The Finger Tattoo Aftercare Guide: A Simple Healing Solution (2024)

From celebrities to chronic ink enthusiasts, finger tattoos are a subtle & stylish way to express yourself.

Maybe you want to get a matching tattoo with your friends, wedding bands with your partner, or are just looking to add some fresh ink to your hand. Whatever your reasoning, you should know how to properly care for your finger tattoo so that you can keep it looking healthy & fresh.

Proper aftercare for your finger tattoo

As with any tattoo, there are a few things that you must do to properly care for it. Your new ink looks great, but your tattoo is a fresh wound and must be treated with care.

To protect your skin, be sure to care for the wound, avoid common sources of bacteria (swimming, sunlight, dirty jewelry, etc.), and monitor for any signs of an infection.

Before we get into how to care for and preserve a finger tattoo, let’s cover some basics.

How to clean a finger tattoo

Because your hands are involved in almost everything you do, finger tattoos are sometimes tricky to keep clean. But don’t worry, we’re going to break down everything you need to know to keep your ink fresh & clean.

Let’s get right into the most obvious question…

Can I wash my hands after a finger tattoo?

Yes, you absolutely need to wash your hands after a finger tattoo. One of the most important parts of aftercare is keeping the area clean to prevent infections, so washing your hands frequently is a must.

Wash your hands with hot, soapy water for at least 20-30 seconds 3x per day and after eating, working, and physical exercise.

There are plenty of options when shopping for the right soap, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. To make it easy, choose a fragrance-free, liquid, pump soap to prevent damage and avoid irritations & infections.

Our top picks are Dr. Bronner Liquid Baby Soap ($8) and Dial Liquid Hand Soap ($2), both available on Amazon and most major retail stores.

Note: Though many soap bars are fragrance-free, they tend to sit in water and collect bacteria when not in use, opening you to possible infections.

How to dry your hands

After thoroughly washing your hands, gently dry them with a disposable paper towel or antimicrobial cloth.

Though you may typically use a hand towel, these towels – especially if shared with others – can harbor bacteria, exposing you to a potential skin infection.

How to moisturize a finger tattoo

What to apply

Similar to the soap, you should use a scent-free or fragrance-free, white cream lotion or moisturizer.

Or if you’re looking for an all-in-one aftercare solution for your finger tattoo, check outInk Balm. Apply it directly to your finger 1-2x daily instead of lotion to protect and preserve your finger tattoo forever.

It relieves pain & itchiness, prevents infections, moisturizes, and keeps your ink looking vibrant.

Why moisturizing is important

Moisturizing is an important part of the healing process. It helps your skin regenerate more quickly, reduce irritation, and create the overall best environment for your skin cells to heal the damaged skin.

Though you may have heard that it’s best to let wounds “dry out,” that could not be more wrong when it comes to tattoos.

Dry skin reduces cellular activity and delays the healing process. And, dry skin is more susceptible to bacterial infections, which will ruin your tattoo.

When to moisturize

Apply your daily tattoo moisturizer as soon as the area begins to dry out, usually within 24 hours of your session.

If you’re using lotion to moisturize, apply 3-5 per day for at least the first two weeks, then regularly as a part of your daily skincare regimen.

With Ink Balm, apply just 1-2x daily for optimal moisture, skin health, and ink vibrance.

With daily cleaning and moisturizing, your new finger tattoo will be just fine. But if you want your ink to stay fresh forever, you’ll need to step up your aftercare regimen.

Don’t itch

This is easier said than done. With other tattoos, you can make a conscious decision not to itch the area. With finger tattoos, it’s a bit more difficult because you can relieve an itch just by rubbing your fingers together.

But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Itching will only cause inflammation, infection, and fading.

If you’re constantly fighting the urge to itch the tattoo, apply moisturizer to the dry skin to get rid of the sensation.

Don’t go swimming

Pools, lakes, and oceans are a must-avoid for the first few weeks after your tattoo. Even with chlorine, these bodies of water are not sterile and will likely cause infection, ruining your ink.

Aside from infection, chlorine and other pool chemicals can negatively affect the color, vibrance, and overall cosmetic appearance of your new tattoo.

If you want to spend a day at the pool or the beach, keep your hand out of the water and wear a waterproof bandage just in case.

If you accidentally get your finger wet, wash your hands with hot, soapy water immediately afterwards to prevent infection.

Stay out of the sun

You might think your fingers are safe from the sun, but unfortunately they’re not.

Even a few minutes of UV exposure can fade, crack, and/or blister your tattoo, so be sure to cover your tattoo with plenty of sunscreen.

Though it’s best to completely avoid the sun for 3-4 weeks after your session, that’s not always possible (or fun).

To safely enjoy the sun and protect your ink, use a broad-spectrum, fragrance-free sunscreen that is at least 30-50 SPF. If you can find one made from organic ingredients, that’s even better. Oftentimes, sunscreens are made from artificial ingredients that can irritate your healing skin.

How long does a finger tattoo take to heal?

Because the skin on your fingers is different from the skin on your arm, leg, or back, finger tattoos tend to heal at a faster rate – usually no more than six weeks.

The stages of healing

Finger tattoos heal in stages. Here's what to expect

  • First 24-72 hours - These will be the most uncomfortable stage while your skin begins to recover from the trauma. Oozing & redness is common so continue cleaning the area.
  • 3-7 days after - As long as you follow the aftercare routine we laid out, your skin will start healing during this stage.Redness & sensitivity will remain.
  • 7+ days - Your skin is almost done healing and peeling is a healthy part of that process. With less skin than other parts of the body though, your fingers won't peel much. You can reduce the amount of peeling by moisturizing the area 2x per day as recommended.
  • 2+ weeks - The area will become less sensitive every day and should be fully healed within 4-6 weeks so long as you avoid infections, sunlight, and pool water. Continue moisturizing to promote faster healing.

To make the most out of your finger tattoo, make sure to follow a consistent cleaning, moisturizing, and general aftercare regimen. Remember to wash your hands with hot, soapy water, moisturize 1-2x per day, and avoid any potential activities that may cause infection.

Frequently asked questions

Do finger tattoos fade fast?

Finger tattoos are known to fade significantly faster than other areas of your skin. This is because, as we mentioned earlier, your hands & fingers are involved in almost every aspect of daily life, meaning there’s a bit more wear & tear involved.

Your hands are constantly exposed to different textures, temperatures, and movement, all of which can reduce the lifespan of your finger tattoo.

Finger tattoos only last about 6-8 months before they begin to fade. But with proper aftercare and Ink Balm, you can extend the lifespan by years.

How long should I keep my finger tattoo covered?

Leave your finger tattoo covered for the first2-3 hours after your session. Once you remove the wrap or bandage, clean the area with warm, soapy water and gently dry them with a clean cloth.

Should you moisturize finger tattoos?

Yes, you absolutely should moisturize finger tattoos. Your fingers & hands tend to be drier than other parts of your body so it's even more important that you keep your skin hydrated to promote healing.

The Finger Tattoo Aftercare Guide: A Simple Healing Solution (2024)


The Finger Tattoo Aftercare Guide: A Simple Healing Solution? ›

If you're using lotion to moisturize, apply 3-5 per day for at least the first two weeks, then regularly as a part of your daily skincare regimen. With Ink Balm, apply just 1-2x daily for optimal moisture, skin health, and ink vibrance. With daily cleaning and moisturizing, your new finger tattoo will be just fine.

What not to do after a finger tattoo? ›

Whatever you do, don't pick or scratch

And it's a good idea to keep fresh hand tattoos covered (this also provides the added benefit of shielding that new tattoo from daily wear and tear). “The skin should be kept covered and moist while healing,” Dr. Palm says.

How to properly take care of a finger tattoo? ›

How to Care for Your Finger Tattoo
  1. Keep the Tattoo covered for at least eight hours.
  2. Wash with hot, soapy water.
  3. Leave the tattoo alone for a day.
  4. On day two, start using a fragrance-free moisturizer.
  5. No soaking it or exposing to direct sun for two weeks.
  6. Don't pick at it when it peels!
Nov 16, 2022

Are finger tattoos easy to heal? ›

Finger tattoos generally take 4-8 weeks to heal fully. Avoid picking at scabs or peeling skin during this time, as this can cause scarring and damage to the tattoo.

How long should I keep my finger tattoo wrapped? ›

Your tattoo artist will wrap your tattoo immediately after finishing the piece. This bandage should be left on anywhere between 3 and 24 hours after getting your tattoo – depending on the bandage used and the size of your piece. Tattoo bandages often come off before going to bed the first night.

How to make a finger tattoo last longer? ›

Consider carrying around some hand cream after you get your finger tattoo. Remember to apply it a few times daily to restore your skin's moisture barrier. Choose a formula that feels good on your skin. Hand creams with SPF will work double duty.

Can I shower after a finger tattoo? ›

Yes, you can take a short shower in cold or lukewarm water. after getting a tattoo. Try to keep the tattooed area out of the direct flow of the water--never soaking it.

What is the most painful finger tattoo? ›

While trendy, know that hand and finger tattoos can be quite painful with the thin skin texture and bony nature of these areas. The outer finger or back of your hands will be the most painful regions to get tattooed.

How often do finger tattoos need to be touched up? ›

Finger tattoos last, on average, between six and eight months. In some cases, they can last a month or two longer, if you're really careful about what you're doing with your hands.

Why do finger tattoos blowout? ›

Here's why finger tattoos fade:

The skin is more elastic on the fingers. Human hands are full of bones, fat, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Ink tends to behave differently on the hands and could blow out or fade easily.

Do finger tattoos eventually fade? ›

The only way for your finger tattoo to look good over time is to stay consistent with touch-ups. No matter how well you take care of your tattoo, fading is inevitable. Once your ink starts to lose its luster and sharp design, you'll know it's time to schedule an appointment with your tattoo artist.

When to stop using Aquaphor on a tattoo? ›

Once the tattoo is dry apply AQUAPHOR healing ointment, made by Eucerin. Apply a thin layer and rub it in, then dab excess off with a clean paper towel. Use the Aquaphor for the first 2-3 days then switch to a regular FRAGRANCE-FREE lotion such as Lubriderm, or any other fragrance-free brand.

Is Vaseline okay for tattoos? ›

Why Vaseline and petroleum-based jelly aren't great for a new tattoo. Petroleum-based products can cause ink to fade and may trap moisture and bacteria on top of the tattoo, increasing your risk of developing an infection. Use water-based moisturizers on new tattoos instead.

Can I wash dishes after getting a finger tattoo? ›

Remember that hands and feet reproduce skin cells much faster than other parts of the body. A tattoo in these areas will sometimes take an extra two weeks to heal. During this time, refrain from washing dishes, wearing gloves, or wearing socks and shoes (sandals must not rub the tattoo).

What is not allowed after tattoo? ›

Stay out of pools, hot tubs, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water while the tattoo is healing. Choose clothing carefully. Don't wear anything that might stick to the tattoo.

When can you touch up a finger tattoo? ›

Tattoo touch-ups can only take place once your tattoo is fully healed (anywhere between 4 weeks to 6 months). Touching up a tattoo before it has had the chance to heal will only aggravate and further implicate the artwork. Touch-ups have the same healing protocol as initial tattoos.

Can I wash my hair after finger tattoo? ›

You shouldn't worry about getting a tattoo wet. The tattooed skin must dry out quickly. Wash your hair the way you do but don't let them lie on your tattoo. It can be a bit of trouble but it's just for the while the ink heals.

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