Are Wrist Tattoos Trashy?

One of the biggest tattoo decisions is placement. Where you place new ink can determine how much it will hurt, how easy it is to do aftercare, and how well it will hold up. But people also worry about placement due to living in a judgmental society. Sometimes this fear is rooted in career ambitions; other times, it’s social, such as worrying if wrist tattoos are trashy.

Wrist tattoos are not trashy. The concept of “trashy” is a social construct related to classism. However, wrist tattoos can be more painful to obtain due to being close to the bone. Wrist ink is also more prone to fading and needing touchups due to exposure, high movement, and high friction.

Worries of a tattoo or its placement being “trashy” are all over chat boards, from fitness sites to social news. The debates over wrist tattoos are plentiful, and some very judgmental people are out there. Worth noting a fair chunk of the people who think wrist tattoos are trashy also think women should stay home minding children and not have careers.

What Types Of Wrist Tattoos Are There?

There are many placement types of wrist tattoos. Some of these are easier to cover up than others. Also, some get exposed to more sunlight and the elements than others. Lastly, if you are concerned about pain, some styles will hurt more due to size or going over bonier areas.

Bracelet Wrist Tattoo

A bracelet tattoo encircles the wrist like a bracelet.

Forearm Wrist Tattoo

These are wrist tattoos that extend into the forearm. These are not necessarily big, just how they are positioned. These will hold up slightly better to sunlight than those on the outer wrist and side.

Glove Wrist Tattoo

A glove tattoo essentially covers the body as if wearing a glove. Thus, the hand is also tattooed, although not necessarily the palm.

Half-Glove Wrist Tattoo

This is a wrist tattoo that fingerless gloves would cover. They usually stop at the hand’s knuckles and do not necessarily involve the palm.

Inner Wrist Tattoo

Inner wrist tattoos are exactly like, a tattoo on the inner wrist. Some will extend slightly into the forearm, and others do not. This is one of the best placements for those worried about sun exposure.

Outer Wrist Tattoo

Outer wrist tattoos are over that bony part of the wrist.

Side Wrist Tattoo

Side wrist tattoos extend along the outer sides of the wrist.

What Should I Consider Before Getting A Wrist Tattoo?

It is a deeply personal choice if a person should worry about wrist tattoos being “trashy.” However, there are some practical considerations to be aware of when thinking about getting a wrist tattoo.

Wrist Tattoos Are High Risk For Fading And Needing Touch Ups

Wrist tattoos are a high-risk placement for fading. They are also an area that is prone to needing touchups. UV rays, friction, and movement all contribute to the speed a tattoo ages. By design, wrists are areas exposed to a lot of weather, move a lot, and are a high friction area.

It is especially common for line work on the wrist to require touchups, even recently healed wrist tattoos. The natural creases of the wrist are clues to why this happens. The area bends and twists a lot, moving the skin around, making it near impossible to allow a wrist tattoo to heal without constant friction and movement. Thus, it breaks up the linework.

Wrist Tattoos Can Be a High Pain Area

Pain is relative and how much a tattoo hurts depends on many factors, including who is being tattooed and the artist doing the ink. Nor does everyone care if it hurts. But for those that worry about pain, there are general areas that tend to hurt more, and these are often areas of thin skin or over a bone. The wrist is both a thin skin area with a lot of bone.

Social Considerations For Wrist Tattoos

Nobody should have to choose between their ink and their career. Sure, it is advised not to get racist, sexist, homophobic, and ableist symbols or messages permanently etched into your skin. But the idea that simply sporting a visible tattoo is grounds for excluding someone from the workforce is outdated and wrong.

Nonetheless, the planet is full of people who are proud to uphold opinions and policies rooted in unwarranted discrimination. These people may be your boss or your future boss. This is something to consider when getting ink placed in a visible spot on your body.

However, most wrist tattoos can be covered by sleeves, a cuff, a wide bracelet, or a watch. Thus, if you find yourself having to attend a job interview or work at a closed-minded establishment, there are ways to hide wrist ink.

But when it comes to social interactions outside of work, such as dating, the ink will probably show at some point, and that’s when some people worry about wrist ink being “trashy.”

Trashy: The Language Of Classism

The word “trashy” is a derogatory term used to imply somebody is lesser. Merriam-Webster notes it is to indicate “inferior quality.” Social constructs depend on ranking people as “betters” and “lesser,” and the word “trashy” reinforces these negative social constructs.

Thus, when people are talking about tattoos being trashy, they are generally the sort of people who need to rank people in order to make themselves feel superior. Thus, it is a personal decision if you care about the opinions of such a person who can only find self-worth by scorning others.  

Are Some Tattoos Better Than Others?

Yes, some tattoos are better than others. However, this is regarding quality, rather than if getting inked on the wrist or anywhere else is “trashy.” Not all tattoo inks are equal. Nor are all artists as skilled. Poor line work and bad ink will produce a tattoo that is of poor quality. Also, poor aftercare will result in a rubbish tattoo, even if the artist and ink are excellent.


Calling tattoos “trashy” for being on the wrist or just existing is a sign of a narrow mind and classism. However, the world isn’t fair, and for some careers having a wrist tattoo will require a covering strategy while at work. The real considerations should actually be on design, the artist, and if you want a tattoo in a high maintenance area.


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