What To Consider Before Getting A Finger Tattoo

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Finger tattoos are currently fiercely on-trend. TikTok user and tattoo artist Sydsmithtattoo posted a video revealing a fresh finger tattoo early this year that has now received an astounding 10.7 million views. These tattoos look super cute, especially when combined with a manicure and your favorite jewelry — but are they worth the investment? Do they have the staying power of other tattoos? Are they more painful than tattoos in other areas of the body?


When it comes to choosing a successful tattoo, the placement does matter. According to Tattooing 101, even a well-designed tattoo created flawlessly by a highly-skilled artist will end up looking awkward if the wrong placement is chosen. Your fingers are nearly impossible to hide, so it's important to understand what you're signing up for and which type of design to choose. Here is everything you'll want to consider before scheduling an appointment for a finger tattoo.

How Painful is a Finger Tattoo?

There is no escaping the fact that getting a tattoo is painful. However, the placement of your tattoo will largely determine how severe the pain level will become during the process. Bony areas with low levels of fat and muscle tissue are likely to produce the most pain, according to Wild Tattoo Art. Fingers don't only qualify as bony; they're also full of nerves (via the American Society for Surgery of the Hand). If you have a low tolerance for pain or this is your first tattoo, a finger tattoo might not be the best fit for you.


Consider a fingernail tattoo to accomplish a similar style, or start with a different tattoo altogether. Best Health reports that the shoulders, forearms, and calves are some of the least painful placements and are, therefore, excellent choices for a first tattoo. If you know that you struggle to tolerate pain but are committed to the idea of a finger tattoo, consider using numbing cream before your appointment. It won't stop the pain, but it can dull it and also help to ease your mind.

Design and Maintenance

A finger is an extremely small canvas covered in skin that doesn't have much tissue backing. This limits the type of tattoo designs that are appropriate for the area. Also, keep in mind that colors will fade quickly, and intricate designs are likely to blur over time, as detailed by Set Sail Tattoo Studio. Simple linework in black or another dark color will produce the best results.


Since hands are so heavily used and frequently washed, the skin cells on them are constantly healing and regenerating at a faster rate than most other areas of the body (via Ortho Bethesda). This is great news for hands in general but doesn't provide the best outlook for finger tattoos. Over time, as the skin cells on the finger shed and regenerate, the tattoo will fade. This is especially true for tattooing on the soft underside of the fingers.

According to Authority Tattoo, you should expect to have your finger tattoo touched up every year. This is in addition to one or more "top up" appointments within the first year to make sure the ink isn't blurring, migrating, or excessively fading. If you want a tattoo that remains in good condition, be honest with yourself about whether your schedule and budget allow for annual touch-up appointments. If they don't, that doesn't mean you shouldn't get a tattoo; it just means you should consider a different placement.