Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Palm and Fingers Tattoos: Why you shouldn't get them.

Finger tattoos have grown in popularity in the last few years; especially with the “Shhh…” that Rhianna got on her index finger. I’m going to explain to you why this is a bad tattoo for several reasons. With all my education blogs I will not only explain the technical aspects of the bad reasons, but also my personal reasons as much as I can without being repetitive, because there are some things that apply to every tattoo idea. In this chapter we’re going to discuss “rings” and the side of the fingers.

Reason 1: Fading
Rings cannot go all the way around the finger because about half way around the fingers, thumb, and balls of the hand that creates the palm, the skin regenerates almost 10X faster than the rest of the body. The skin that is on the palm and the bottom of the fingers is very temporary, so if the artist pushes the design in to light, it will fade quickly, and almost be gone in only a couple months. Because of the fading, the tattoo will require regular touch ups. This can be a very expensive process to the client and can possibly reflect poorly on the artist. Many tattooers in the industry will not do fingers and palms because of these reasons.

The top tattoo shows the tattoos fresh, the bottom shows healed after some time, and how they've faded.
Reason 2: Blowouts
The artist will push the design in too hard in order to get the design to have a longer life, it can cause what’s called a “blowout”. A blowout is when the ink disperses and spreads outside of the wanted areas and can cause what a lot of people refer to as, “foggy”, “blurry”, “smokey”, or other descriptions. The artist must hit that “sweet spot” within the palms and fingers or the tattoo will either be faded or blown out, and seeing as how every person is different, it’s difficult to find the sweet spot.  This is also something that can reflect poorly on the artist and another reason artists refuse to do the hands.

This isn't a hand, obviously, but is a good example of what could happen when it comes to blowouts. See the seepage of the ink around the letters. Spreading can happen even if the tattoo is done properly but is rare, but can happen if the tattoo is applied too hard.
Reason 3: Half Tattoos
Applying tattoos the tops of the fingers or the tops of the hands aren’t so bad. The problem here is the sides. The same reason as above except the only problem is that instead of being left with an almost completely faded tattoo, or even a well done tattoo, you’re left with a little of both columns. The tattoo can stay done well above the “fade line” and everything below will disappear in what can be a few weeks. At that point the client is left with half of a tattoo. Again, if the client isn’t one to admit their bad decision, this can reflect poorly on the artist.

This tattoo from shows the tattoo fresh, then 8 weeks later, and then having to be redone.
This tattoo is wrong for many reasons, but we'll focus on the placement aspect. As you can see in the first pic the tattoo is dark and black, and 6 weeks later the tattoo is highly faded, and gets even more faded the farther down the finger it goes.
Reason 4: Popularity
Many tattoos are acquired because of the what is seen to a lot of people as “cool”, “cute”, or “admirable”. A lot of the bad tattoo ideas out there are because of celebrities. Unlike the rest of “normal” folk, they have the ability to blow way more money on tattoos. A sixty dollar tattoo to them is not the same sixty dollar tattoo to us. They have money and time to get it touched up every 3-6 months without a problem. If an artist does do finger tattoos, they generally don’t do free touch ups for fingers and palms; which means the client will have to pay to have the tattoo redone as many times as needed until that sweet spot is found, or blow out occurs. If a celebrity has a tattoo, there’s a good chance their tattoo isn’t good; Rhianna, Chris Brown, and Scarlett Johansson are great examples.

In the first pic of Rhianna you can see her tattoo is clean and dark, and in the second photo the letters are much thicker, and darker; this is because she's had to have it touched up at least twice, maybe more times. Maybe not a bad tattoo, but definitely a bad placement.


  1. This made me not get a finger tattoo. Thanks

  2. I'm glad I could educate. Thanks for reading!!

  3. I have 5 top of my finger tats and one inside my ring finger. ..I've touched up once and ha e had all at least a full year. One of them is even below my wedding set and being constantly rubbed and it hasn't had one touch up. Maybe I hot lucky, maybe my artists knows what he's doing,maybe some people are just able to hold those tattoos just as they may NOT be able to hold it in other areas. I say if if you want one...give it a shot! I know in most cases, at least one touch up is at no charge so you're not losing anything. If you don't try, you'll never know. Best of luck!

    1. Most tattooers will do touch ups free of charge when the client takes good care of their work, but finger tattoos are a high risk area and most of them will initially charge less for tattoo itself but charge for the touch up. I refuse to do them purely out of principle; I do quality tattoos, and I won't take their money if the tattoo won't be quality.

      I've run into more people who cause drama over these tattoos than not. I've explained the ramifications of these kind of tattoos and when they fall out, the client's blame me and blast me. I have a a bunch hold and stay, but the ratio between those that stay and people love them versus the ones the don't and the people blast me negatively, is heavy on one end. It's not worth having your business tarnished because people don't know how to listen, and then they're left with a poor tattoo.

      I'd much rather make absolutely sure that every tattoo I do is quality, and will last a lifetime. It's alright to let a handful of $75 finger tattoos walk out the door and maintain a quality reputation.

      Having the reputation that I won't risk potentially putting a shitty tattoo on you is better than "ripping you off" by putting a shitty tattoo on that I warned you about.

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  4. This is the stupidest thing I have ever read. I have 2 palm tattoos and my wife has her fingers done and have stayed in perfectly. If you find an artist who specialises in palms or is experiences in palms you will have little to no problems getting them. Don't write an article claiming you know absolutely everything when you clearly know nothing.

    If you want to see one of my favourite palm artists check out

  5. Hi Lenny,

    Thank you for your comment. I appreciate the referral to Walker X's Instagram, but all you've done is prove my post. In healed photos from X's IG shows inconsistencies and blow outs. I would love to see you and your wife's tattoos.

  6. Yeah, I consider my finger tats "permanently temporary"... I've had my fingers redone 7 times in the past 7 years... they really only look good about 5-8 weeks then get spotty...

  7. Damn, I wanted a stigmata tattoo on my hands but it'll look stupid if I only get the backs of my hands done.

  8. Wish I had of read your article before getting my side finger tattoo recently. It was spur of the moment and a poor decision on my behalf. I had seen some of the artists other work which was quite good but some of mine has blown out near the joint, which bled a bit in that area and another bit is blotchy. Hope it fades soon.

    1. Ps. Where the blowout bit is its still quite tender. Its been about 3 weeks

  9. I got two finger tatts. Completely disappeared in 2 weeks. So disappointed

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