penetrations through the skin (at relatively shallow depths), a body piercing involves the use of a hollow needle pushed completely through the tissue. The pain experienced during each of these procedures can be quite different; the tattooing pain is more steady and drawn out, while the piercing is a much sharper jolt felt instantly.
There are many factors that determine the pain experienced during a piercing, with many of them associated with the skill and experience of the piercer. A competent piercer should pierce quickly and smoothly, inserting the body jewelry immediately behind the needle once through the skin. Some people believe drinking alcohol before a piercing will lessen the pain. While this may work in theory, drinking alcohol is really a bad idea, as it can lead to excessive bleeding or fainting. Something that can be taken that lessens the pain is over-the-counter pain reliever (as prescribed) about 30 minutes prior to piercing – this can lower the pain felt substantially. Another way to drastically reduce the pain is through the use of Pain Reducing Pads, available from finer online sellers of piercing supplies.