Why Do Tattoo Artists Hate Finger Tattoos?

With so much free skin on a human body, the hands, feet, and fingers are the last places to put a tattoo. However, finger tattoos are extremely popular and have been for decades. So why do tattoo artists hate finger tattoos?

Tattoo artists hate finger tattoos because the skin is thin, difficult to tattoo, and doesn’t heal very well. Tattoos on the fingers tend to bleed ink and discolor because of water and sun exposure. Tattoo artists consider them to be career stoppers due to their visibility.

While they may hate doing finger tattoos, it doesn’t mean they won’t do it when requested, but it would be wise to take a seasoned tattoo artist’s word and opinion seriously. Let us look further at why tattoo artists hate finger tattoos.

Reasons Tattoo Artists Hate Finger Tattoos

It’s not fair to say every tattoo artist hates finger tattoos while many show off their hand and finger tattoos. It is more complex than not wanting to tattoo on a client’s fingers but more of a reputational and common-sense argument that should be the decider.

For example, suppose you want to become a lawyer, judge, police officer, or banker. In that case, the chances are that you would want to avoid having any visible tattoos on your body for professional reasons. Let’s look at some valid reasons tattoo artists hate finger tattoos –

Cosmetic And Medical

It is common knowledge that tattoos on the feet, hands, and fingers are not easy to do well. The ink is injected between the dermis and epidermis, so it is not absorbed but remains embedded between the two layers.

In other areas of the body like the arms, legs, and back, the skin is more supple and is thicker, allowing the ink to be deposited perfectly. The sin on the fingers is a lot thinner and less supple. If the ink goes too deep, it will look like a blotchy, blurry image in no time.

If the ink is injected too shallow, it will bleed out, or once it starts to scar, the ink will fall off with the scar as the skin starts to regenerate. They might look amazing when completed, but the true outcome will be visible as the tattoo heals and a few months have passed.

Finger tattoos are easily susceptible to infections and bad healing because we use our hands for almost everything. Many irate clients end up back at the tattoo shop lamenting how it healed or angry that it became infected.

The tattoo artist who lectured you before your session will probably want to say I told you so, but it won’t be necessary. A gracious tattoo artist will allow one free touch-up after it has healded, and after that, any touch-ups will be charged.


When you’re young and carefree, getting hand or finger tattoos seems like the perfect thing to do. Why not celebrate your individuality and uniqueness. That doesn’t work for everyone who plans on having a certain career.

Careers Where Finger Tattoos Are Acceptable

  • Own business
  • Musician
  • Tattoo Artist
  • Automotive Mechanic
  • Certain Military Personel
  • IT Professionals
  • Construction Workers
  • Certain Medical Practices

While that may seem unfair – and it probably is- there are good reasons for certain professions not allowing visible tattoos or markings. One is for appearance, and the other is for the safety of the professional.

Tattoos are permanent, and you should think about where and why you want them so that it doesn’t affect your future plans. Tattoo artists do consider these things, and it’s a very valid reason why they hate finger tattoos.

It is not the tattoo artist’s responsibility to give you career guidance counseling, but if they have advice, listen and take it. The consequences will be on you alone if your finger tattoos prevent you from becoming employed.

Culture And Society

Much like employment being a possible issue, the cultural aspects of getting finger tattoos are significant. Tattoos are more acceptable in most societies, but certain tattoos are still seen as symbolic of criminal activity or signal a dangerous individual.

Tattoos that draw negative attention are as follows –

  • Face tattoos
  • Neck tattoos
  • Hand tattoos
  • Finger tattoos
  • Palm tattoos

Unfortunately, having these tattoos makes people assume you are in a gang, do crime, deal drugs or live a wild, dangerous lifestyle. While it is sad to still get judged by outer appearance, it is deeply cultural. People believe you’re only good enough to make minimum wage which is not the case.

Many religions and cultures are so deeply entwined that they are inseparable. Many religions prohibit tattoos and see them as defiling the body.

Law Enforcement

The case of law enforcement may not seem like a huge deal, but unfortunately, it can be. Neck, face, hand, and finger tattoos are typically associated with criminals, gangs, drug dealers, and enforcers who use tattoos to communicate without saying anything.

Law enforcement’s anti-gang units will certainly give you the once over at any opportunity to make sure you do not belong to any known organizations. It can become exhausting, and let’s face it, nobody wants to be harassed by police for no reason.

Rentals Or Home Ownership

It may come as a surprise, but landlords may be a problem if you have finger tattoos. In a similar fashion to finding a job or being culturally appropriate, finding a home or apartment to rent with finger tattoos showing may prove difficult.

You may find a landlord will be more suspicious of you and less willing to help if you have a problem. Again, it is wrong to be judged because of your tattoos and an assumption, but it is the reality of having tattoos that cannot be hidden.

Four Reasons Finger Tattoos Are Difficult To Manage

Reason #1 – A Strict Aftercare Regime Is Impossible

While proper aftercare is crucial for any tattoo, finger tattoos present a more difficult situation. Unlike other body parts where the skin surface is larger and more stationary, the skin bends and constantly moves on the fingers.

Even with the best aftercare regime, you still have to use your hands often, and that will cause the scabs to crack open constantly.  

Reason #2 – Hands Have To Be Washed Constantly

Like the first reason, using your hands constantly means it comes in contact with germs and bacteria and has to be washed often. A tattoo scab that gets wet too often will become soft, and it can bubble and peel the ink out of the skin.

Apart from that, you stand the risk of infection if you don’t dry your hands thoroughly or apply the aftercare lotion over a damp scab.

Reason #3 – Hands Are Constantly Exposed To Sun and UV Light

Even with long sleeve clothing, the hands are always exposed. Having finger tattoos means that apart from the aftercare regime, once they are healed, you will need to apply sunscreen religiously to protect the finger tattoos from becoming blotchy and faded.

Reason #4 – Dry Tattoos Are Just As Bad As Over Moisturised Tattoos

Anyone with tattoos will tell you that a dry tattoo scab is a magnet for any clothing fiber and constantly gets snagged. Your hands and fingers are the first to enter the sleeves, and if the finger tattoos are too dry, you risk ripping the scabs off.

Alternatively, over-moisturizing your hands can cause the scabs to bubble and lift.


If finger tattoos appeal to you, do ample research and find a tattoo artist willing to consult with you beforehand. Tattoo artists have valid concerns about placing their work and reputation in the balance and at the mercy of a client’s finger tattoos that may not heal as desired.

Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you

working on tattoo at my studio
Working at the studio on one of my projects

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.

Design 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):

Tattoo meaning

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).

Tattoo aftercare

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):


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