Ten or twenty years ago, someone showing off a hand tattoo would cause a ripple of sideways glances and negative vibes—not surprising when you consider that it was a time when hand tattoos, along with scalp and face tattoos, marked someone who had spent time in prison or was a proud member of a gang.

While that negative stigma has softened somewhat over the years, hand tattoos are still a big commitment.

Think before you ink.

Here are some questions you’ll want to give some thought to before making an appointment and posting your deposit.

Will A Hand Tattoo Affect My Job or Career Path?

Hand tattoos can’t realistically be covered up. 

They’re out there for everyone to see all the time which can present problems in business settings.

Although the prison and gang connotations associated with hand tattoos aren’t as definite as before, some industries remain wary. Banking, finance, and sales are some customer-facing career paths that aren’t likely to be tolerant of highly visible tattoos that potentially compromise trust with current or prospective clients.

Does My Design Mean What I Think It Means?

Have you seen some really great hand tattoo designs online? There are a lot of them.

When you find something you like, you need to pause there and do some research.

Avoiding prison and gang connotations is one important reason for caution, but since you can’t cover a hand tattoo, don’t be careless. 

Be certain that any symbols or words from other languages mean exactly what you think they do. 

Nothing would be more disappointing than finding out your new tattoo represents an idea that’s unacceptable to you or one that makes you look and feel stupid.

Ariana Grande recently dropped the ball very publicly, tattooing the Japanese characters for 7 and ring to represent a recent hit song, “7 Rings.” That would seem hard to get wrong, but 七輪 actually carries an entirely different meaning—the name of a small barbeque grill—that isn’t what you’d consider amazing.

hand tattoo

Please do your research. Again, you can’t just cover this kind of misstep. Your hands are constantly on display.

Getting a tattoo should be a positive experience, and research is a crucial step in making sure that the time and money you invest in your body art will make you happy down the road.

Will a Hand Tattoo Stand Up to My Lifestyle?

I mentioned this idea in my recent post on wrist tattoos, but it’s worth repeating; our hands and wrists take a beating every single day. 

While I’ve been typing this blog post, I keep noticing my wrists, the sides of my hands, and palms constantly touching things: the area around my keyboard, contacting my mouse, being heated by my coffee cup, and being run through my hair.

We open bottles, we might lift weights, we may use cleaning chemicals in the kitchen and bathroom, we wash our hands several times a day, and we shower. 

Just going about our normal day means potential wear and tear on a hand tattoo.

The damage to your hand tattoo can vary depending on what type and location you’re planning on:

  • Full hand (resembling a glove)
  • Back of the hand
  • Palm tattoo
  • Finger tattoo
  • Side of the hand

The location and coverage area also affects how much pain you’ll experience while sitting in the artist’s chair and how difficult the aftercare will be.

All in all, your hand tattoo is far more likely to spread than other areas, you’re more likely to experience cuts and scarring that may damage the artwork, your hands are almost constantly exposed to the sun, and so on. 

Small and simple designs will be less affected by blurring.

Does Your Artist Do Hand Tattoos?

Because of the constant wear and tear that hand tattoos suffer, they can start to look ragged quickly compared to ink on other areas of your body. They lose their original quality, and, even though they were great pieces of body art with sharp lines when inked, they fade and blur.

They appear to be poor-quality work, which means many artists aren’t willing to do hand tattoos. Their artistic reputation could be negatively affected by work that seems to be low quality.

Is This Your First Tattoo?

If this article has caught your attention, you’re probably getting your first or second tattoo.


You’re about to launch out on an awesome journey, and your body art will be with you for years to come.

Be sure you’ve covered all the bases so you can be the best canvas for your new ink with our list of dos and don’ts for your first session. 

Read the List Here