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How Long Do Finger Tattoos Last and Can You Make Them Last Longer?

Finger tattoos are getting more and more popular lately, because they are simple to do, and look elegant and edgy at the same time. Caring for them though could require repeating the tattoo session after some time.

Getting a finger tattoo is gorgeous, but it is not all just pretty looks, there has to be some proper aftercare as well. These tattoos might be cute and small, but they could even need more care than tattoos on the rest of the body.

How Long Do Finger Tattoos Last?

Finger tattoos start to fade within the first six to twelve months of making them. This is not a long time, and in most cases, it requires intensive aftercare or even repeating the tattoo session to enhance the ink color.

Why do Finger Tattoos Fade so Fast?

I fully agree that finger tattoos are amazing and look extra-nice, but unfortunately, they are very delicate and start to lose the contours and contrast of colors quite fast.

As a rule, tattoo ink will fade in almost all places, but this happens very slowly and without you noticing it so directly as with the hand fingers. Many years will pass and most of your tattoos all over the body will stay almost intact, but when it comes to palms and fingers, you will see a noticeable difference within the first year. Not cool, I know. But, let’s not be disappointed yet.

This fading happens because you are very active with the hands foremost. Everything you touch, you do it with hands. You wash them much more than the rest of the body unless you take a dozen or more showers per day, this is the fact for hand washing. This contributes the most to the ink there fading extremely fast.

Another possible reason is the skin on the hands. This skin is much more gentle and sensitive than other body parts. Touch the skin on top of the fingers, and feel how soft and gentle it is – then compare it to let’s say, the shoulders, or knees, or thighs. You notice a big difference, I’m sure. If the skin on the hands is thinner than other body parts, it is logical that this too will affect the longevity of tattoos there.

Also, wearing jewelry could be another (minor) reason for tattoo fading. If you constantly wear heavy rings or tight rings or rings in general, expect the skin there to ‘thin out’ a bit faster than usual. This happens because the jewelry metal is rubbing on your finger skin all the time, so it would be normal to leave the skin glossier and thinner than normal.

prevent fading of finger tattoos

6 Tips to Prevent Fading of Finger Tattoos

There are several things you can do, and all of them are quite simple and no hassle at all. They do not require splurging of money and are important for supple and nourished hand skin as well. With that by default, the finger tattoos will also last a bit longer, and preserve the strong pigments as much as possible.

1. Sunscreen

If you are a tanning enthusiast, you will have to deal with a lot of skincare throughout the months and years (if you want good-looking tattoos). Even if you have no tattoos, you should know that UV rays are awful for the skin in general, and make it age extremely fast. What happens now? Well, when the skin ages prematurely, wrinkles and spots are appearing, and they damage the skin in the long term.

The skin texture becomes different, drier, and less plumpy. But, let me emphasize that this will happen if you skip on sunscreen every time you go out in the sun or you enter a tanning bed! The tattoo ink (wherever on the body) fades every time you spend too long in the sun without proper care – and the hands’ ink will fade twice or more as faster!

2. Fewer exfoliants on the hands

Many manicure treatments in salons (or at home) include the usage of scrubs and exfoliants. This is all good if it happens rarely once in a while, but try to limit these appointments to as rare as you can. You don’t want to thin out the hand skin faster than normal. Or let the cosmeticians know that you would skip the scrub and stick to the hand massages and similar.

3. Gentle and mild hand soaps

In general, even without finger tattoos, you want to use a mild hand soap at all times – trust me on this! Invest in a good quality hand soap that does not dry out the hands. Dry skin always cracks fast, or has fine lines appearing due to the dryness, yikes! And if you do not take care of your hands, and you use harsh soaps, the skin would begin to deteriorate after a while and even develop some skin conditions like eczema! This is the least you need, especially with a finger tattoo. Eczema skin is inflamed, extremely dry, and ‘dandruff-like’, red or swollen along with the dryness, and similar. I don’t even want to imagine how this affects the ink underneath this skin layer, so be safe foremost, and do proper skin care in this area.

4. Wearing gloves in winter

In this context of skincare, I would highly recommend wearing gloves when the weather is cold. When temperatures are freezing, going out without gloves to keep your hands warm and safe is a silly thing. The cold weather damages the skin, just as the hot weather (UV rays) has the same bad effect. Things that dry out your hands, will make the skin age faster, wrinkle a lot, or dry up much more. This is no good for the ink there.

5. Avoiding tanning beds and UV nail gel lamps

I have mentioned this before, but I will again – UV is extremely bad for the skin all over the body, especially when it comes to fair skin, as well as tattooed skin.

If you want to tan without sunscreen, that’s on you – consequences involve tattoo fading the least, and worse issues along the way as well. However, if you decide to tan, whether naturally or in salons, please use a strong sunscreen (the one for babies with high SPF values) to protect the ink on the hands.

While we are at the UV topic, this also applies to manicure-fanatics! Yes, those UV lamps that bake and seal the gel extensions are not so good for your hands in general. The nail lamps are like mini tanning beds for the hands. So, you get UV light directly and closely onto your beautifully tattooed fingers. Skip these manicures as much as you can, or at least use sunscreen for this as well. Apply it on the tattooed parts and do your nails anyway.

6. Hand cream is essential

Have a hand cream with you at all times, and during all seasons. They are not pricey at all and take just seconds of your time to apply them. Please do not skip on hand creams, ever, because they are the essential part to keep the hand skin soft, nurtured, and less damaged for as long as possible. Hydrated skin is healthy skin!

What to do if Your Finger Tattoo Faded?

It is always best to go for prevention, as you saw in the advice above. But, if that’s not possible, you can always do a regular ‘refreshing’ of the finger tattoo. By regular I don’t mean something too often, but a few dots and lines over the existing ones is a good idea. You can schedule this when you notice the tattoo is visibly faded. For example, I wanted to repeat 2-3 contours of a ribbon I have on my middle finger, and I did this after a whole year of getting my tattoo, so it is not a big deal to do this once or twice. After that, take good care of the skin with all advice from above.

What products are best for nourishing the tattooed skin on fingers?

After a freshly done tattoo, just use the cream the artist recommends to you.
Otherwise, if the tattoo is fully healed after several weeks, I would recommend using good quality lotions and creams that you would normally use to nourish the skin.

For example, I love using those organic coconut products because they give the skin a nice glow, amazing hydration, and they make tattoos look like they were made recently! Also, try organic argan oil hand creams as well.

On hydrated hands, the ink looks darker and ‘deeper’ which is amazing. Again I will repeat, hydrated hand skin is healthy skin, and this will make the ink colors ‘pop’!


Tattoos or not, good skincare goes a long way. But, since we covered finger tattoos in this article, remember to nourish your hands as much as you can. Avoid the harmful UV and harsh soaps, and choose mild pampering and sun protection instead! Beautiful hands deserve beautiful tattoos. And, do not forget to ‘freshen up’ the ink all over again after some time!