How To Make Finger Tattoos Last Longer?

Discover the best ways to prolong the lifespan of your tiny and vibrant finger tattoos.

Written by , MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) Joyce Joyson MA (Mass Communication & Journalism)
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Madhumati Chowdhury MA (English Literature) Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Aparna Harry MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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Finger tattoos exude delicacy and can serve as a contemporary alternative to traditional rings. The minimalist nature of these quietly visible tattoos allow you to express your personal style subtly yet impactfully. However, this same nature leads to an obvious follow-up: how long do finger tattoos last? Due to the constant use of our hands for our everyday life activities such as washing, cleaning, writing and more, the friction these tattoos face put them at a higher risk of fading, and they require more frequent touch-ups compared to artwork on other parts of the body. Despite this potential challenge, if you still find the allure of finger tattoos irresistible, this article is for you. Read on to figure out why they fade, how long they usually last, and ways to make your finger tattoos last longer.

How Long Do Finger Tattoos Last?

Image: IStock

In general, finger tattoos may last for 6-8 months. Anecdotal evidence suggests that with the right aftercare practices, you may even maintain their vibrancy for about 12-18 months. However, once they hit this mark, the tattoos may start looking faded and blurred.

That said, there is no definite answer to the question of how long they last, as the deterioration of finger tattoo designs depend on various factors. For instance, the longevity of finger tattoos may depend on their placement. If placed on the sides or undersides of fingers, they may fade faster, as these areas are more prone to friction from contact with the skin. Additionally, if the ink used is not high quality So, if you are wondering how long inner finger tattoos last, you have your answer, and they may not last long without touch ups.

Cerise, a blogger, shared about all her tattoos, including a finger tattoo that she got with her friend. She states in one of her blog posts, “I ended up getting a finger tattoo 2 years ago, it used to be hot pink and look like my inner elbow star tattoo but It faded dramatically.” Cerise further mentioned that she is no longer friends with the person, but she has no regrets about the tattoo, adding, “I think it symbolizes my strength to overcome anything life will throw at me, even those who try to destroy me. Even the fading symbolizes something, that even stains on my skin, like those on my heart can eventually fade and I can forgive and move on (i).”

protip_icon Did you know?
The historical origin of finger tattoos dates back to ancient civilizations, where Egyptian women commonly adorned their fingers with dainty, black dots and shapes.

The time taken for finger tattoos to fade not only depends on placement, but the time also varies from person to person. But why do these body art designs fade so quickly, especially compared to other tattoo placements? Find this out below.

Why Do Finger Tattoos Fade?

Woman with a faded heart tattoo on her middle finger, holding a cup
Image: IStock

Fingers have less flesh and more bone, which may make tattooing them painful, as compared to other body parts. This especially holds true for people with a lower pain tolerance. However, fading is also a factor that may make you want to reconsider getting this piece of ink. Read below for reasons why fading comes about:

1. Exposure To Abrasives

The skin on our hands and fingers are constantly exposed to soaps and detergents on a daily basis. The chemicals present in these cleaning agents may strip away the natural oils and lipids from your skin, causing it to dull over time (1). This may potentially affect the longevity and vibrancy of your tattoos, as well.

2. Constant Movement And Friction

Due to daily activities like washing, writing, cooking, and typing, our fingers are constantly in motion and rubbing against each other or outside surfaces. This constant movement combined with thin finger skin can cause the tattoo to wear away faster.

3. Constant Sun Exposure

Image: Shutterstock

Sun exposure may break down the pigments in the tattoo, leading to fading over time (2). Since our fingers and hands are more exposed to sunlight, and without much protection, tattoos inked on them may fade quickly.

4. High Rate Of Skin Regeneration

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the skin cells on the top layers of the finger skin regenerate at a faster rate than the other parts of the body. This rapid cellular activity may cause the ink to fade from the skin more quickly. However, since tattoo ink is injected into the dermis, which is the middle layer of skin, this may just be a misconception (3).

5. Accidents Or Injuries

Since our hands are constantly in use, they also run the risk of being injured while performing the many activities we use them for throughout the day, especially during cooking and cleaning. Also, if we accidentally trip over something, our first thought is to use our hands to stop ourselves from losing balance. While you may escape unscathed, the other side is that you may injure yourself in a freak accident. If this happens to the tattooed area, it may distort the ink or cause scarring that may affect the visibility of the tattoo and lead to its eventual fading.

protip_icon Did you know?
Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Hailey Baldwin, and Zoe Kravitz are some celebrities who sport finger tattoos.

While tattoos are generally considered permanent, finger tattoos are challenging to maintain because the skin on the fingers is constantly moving and exposed to frequent abrasive actions. However, there are some tips you can follow to help make these tattoos last longer. Check them out in the next section.

How To Make Finger Tattoos Last Longer?

Here are some aftercare tips that may help your finger tattoos from fading too quickly:

1. Choose A Skilled Artist

A tattoo artist working on a heavily tattooed hand
Image: Shutterstock

Ensure you opt for a reputable and skilled tattoo artist. An experienced artist can help you plan your finger tattoo placements strategically and provide proper guidance for prolonged longevity of the design. Also, professional artists use high-quality tattoo ink that is crucial for longevity.

2. Consider The Design, Color, And Placement Of The Tattoo

Fingers move constantly and provide minimal surface area, which is not ideal for upholding intricate designs. Consider simpler designs with bold lines, like wedding band tattoos. Further, consider getting the band only on the upper part of the finger and not on the soft inner side towards the palm, as the area may not hold the pigment well.

Along with this, choose darker ink colors, like black and brown, that tend to hold up better over time compared to lighter colors, like white and pale blue. It is also recommended to avoid areas that are constantly rubbing against other fingers, like the inner side of fingers. Instead, opt for placements like the top of your fingers or in between the knuckles; these are more likely to look nicer for longer.

3. Pay Attention To Healing

It is important to let a tattoo heal well to ensure that it stays vibrant for longer. But how long do finger tattoos take to heal? Generally, this may take around 4-8 weeks. However, the healing time may be extended due to the high likelihood of finger movements and their unavoidable contact with each other. For this, you may try derm bandages on the recommendation of your tattoo artist. These are designed to help shield your new ink from germs, dirt, and abrasion while allowing it to breathe for natural healing. Along with this, you should also stick to the aftercare advice provided by your tattoo artist. Here are some general finger tattoo aftercare tips you may follow:

  • A few hours after getting your tattoo, wash it with a fragrance-free, mild soap and lukewarm water. Gently pat the tattooed area dry with a clean, soft towel and apply a thin layer of the antibacterial ointment recommended by your tattoo artist.
  • After a few days of using the ointment, you may switch to a fragrance-free moisturizer.
  • While your tattoo is healing, avoid prolonged exposure to water, including swimming and soaking in baths.
  • Sun exposure can affect the tattoo pigments and cause them to fade faster (2). Once the initial healing period has passed, use an SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your finger tattoo from harmful UV rays. Also, ensure to reapply it every 3-4 hours, especially when spending extended periods in the sun.
  • If you notice signs of infection like increased redness, swelling, pus, or unusual pain, contact your tattoo artist or a healthcare professional immediately.

4. Be Mindful Of Your Daily Activities

Image: Shutterstock

Certain activities, such as heavy manual labor or washing your hands with abrasive soaps, may lead to blurred finger tattoos. Read below for what you can do in such a case:

  • During the healing phase, avoid household chores, gardening, or any activity that may expose your fingers to harsh chemicals, hot water, or rough surfaces.
  • Even after your tattoo is healed, wear gloves when doing these activities to keep your tattoo vibrant for longer.
  • Be mindful of wearing tight rings or other jewelry that may rub against the tattoo, as friction from these may also contribute to fading.

If you are considering a new body ink for your fingers and are wondering how long finger tattoos last, it is apparent that they are not very long-lasting. The longevity of these tattoos varies from person to person and their aftercare practices. However, fading is inevitable due to the high level of friction and constant movement faced by fingers. While you cannot stop it, following proper aftercare instructions provided by the tattoo artist may minimize the fading, or at least stall it for longer. These include simple steps like cleaning your tattoo with a mild soap, moisturizing it regularly, and using SPF. It is also a good idea to wear gloves before doing household chores, even after the tattoo is fully healed. Additionally, the choice of ink and the skill of the tattoo artist may also play significant roles in determining the longevity of finger tattoos. Therefore, it is recommended to get your tattoo done by an experienced artist who uses high-quality ink to take precautions against fading from the get go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get touch-ups for finger tattoos?

Yes, you may get touch-ups for your finger tattoos. In fact, the only way for these tattoos to look good over time is to stay consistent with the touch-ups. You may do so every six to eight months for optimal vibrancy.

How often should I moisturize my finger tattoo?

During the healing process of your finger tattoo, it is recommended you moisturize it at least 2-3 times a day for proper healing. Once the tattoo is healed, it is still recommended to moisturize the tattooed finger skin at least two times a day. Additionally, you should also use a moisturizer every time you wash your hands.

Can I get a white ink tattoo on my finger?

Yes, you may get a white ink tattoo on your fingers. However, there are some important considerations; for instance, white ink tattoos may be less visible on lighter skin tones, and may fade even faster than black line finger tattoos over time. We recommend consulting a professional tattoo artist before proceeding with a white ink finger tattoo.

Key Takeaways

  • Finger tattoos may last for 6-12 months, as fingers are more prone to friction from contact with the surrounding skin and the greater environment.
  • Some other reasons that may lead to the deterioration of these tattoos include excess contact with water due to daily life chores, like washing and gardening, and prolonged sun exposure.
  • You may avoid fading due to these factors by using gloves before performing your household chores, applying sunscreen, and ensuring your tattoo heals well.
  • It is also important to consider the placement of the tattoo. Consider simple designs with bold lines on the top of your fingers for minimal fading.


If you are considering getting your fingers tattooed, watch this video for information on everything you should know about it, ranging from the pain that comes with finger tattooing to their risk of fading. Check it out!

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Skin cleansing without or with compromise: Soaps and syndets
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8954092/
  2. Aftercare instructions in the tattoo community: an opportunity to educate on sun protection and increase skin cancer awareness
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7442309/
  3. Types of colourants used in tattoo and permanent make‐up techniques, legal regulations, health, and psychological aspects of tattooing
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10485912/
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