Hand and Finger Tattoos

Hands and fingers are currently a very popular position for tattoos, from the amusing ‘shhhh’ and moustaches to smaller more intricate designs.

Our skin has three layers:

  • The epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone.
  • The dermis, beneath the epidermis, contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
  • The hypodermis, which is made up of fat and connective tissue.

The skin on our palms and soles does not have hair and is thicker which enables our bodies to perform tasks such as walking and picking things up, the skin on the top of our hands, feet and face is noticeably thinner. Looking at hands you will see that the skin changes about half way around our fingers, this thicker skin regenerates much faster than anywhere else on your body.


Tattoo ink sits inert between the Epidermis and the Dermis skin layer, but with the varying thickness of the Hypodermis tattooing over ‘bonier’ areas makes it more difficult for your tattooist to evenly place the tattoo ink in the correct position; often resulting in the ink being put in too lightly or too deep.

Tattooing too lightly will mean that your tattoo will fade quickly and some lines may even ‘drop out’ during the healing process, so will require regular touch up’s which will have an on going cost implication to maintain the look of your tattoo.

Whilst placing the ink too deep can cause what is known as ‘blowout’, which is when the ink overloads the capillaries and disperses spreading out under the skin leaving a smoky/fuzzy shadow around your tattoo.

Positioning the tattoo onto the top of the hand or foot can have similar issues but care should be taken in avoiding the design being positioned on the sides (the fade-line) as your tattoo can literally fade within weeks.  Again leaving you with the financial burden of regular visits to your tattooist or in having half a tattoo.

The risk of infection during the healing process is obviously going to be much greater with a tattoo on your hand, so additional care is required. Infection can cause scarring along with loss of ink.


Your tattooist should discuss all these points with you prior to you making your final decision on placement.  But will also reserve the right to not tattoo you.  Society can still be judgemental regarding visible tattoos, and you have to consider the long-term implications from having a hand tattoo. There are still some professions who will not employ anyone with visible tattoos.  Tattoo Laser Removal is not always as successful with hand tattoos. There a lots of images of tattoo’s available on line; but these can also often not be pictures of fully healed tattoos.


Image from http://www.webmd.com


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