Can you get a tattoo on the palm of your hand
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Can you get a tattoo on the palm of your hand? Everything You Need To Know.

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Getting a tattoo on the palm of your hand is not for everyone. It can be painful and it fades easily. However, if you are looking for an eye-catching and bold tattoo, then this may be the perfect option for you! So, can you get a tattoo on the palm of your hand?

You can get a tattoo on the palm of your hand. However there are some things to bear in mind. Whilst it can look amazing at first, a palm tattoo may fade and lose its detail. You will need retouches and possibly regular maintenance too. A palm tattoo may lock you out of certain types of employment. 

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about palm tattoos. We will cover the pros and cons, as well as some of the best designs for this location. So read on to learn more!

Things to consider when getting a tattoo on the palm of your hand

When it comes to palm tattoos, there are a few things you need to take into consideration before getting inked. If you think these through the chances are that you can get a palm tattoo that works well and stays looking good.

1 – Think about what you do for a job.

I know this sounds like a strange consideration but hear me out. Your job has a big impact on how successful your palm tattoo will be.

If you do a manual job where you are using your hands a lot, chances are that you will have tougher more callused skin. This kind of tougher skin doesn’t take the ink as well as softer skin. Also, if you are using your hands to graft day in and day out, your palm tattoo is quite likely to fade away and become patchy.

{You may be able to soften your hands up ready for the tattoo by using heavy duty moisturiser for a few weeks prior to your appointment.}

It may also be hard for you to find the time out from working with your hands to heal your tattoo successfully. Getting a good heal is crucial for the success of a palm tattoo and this can’t happen if you are back to manual labor quickly after the tattoo session.

You need to be able to guarantee a good couple of weeks where you can treat your hands gently to get a successful heal.

If you do more of a desk/office job and have softer hand skin you stand a better chance of your palm tattoo working well.

However, palm tattoos throw up their own issues with facing discrimination at work which is something to bear in mind too.

2 – Keep your tattoo design simple

This is a general tattoo rule but it’s even more important when getting a palm tattoo.

A complex detailed design will not work on this area and is likely to just fade away into an unrecognizable smudge.

Palm skin just can’t hold small details, fine lines, or soft or photo-realistic shading.

Your tattooist should be able to advise you on what designs will or won’t work for your palm tattoo. If they are unsure, it’s probably best to look for another artist who has more experience with tattooing palms.

Bold lines and simple shapes are usually the best bet for a palm tattoo.

3 – Avoid color in your palm tattoo

The thing with color on the palm is that it fades or goes patchy. It just doesn’t hold in the skin.

You are much better off sticking to black. If you are really set on color then go for a bold and strong one such as red rather than something like yellow or pastel color palettes. These will disappear immediately.

A little red added into a design can look good. However, try and make sure that the design still holds up well even if the color disappears.

Basically, blackwork palm tattoos work best.

4 – Dotwork is your friend

Most shading styles won’t hold on the hand. Gray tone or wash-like shading will just immediately disappear. However, dotwork is the exception.

Dotwork is a tattooing technique that involves making tiny dots to create shading and texture. It carries more pigment per dot than other techniques. Dot shading can give your tattoo more depth and make it look less flat.

If you are set on having a palm tattoo with shading then ask your artist about using dotwork to create it.

Dot work shading can also be less painful than other tattoo techniques too which really helps if you are getting a palm tattoo. I wrote an article here about this which you might want to check out.

Are Dotwork Tattoos Less Painful?

5 – The old saying “Bold Will Hold” Is true for palm tattoos

There’s an old saying in tattooing – “Bold Will Hold” meaning that bolder tattoos will hold up and stay looking good for much longer. In contrast, whip technique shading and pale and delicate designs, such as watercolor tattoos tend to age badly and don’t stand the test of time.

This rule is definitely true for palm tattoos. The bolder and simpler the design, the more likely it is to stay looking good on your hand. A delicate and intricate design just won’t work on this tricky area of skin.

Palm skin doesn’t hold ink well so go for big and bold designs with a heavy black outline and solid black shapesif you want your tattoo to last.

6 – Be prepared for retouches

You need to know that it’s very unlikely that your palm tattoo will just heal one and done like a tattoo on an area of more normal skin. These tattoos heal differently from person to person. However, in general they don’t hold well in this tricky layer of skin.

You may need to have it redone possibly two to three times to build up the ink into the skin.

It’s probable that your tattooist will charge for this so bear this in mind when budgeting.

Faded palm Tattoo needs retouching
This palm tattoo has faded and needed to be retouched. It may need further maintenance to keep it looking good. { Credit Ferank Manseed }

7 – Be prepared for ongoing maintenance

Palm tattoos will usually require more maintenance than other tattoos. Whereas most tattoos will last a lifetime, palm tattoos often need to be touched up to keep them looking good. At the beginning this may be more often.

So if you are thinking of getting a palm tattoo make sure that you are prepared for this ongoing commitment. Can you afford it? Can you take the time off work for regular appointments and to heal the tattoo?

Think carefully before you commit to a palm tattoo.

8 – Know that palm tattoos can blur or bleed under the skin

Palm tattoos are never going to look as crisp as a tattoo on somewhere like the top of the arm or back. The skin on the palm of your hand is different to normal skin. It’s thicker and tougher but it also blurs or bleeds tattoo ink more under the skin. The same is true for finger tattoos and designs on the back of the hand.

Skin anywhere on the hand is vulnerable to blurring.

This means that you need to be extra careful when choosing a tattooist for your palm tattoo. Make sure they are experienced in tattooing palms and that they know how to work with the skin to achieve the best results.

Check out their previous work to get an idea of their style and whether it will suit a palm tattoo.

9 – Palm Tattoos can fade away quickly

The skin on your palms is constantly in use and is quickly regenerating. Every time you use your hands you are effectively losing layers of dead skin and rubbing the tattoo and fading it away.

This means that palm tattoos often don’t last as long as other tattoos. You may find that your tattoo starts to fade within a month or two as it heals out.

It’s important to know this before you get a palm tattoo. Can you deal with it? Are you prepared to have it redone regularly?

Palm tattoos can be amazing but they are not for everyone. Make sure you do your research and know what you are getting into before you commit.

10 – Prepare for the pain

You need to know that the palms of your hands are one of the most painful places to get tattooed. Palm tattoos are one of the most painful tattoos you can get.

Thats because our hands and fingers are absolutely stuffed full of nerve endings so that we can pick up and manipulate things easily. Whilst this is good for everyday use of our hands its not a win when it comes to getting tattooed. A tattoo needle jabbing into those nerves is full on. Be prepared to grit your teeth.

You can find more information on this post about tattoo pain here which has a useful tattoo pain chart. Tattoo Pain Chart Female. A tattoo pain map for women

And you may want to read this page about the use of numbing cream. Can I use numbing cream before a tattoo?

11 – Understand the impact a palm tattoo will have on your life

A palm tattoo is not just a piece of ink on your skin. It’s a visible tattoo in a place that is always on show. You can’t hide it unless you want to wear gloves all the time.

You need to think carefully about how this will affect your life. Getting your hands tattooed can affect how people perceive you. Can you still do your job with a palm tattoo? What will your family and friends think?

Are you prepared for the stares and comments you will get? Can you handle the judgment that some people will throw at you? Something to think about before you go ahead.

Are palm tattoos still “job stoppers”?

A job stopper is a great phrase for a tattoo that could stop you from getting a job. It’s usually referring to highly visible tattoos such as those on the face, and hands as well as finger tattoos and neck tattoos.

But in this day and age, is a palm tattoo still a “job stopper” now that there is more acceptance towards tattoo culture? Does it really matter? Will it be a problem?

The answer is, unfortunately, it still might be a problem. In some professions, a palm tattoo is still seen as taboo. It may not be an issue in your line of work now but if you want to change careers then it could come into play.

There are some careers such as teaching, the army or the police force where it could be a big issue.

So if you are thinking of getting a palm tattoo just be aware that it could limit your career options in the future. However, if you are settled in your life with what you do and know that these kinds of careers are not for you then it’s not a problem.

Weigh up the pros and cons before you make your decision.

How to keep your palm tattoo looking good

Once you have your palm tattoo there are a few things you can do to keep it looking good and help it last.

Focus on aftercare

The key to palm tattoos that last is good aftercare. Follow your artist’s instructions to the letter!. We’ll go over this a bit more in the next section.

Use sunscreen

Sunlight is one of the worst things for tattoos and helps them to fade. The palm gets less sun than the tops of the hand but it still gets sun if you are out in it all day. Put sunscreen or a sunscreen moisturizer on before heading out for the day, especially if you live in a hot country.

Get Retouches

Unfortunately, retouches and maintenance are just part of the territory when it comes to palm tattoos. A regular top-up will keep your tattoo looking fresh and should be needed less and less over time as the ink builds up in the skin.

Use hand moisturizer

Keeping your hands moisturized will help to keep the tattoo looking good. The skin on your palms is constantly in use and can dry out quickly. A good hand cream will help to keep it hydrated and looking healthy. Apply it several times a day, especially after washing your hands. If you have callused skin you may want to get a heavy duty moisturiser for working hands.

Will palm tattoos fade?

Palm tattoos are highly likely to fade and go patchy. This is because this skin is different from the rest of your body and regenerates at a much quicker rate. This can mean the ink gets pushed out. Whether your skin is soft or tough from work can make a big difference to how well the tattoo lasts.

It’s an important thing to understand, that if a palm tattoo fades, it will not fade away to nothing and disappear. It’s tempting to think “ah well if it fades off that’s fine. I’ll just go back to having a normal palm”. However, that’s unlikely to happen.

Palm tattoos generally fade patchily as different areas of ink have been implanted at slightly different depths. You will find areas where the ink remains and areas where it’s completely gone.

Therefore you will get this patchy effect that doesn’t look good at all. Your only remedy at that point is either laser or getting a touch-up.

That’s why it’s so important you understand the commitment if you are getting a palm tattoo.

Can you get a tattoo on the palm of your hand
This palm tattoo has faded patchily

How do you heal palm tattoos?

The best way to heal your palm tattoo is to follow your artist’s instructions to the letter. If they have done these tattoos before they will have perfected their healing regime so do what they say. Their healing process will probably be different from other tattoos on normal skin so listen carefully.

Some artists suggest wearing unpowdered gloves with healing lotion which you change four times a day to protect the tattoo while it heals. This will keep the tattoo clean and protect it from damage is the crucial first few days healing window. As you are constantly using your hands its easy to pick up skin infections if you aren’t careful.

You need to be prepared for a healing period where you really don’t use your hands much. You need to avoid things which will get your hands wet, such a the washing up or washing things at work. Also, be careful not to catch the tattoo by doing things such as putting your hands in your pockets.

Just stick to what your own tattooist tells you to do for the best results.

Frequently asked questions about… Can you get a tattoo on the palm of your hand?

how long does a palm tattoo last?

A palm tattoo will often fade after a couple of months. It may need touch-ups and maintenance at this point. Two or Three top-ups may solidify it. At this point it will be permanent like any tattoo. It’s important to know that it will not fade to nothing. You will have patchy ink left in your palm.

Where can I get a palm tattoo?

You can get a palm tattoo at any tattoo studio that is willing to do them. however, not all artists are comfortable doing them as they are very different from normal body art. You should find an experienced tattoo artist who has experience with palm tattoos and can show you examples in their portfolio of how they turned out.

Conclusion – Can you get a tattoo on the palm of your hand?

So can you get a tattoo on the palm of your hand? The answer is yes, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. Palm tattoos are different from other types of tattoos and more likely to fade and need regular maintenance. But if you’re up for the challenge you can end up with an amazing tattoo. Just be sure to use an experienced artist, focus on aftercare and use sunscreen and moisturizer to help keep your tattoo looking its best.

The information on the site is for entertainment only. Anything you do is at your own risk. Consult with your own Tattooist, Piercer or Doctor for advice.
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