How Bad Do Hand Tattoos Hurt?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on October 1, 2021
    Last Updated: October 12, 2021

Hand tattoos are increasingly popular, from a novelty finger mustache to a full hand piece, they come in all shapes and sizes. One common factor in all hand tattoos is the pain that you’ll feel. Hand tattoos hurt like crazy. 

Hand tattooing is a work of fine art as your hand is full of small bones and you have fine, delicate skin covering your hand. This makes it a more difficult area to tattoo and many tattoo artists simply refuse to tattoo the hands.

If you’re looking to get a tattoo on your hand, we can probably guess that you’ve got a few tattoos already so are used to the procedure and the pain associated with it. However, nothing will prepare you for the pain that you’ll feel with a hand tattoo.

We’ll let you know just how much it hurts and what you can do to prepare yourself.

Why Do Some Tattoos Hurt More Than Others?

Getting a tattoo involves multiple needles penetrating your skin over and over again. This is bound to cause a certain amount of pain. Some areas of the body hurt more than others when getting a tattoo.

Certain parts of your body have more nerve endings, are close to the bone or have delicate skin over it, this will make the tattoo more painful. Your hands have all of these so it’s not surprising that it hurts to get a tattoo here.

Hand Tattoo Pain: How Bad Do They Hurt?

A hand tattoo isn’t something that you decide on a whim. You should give the tattoo lots of thought before going ahead with it and you need to prepare properly. 

This is partly down to the severe pain that you’ll feel when getting the tattoo and also the fact that hands are one of the most visible areas of your body. You need to make sure that the tattoo will be suitable for your work or professional life. Some employers don’t allow visible tattoos so you need to bear this in mind when getting a tattoo, especially one on your hands.

Any tattoo artist will tell you that getting a hand tattoo hurts a lot and they may also recommend that you don’t get one. They may even refuse to do it for you if they don’t feel that you’re up to handling the pain.


A lot of preparation should go into getting a tattoo of any kind, especially one on your hand. It’s a big commitment and should be thought of as such. You need to make sure that you choose a very experienced and professional tattoo artist to do your hand tattoo as it takes a certain level of expertise to get this right on such fine and delicate skin.

You should speak to your workplace to understand if there would be any issues with you getting a tattoo in such a visible location. Some employers won’t even entertain the idea of hiring someone with such a visible tattoo.

If you decide to go ahead with the tattoo you should make sure that you have a few days off work following the procedure. This will give you time to get the healing started without having to use your hands too much. 

Make sure that you have lots of rest the night before and have plenty to eat in the morning and lots of fluids throughout the day before your tattoo appointment. You don’t want to be fainting during the procedure.


Your hand tattoo will require lots of aftercare and as this is on a part of your body that has lots of movement. As you generally use your hands a lot you should schedule some time off work so that you can relax at home with minimal movement. This will help the healing process to begin without any issues.

Your tattoo will need to be kept clean at all times and this should be done with just warm water and antibacterial soap. You need to be careful to not move your hand following the tattoo procedure as this will open up the wound and stretch the skin which will damage the tattoo.

Your hand tattoo will probably need to be touched up more often than a tattoo anywhere else on your body. This is especially true for tattoos on the palm of your hand or the side of your hand. This is a painful and quite costly addition to the initial tattoo.


There are lots of things to consider when looking to get a hand tattoo. The most important things to consider would be how your employer, parents or society will react to you with a tattooed hand. 

Another major element to consider is the pain that you’ll feel during the tattoo being done. If you don’t think you can handle this you shouldn’t have the tattoo. You don’t want to start the tattoo and then can’t carry on, a half-completed tattoo will look worse than none at all.

We hope that you now understand the hand tattoo process and just how painful it can actually be. If you’re brave enough, good luck!