Can You Get a Tattoo While Drunk? (Legal or Illegal)

Criticize alcohol as we may, it is still a very popular beverage. As true as it is that drinking alcohol too often leads to undesirable consequences, including addiction and death, it is also true that moderate use of alcohol can have certain benefits.

Some studies have shown that moderate drinkers have a reduced risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and other vascular problems. Alcohol may also help to prevent gallstones and kidney stones.

For many, alcohol is a great painkiller and tranquilizer at once. People with a low pain threshold often find that a glass or two of wine or beer can help them to get through the day without too much discomfort.

The same applies to folks who are petrified at the prospect of getting a tattoo – even though they really want it. Such folks are looking for any way to make the tattooing process less painful. And, of course, alcohol is known to have numbing properties.

So the question that arises is: can you get a tattoo while drunk?

If you’re dreading your upcoming ink session and are wondering if getting drunk before your tattoo appointment is legally permittable, continue reading. In a minute we will clear any doubts on the subject.

Is It Illegal to Get a Tattoo While Drunk?

At, our job is to make sure that your ink session goes along with the law, both local and state.

When it comes to the tattoo laws in the United States, whether countrywide regulations or state-specific, there’s no mention of alcohol consumption. This means that technically speaking, you can drink before getting a tattoo.

While we haven’t checked the tattoo laws for all 195 countries in the world (yet), looking at the regulations in other popular tattoo destinations such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, or South Africa, there are no indications that alcohol consumption before or during a tattoo session is prohibited.

With that said, we always recommend that you check with your local tattoo shop about their specific policies, as some may not allow customers who are under the influence of alcohol. A tattoo artist or a tattoo parlor is completely permitted to refuse to tattoo an intoxicated client.

Drunk Tattoos & Age Restrictions

As you probably know, each state in the United States has its own regulations when it comes to tattoos and age.

In some states, the minimum age for getting a tattoo is 18, while there’s also a sole state, South Carolina, that requires you to be at least 21 years of age before being legally allowed to get inked (imagine that!).

Most states allow minors to get the ink job done with parental consent, meaning even people as young as 15 can get legally tattooed. But it goes without saying that alcohol for minors is a no-no.

For example, in Texas, the legal drinking age is 21 years old, which means if you’re getting tattooed in the Lone Star State, you have to be of age before you can drink.

In New York, on the other hand, the drinking age is 18 years old, so if you’re getting a tattoo in the Empire State, you’re allowed to drink as long as you’re of age.

Naturally, the same rules apply globally.

With that said, regardless of your age and the drinking laws in your state, we strongly advise against drinking alcohol before or during a tattoo session.

Pros & Cons of Getting a Tattoo While Drunk

Now that we know that, from a legal standpoint, you can get a tattoo while drunk, let’s explore some of the pros and cons of doing so.


  • Numbing properties of alcohol may reduce pain during tattooing
  • You may be more relaxed


  • Your judgment may be impaired, meaning you may make a decision you regret later
  • Alcohol thins the blood and can lead to excessive bleeding during the tattoo
  • Your skin may not take the tattoo as well as it would have if you were sober
  • You may have a more difficult time sitting still during the tattooing process
  • The numbing properties of alcohol may make it more difficult for the tattoo artist to work

As you can see, drinking and tattoos don’t combine well since the cons outweigh the pros by some distance. We advise that you refrain from drinking before a tattoo appointment, as it’s more likely to cause problems than not.

Numbing Alternatives

If you’re really afraid of getting a tattoo because of the pain associated with it, there are a few numbing alternatives that you can explore.

The first is topical numbing cream, which can be applied directly to the skin before the tattooing process begins. There are a variety of numbing creams on the market, some of which are stronger than others. It’s important to do your research and find one that will work well for you.

Our recommendations include:

  • Zensa Numbing Cream
  • TKTX
  • Deeveeant

Tattoos & Alcohol: FAQ

Below find some of the popular questions related to the question: “can you be drunk and get a tattoo”.

  • Do tattoos hurt more when you’re drunk?

While getting tattoo drunk might increase the pain threshold during the session, it’s more likely that you’ll bleed more. When the alcohol wears off, you might feel more pain than without a drink.

  • Can you drink after getting a tattoo?

Yes, you can drink alcohol after getting a tattoo but in moderate amounts. It’s advisable to wait until the tattoo has healed before consuming alcohol, as it can dry out your skin and delay the healing process. As already mentioned, alcohol also thins the blood which might lead to more bleeding than usual.

  • Can drinking before or during tattoos lead to poorer quality art?

The short answer is yes. If you’re drunk during your tattoo session, it’s more likely that you’ll move around and it will be difficult for the artist to work. This can lead to a poorer quality tattoo.

Additionally, alcohol consumption before or during a tattoo can also cause your skin to not take the tattoo as well as it would have if you were sober.