Some say hand tattoos are the ultimate expression of rebellion. Hands are supposed to be among one of the worst places to get a tattoo. It’s probably going to hurt like hell, but if you want the tattoo then it’s definitely worth the pain.

Hand tattoos are more common in certain circles than others. Some people choose to commemorate loved ones by placing the birth and death dates on their hands, as an ever-present reminder. Some cultures celebrate hand tattoos differently. In the Arabic culture, the use of the henna tattoo among the many sects of Arabic nations is a centuries old practice and an ancient beautification for women. In Prison culture, the gang signs.  The indigenous peoples of New Zealand, Australia and Polynesia often use facial tattooing and hand tattoos to signify station, class and which family or tribe they belong to.

Hand Tattoos
Pete Terranova

How Painful are hand tattoos?

We all feel pain differently. Go ahead and pinch yourself on the arm, and then pinch yourself on your hand. See the difference? Though pain is relative, trust that your hand tattoo will hurt. It’ll also depends how long you can endure being tattooed. Some of us can be under the needle for no more than a few hours. If you are hungry or thirsty then chances are you feel the pain more, so eat and drink plenty before your next ink.  

Did you also know that artists have the right to refuse service, if they don’t feel comfortable placing a tattoo on you in an specific spot? Let’s say your hand tattoo will be a life changing event – not every artist will be comfortable with that. Some shops even have rules such as you can only get a hand tattoo if you have a sleeve, because they are traditionally treated as a right of passage or earned. The artist will either be honest with you about placement, or they will just take your money.

Hand Tattoos - Butterfly
Frances Lornes

Before You Commit

There some things to remember before you commit to getting your hand tattooed. It’s permanent and it’s not in a place where it can be easily covered up. Hands are also more likely to become infected because they are the most used body part in everyday activities. You should also prepare to have a few days to yourself so you can keep the new work in a safe environment during initial healing process. So before embarking on this – or any tattoo, consider a couple of things. Make sure to do your research on inking and skin infections so you can avoid any potential problems. Research controlling the pain, maybe you could use a numbing cream, but personally I use meditation and yogic breaths. But above all, ask your artist every question you have before you begin the tattooing process.

Eye Hand Tattoos
Martin Sjoberg

If you’re ready to handle the reactions of the public as a result of your decision to getting a hand tattoo. The possibility that your new ink could get in the way of a job opportunity. You’re all good on properly caring for it during its healing time, and you’re ok with your tattoo not looking pristine for the rest of your life, then we say go for it. It’s a bold statement and we love them.

Here are some ideas.

Hand Tattoo
Benjamin Laukis
Owl Hand Tattoo
Aleksander Sigal Romastev
Hand Tattoo smiling cat
Kätlin Malm
Hand Tattoo mandala
Jonathan J Toogood
Yoda Hand Tattoo
Jordan Croke
Lion Hand Tattoo
Matt Stopps
Hand Tattoo Dali
Mick Squires
Hand Tattoo nature
Noel’le Longhaul
Hand Tattoo face
Pietro Sedda
Hand Tattoo skulls
Stepan Negur
Back of the hand tattoo rose
Tyler Malek




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