When getting a tattoo, there are many concerns that may surround your decision on where on your body you should get it. These concerns may be because of work or hobbies, or you may be concerned about how fast it will fade. So, what places on your body do tattoos fade the least?
The 6 places where tattoos fade the least on your body are the inner arm, upper thigh, back, upper collarbone, calves, and shoulders. These places are exposed to the least amount of sun and friction, and the skin tends to age well.
Let us take a closer look at why these skin areas are so good at maintaining the quality of your tattoo and why they will generally not fade much.
Where Do Tattoos Last The Longest?
A tattoo will last the longest and stay well without much fading on any area of the body that is relatively undisturbed and protected from the elements of day to day life that cause fading in a tattoo.
All tattoos will naturally fade a slight bit over time, but if your tattoo has been done well and taken care of well, you may not even be able to notice this fading.
Some elements of day to day living that can contribute to a tattoo fading are as follows:
Poor Tattoo Aftercare
After you have had a tattoo done, you need to follow a good aftercare routine recommended by your tattoo artist with your new tattoo to ensure that it heals well.
When the correct tattoo aftercare does not take place, this leaves your tattoo open to infection, which not only could cause permanent damage to your tattoo, but is also a risk to your health.
It may also lead to poor healing in your skin, which can cause scarring directly over your tattoo.
Poor tattoo aftercare often results in bad scabbing during the healing process, which essentially means that a lot of ink may be unnecessarily lost, and your skin will not heal over as well and healthily as it should.
Frequent Sun Exposure
Frequent exposure to the sun without sunscreen or protection on your tattoo is another contributing day to day factor that may lead to your tattoo fading quicker.
The UV rays from the sun can breakdown the pigment of the ink in your tattoo, causing your once vibrant tattoo to fade quickly and look extraordinarily dull and possibly even old.
If you get a bad sunburn on the area of skin where your tattoo is, this could also be bad for your tattoo. Every time that your skin peels from a bad sunburn, it takes off a thin layer of ink with it.
If you get burned frequently, all of these layers will add up, and the skin will often begin to look “leathery” – This will leave your tattoo looking rough and dull.
Frequent friction on a tattoo has been proven to fade the ink in a tattoo quickly.
Essentially when your tattoo has frequent friction on it, it is like it is constantly being exfoliated. You will have skin being exfoliated off frequently, and with it, the ink of your tattoo will be taken too.
The more friction there is, the more skin and ink are taken off, and the faster your tattoo will fade.
Unfortunately, there are some things that will fade your tattoo no matter what you do – one of these things is your skin aging.
As your skin ages, normal “wear and tear” of your skin will happen – this also applies to any skin area that may have a tattoo on it.
As much as you may wish this was not the case, it is just one of those things in life. However, the better you take care of your skin in general, and the better you treat your body, the better your skin will age and the better your tattoos will age with it.
You cannot prevent aging – but you absolutely can work at preventing badly aged skin.
Where Are The Best Places To Be Tattooed On Your Body?
As was discussed before, the best places to be tattooed on your body will then be the places that are not exposed to the elements of day to day living that cause tattoos to fade quicker – elements such as friction, sun exposure, etc.
Below are some of the best places on your body that you could be tattooed that will be protected from these elements:
Your inner arm is a great place to be tattooed as it has very limited exposure to the sun, and short of daily power-walking with swinging arms, it will usually have limited amounts of friction as well.
When you get a tattoo in your inner arm, as long as you are diligent with your tattoo aftercare, it should hold up well and last great over time.
The skin on your underarm is also one of the last parts of your body that will begin to age, making this location on your body an ideal place to tattoo to prevent fading.
The inner arm is also an easy place to maintain proper tattoo aftercare on. It is easily accessible and is in a very convenient place to wash, as you will not need to have a full shower twice a day just to clean your tattoo – you can just hang your arm over the sink.
Your upper thigh is also a great place on your body to be tattooed. Your upper thigh, given you have not tattooed your inner thigh, has little to no friction caused to it on a day to day basis.
Your upper thigh will also have barely any sun exposure, as it is usually always covered by some clothing item.
This does not mean that you can not have your upper thigh tattoo exposed to any kind of sun or friction at any point. For example, if you ever decided to go rock climbing or bungee-jumping, they would strap you into a harness that goes around your upper thigh and waist area.
As long as this is not done while your tattoo is still healing or regularly, you can rest assured that it will not affect your tattoo at all.
The same thing goes for sun exposure; if you are planning on having a swimming day, for example, you do not need to worry about having your tattoo covered at all times and never being in the sun. Simply apply a good amount of sunscreen to your tattoo throughout the day to make sure it is protected against the sun while it is uncovered.
Your back is one of the most untouched areas on the skin, making it one of the best places on your body to get a tattoo when you are concerned about fading.
Your back is a part of your body that is generally covered by clothes most of the day every day, and it is hardly ever exposed to frequent friction.
The skin on your back will also generally age very well; the only thing that may be slightly tricky to deal with is your tattoo aftercare.
Depending on where on your back you decide to get your tattoo, it may end up being a fairly tricky place to gently wash twice a day, keep from getting wet during showers, and most of all to try and apply your tattoo aftercare cream to after every clean.
Due to a back tattoo’s tricky positioning and how it may be tough to reach it during the healing process, you may need to ask for help from a family member, a spouse, a friend, or a roommate in helping you with the upkeep of your tattoo aftercare.
Your upper collarbone is another section of skin that is a good option for tattooing if you are concerned about fast fading tattoos – although this may be more applicable to men than women for a couple of reasons.
Your collarbone will usually be covered by clothing for the majority of the day every day if you are a man or a woman – however, a lot of women also have clothing options such as strappy shirts and tops that still expose their shoulders and collarbones.
If this is not your style as a woman, then a collarbone tattoo is still a great tattoo choice for you as it will not be exposed to the sun on a daily basis – however, if this is your style, you may want to consider a tattoo elsewhere, as your tattoo will be exposed to the sun in some way every day, even just while driving.
Another reason why it is a less ideal option for women is because of their use of handbags. Depending on the size and length of your collarbone tattoo, the strap of your handbag may interfere with your tattoo and cause constant friction to it whenever you use your handbag.
Suppose you are a man and you are considering getting a collarbone tattoo. In that case, these issues are usually not applicable, as most shirts that men wear will completely cover their collarbone and mean also will generally not carry a bag around with them.
This means that it is more practical for a man to get a collarbone tattoo than it would be for a woman, purely from a fading of the tattoo point of view.
Calves and Shoulders
For similar reasons to getting a back tattoo, getting a shoulder tattoo will also be a great place to get a tattoo when it comes to wanting to avoid fading – since your shoulder forms part of your back, all the same reasons why getting a back tattoo is good for a fading tattoo applies to your shoulder too.
Your calf is another great place to get a tattoo when you are concerned about fading, as it ticks almost every box.
Your calf is almost always covered by clothing in your day to day living, and even when it is not covered, your calf is not a highly exposed area of skin when it comes to sun exposure, which means that even when the calf is not covered, you should not have an issue with getting burned in that area.
Your calf is also not an area that will usually deal with much friction in your day to day life, so that will also not be a concern.
Your calf skin, if taken care of well, generally is not something that ages badly, and it is also a relatively easy area to work with when it comes to your tattoo aftercare – because of these reasons, a calf tattoo will generally not fade quickly when taken care of well.
Where Do Tattoos Fade The Quickest And Why?
Now, there are areas of your body that, even with the proper care and diligence with your tattoo, are prone to fading.
These areas are usually highly exposed to one or more of the day to day elements that lead to a tattoo fading quickly, and therefore fade faster than other tattoos normally would.
Some of the areas that tattoos tend to fade quickly on are as follows:
It should be no surprise that your feet are one of the worst places you can be tattooed when it comes to your tattoos fading quickly.
Your feet are constantly in a state of friction, whether it is from walking around in shoes, and your shoes are rubbing against your foot’s skin, or whether you are walking around barefoot, and it is the ground and earth rubbing up against your skin, your feet are constantly being rubbed against by something, which is never good for a tattoo.
A foot tattoo will usually have faded significantly due to frequent friction even after just a few years, making this one of the worst places you can be tattooed when it comes to tattoos fading.
Fingers are another great example of how friction will cause a tattoo to fade extremely quickly. You use your fingers all day, every day, whether you are a guitarist or an admin clerk; everyone uses their fingers on a daily basis, which means that they are essentially exposed to friction all day, every day.
This is such a bad place to have a tattoo to the point where finger tattoos have been known to fade almost entirely in the past.
It is because of this drastic amount of fading that many tattoo artists will now actually refuse to do finger tattoos at all.
Not only are finger tattoos extremely prone to fading because of frequent friction, but they are unfortunately also always exposed to the sun. Your hands are exposed to the sun every day in some way or another, and because of this, any tattoos on your hands will be too.
Even just sitting in traffic for twenty minutes at a time to and from work every day, when your hands are on the steering wheel, they are being exposed to the sun.
Fingers are one of the most impractical places to maintain a tattoo, especially when it comes to tattoo fading.
Ribs And Sternum On A Woman
An area that will, unfortunately, cause any tattoo to fade fast on a woman is if she were to get tattooed on her upper ribs or sternum.
The reason for this is because of the constant friction of a bra being worn on these areas – that being said, if you choose not to wear a bra, then that is not an issue for you.
However, having this tight clothing item constantly rub up against a tattoo will cause a lot of frequent friction, which will cause a quickening in your tattoo’s fading.
When you are looking for the best area of your body to tattoo in an attempt to avoid your tattoo from fading, it is important to take into consideration the worst parts of your body to tattoo that do cause quick fading so that you can make sure to specifically avoid these areas.
When a tattoo fading is a big concern to you, it makes perfect sense that you would want to make sure to avoid any areas of skin that could quicken the fading process.
There are many areas on your body that are great places to tattoo when wanting to avoid your tattoo from fading, but placement is not the only thing to take into consideration with this.
Tattoo aftercare and taking care of your skin overall is just as important as placement because the way you take care of your skin makes a difference in how your tattoo will last.
So make sure you pick the right spot for your tattoo, but also be sure that you take good care of it after that.
Some of my favourite designs, tattoo books and aftercare products, selected for you
Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.
Deasign and tattoo ideas
For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my Clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):
- Great Book of Tattoo Designs, Revised Edition: More than 500 Body Art Designs (Fox Chapel Publishing) Fantasy, Celtic, Floral, Wildlife, and Symbol Designs for the Skin by Lora Irish,
- The Big Book of Small Tattoos – Vol.1: 400 small original tattoos for women and men by Roberto Gemori,
- Tiny Tattoos: Over 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks by Rebecca Vincent.
If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).
The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my Clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):
Looking for more info about tattoos? I might have them covered!
I have written almost 100 articles about tattooing – with details about each body part, problems that you might have with your tattoo, designs, styles, aftercare, and much more.
Have a look at the search option and see if you can find what you need here.
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The 7 best and 6 worst places on your body to get a tattoo, according to tattoo artist