Skin cells on the palm of your hand and pads of your fingers replenish themselves much quicker than on any other part of your body. For this reason, it is difficult to keep a hand or finger tattoo from fading no matter how well you care for it. However, proper care can increase your chances of keeping the color vibrant. If the tattoo still fades, most tattoo artists will give you a free touch-up session, provided you use the same artist for the touch-up as you did for the original.
Things You'll Need
- Antibacterial Soap
- Cold Water
- Clean Towel
- Warm Water
- Nonscented Body Lotion
Wash the fresh tattoo in warm water, at least three times a day, for the first two or three days after you get the tattoo. Use antibacterial soap and a clean towel for each washing and never rub the tattoo for any reason -- just dab the soap and pat the towel.
Apply a thin layer of protective ointment, such as Aquaphor, Burt's Bees or Neosporin, to the tattoo after each cleaning for the first two to three days.
Continue to wash your tattoo at least three times a day after the first three days, but switch to cold water. For a regular tattoo, you would always use warm water, but hand and finger tattoos are much more susceptible to any level of heat.
Stop applying the protective ointment after the first three days and instead apply nonscented hand lotion. Hand lotion, which is usually lighter than an ointment, will allow the tattoo to breathe, helping the skin heal. Most nonscented lotions don't contain alcohol, which can leave your skin too dry.
Continue washing and applying ointments and lotions for at least two weeks until the tattoo is healed.
Using cold water and nonscented lotion will decrease the chance your finger tattoo will fade, but the absolute best way to ensure it stays vibrant is to not use your hand for a while. This is not as easy as it sounds. Our hands are almost constantly acting and coming into contact with our surroundings -- this is why the skin cells are so strong and efficient at replenishing themselves. Limiting the use of your hand will slow this process somewhat, hopefully enough to keep your finger tattoo from fading.
Improperly caring for a tattoo can cause it to get infected, scab, lose ink or fade. The process of cleaning and applying ointment is crucial to any tattoo, regardless of location. Also, the layer of skin above your tattoo will begin to peel after a few days. Resist all temptation to peel the skin further and simply continue washing and applying the proper lotion.
Izzy Barden began writing in 2010 for various websites, specializing in golf and tattoos. He was awarded the Russ Morrison Golf Scholarship in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he attended Santa Barbara City College to study journalism and later dentistry at University of California, Los Angeles.