Why You Should Think Twice Before Getting Hand Tattoos

Tattoos are becoming more and more popular with each passing day, and of the most popular places on the body to have this permanent decision placed, there's hand tattoos. Popular wisdom discourages hand tattoos. Of course, tattoos as a whole used to be considered quite taboo, with stereotypes suggesting that only a certain kind of unpleasant person would make the decision, but that's simply not true anymore, with business professionals to skater boys alike getting ink (via The Journal). But has the taboo of hand tattoos changed as well?

Believe it or not, despite the overwhelming popularity that hand tattoos have garnered over the years, there are many tattoo studios who refuse to do them. Although Lighthouse Tattoo in Lebanon, Tennessee, won't outright turn down a customer's request for a hand or finger tattoo, they will go to extensive lengths to make sure the person requesting one understands the risks. They explain that even though photos of hand/finger tattoos look great when they're initially done, over time, they will age and heal poorly. The sides of fingers, in between fingers, and the palm of the hand heal especially badly, as they lose a lot of skin cells through simple everyday living. And as the months and years pass, the tattoo might start to look worse and worse as it becomes smudged and loses its ink.

How painful is a hand or finger tattoo?

But if bad healing wasn't enough, many sources say that hand and finger tattoos are actually some of the most painful tattoos you can get. According to Cosmopolitan, it's quite a painful ordeal. "Having a tattoo on your hands and fingers is painful for a number reasons; the skin is thin and therefore sensitive, they are bony and filled with ligaments, and, as the ink doesn't stick to this area of skin very well, the tattoo artist may need to go over the design a few times," says Fredrik Glimskär, founder and CEO of online tattoo marketplace Inkbay. So if you're concerned about the pain factor of getting a tattoo, you might want to stick to the softer areas of the body: the outer shoulder, side of the calf, or the arm.

In the end, however, if you're aware of the risks and still do opt for an impressive hand or finger tattoo, there are a couple sure-fire ways to care for your new tat.

Not every spot on your hand is doomed to be a tattoo fail

While tattoo artist Johnny Dagger knows that hand/finger tattoos can be a risk, he says that not all are created equally. Dagger maintains that there are a few specific areas of the hand that can take quite well to tattoo ink and heal just as well as any other tattoo. "The best bet for hand tattoos are the top of the fingers and top of hands — those two areas will heal well and will not fade quickly," he told Allure. "When you tattoo other parts of the hands, it can definitely be a roll of the dice to see if the tattoo stays or not."

So, you bit the bullet and now your hands are tattooed. If you want to keep them looking just as fresh as the day you got them, experts say that tattoo aftercare is absolutely essential. According to New York City tattoo artist Ron Mor, make sure to keep the area clean and moisturized at all times so that it can properly heal (per Allure). Many tattoo professionals recommend using the water-based healing ointment Aquaphor, as it moisturizes while also slowly healing the tattoo (via Healthline). It's also essential to make sure you put a good quality SPF on your tattoos — all of them, not just the ones of your hands and fingers (via Very Well Health).