–Tattooing “Unconventional” Area–
Quick, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you see someone will a full neck tattoo? How about a face or hand?
Most likely, your thoughts might range from, “Yikes, that must have hurt,” to, “Well, they’ll never get a job.” What is it about the face, neck, and hands that tends to bring out such a reaction from the public at large?
-Society and Tattoos: Prejudice-
The general public’s opinion of tattoos is rapidly changing. The generation that is coming into adulthood now is much more open to the idea of body modification and body art. Not even 40 years ago, tattoos were considered to be found only on convicts, rock stars, and the “seedy” folk among us (although, there were many who got tattoos while serving in the military—a place where tattoos seemed to be accept as the norm).
If tattoos as a whole were considered inappropriate, then face, neck, and hand tattoos were downright unacceptable. Anything that was instantly visible and impossible to hide were not meant for those who held any position in society.
The prejudice involved with visible tattoos was strong, and while it is getting better, it is still something to consider. Hand, neck, and face tattoos can be extremely great looking when done well and healed properly, but if you work in a very strict setting (or there is any possibility that you will in the future), they simply may not be for you.
-Pain and Healing-
As mentioned in a few previous blogs, yes, getting tattoos will hurt! Everyone has a different pain tolerance level, but the general rule is that the less “padding” (from muscles and fat) there is, the more intense getting the tattoo will feel. With areas like the hand, neck, and face, there isn’t much padding at all. These areas will feel more pain, without question. However, it is a manageable pain as with any other tattoo.
Healing can be a bit difficult for areas like the hand and fingers. Similar with the foot, the skin on our hands and fingers tends to regenerate a bit faster than other areas—this can lead to the ink rejection and ink spreading (when thin lines become blotchy). On top of loss of ink, there is also a greater risk for infection in these areas. We use our hands and fingers every single day to do a multitude of average (but super dirty) things. How many times a day do you use the restroom, touch your cell phone, or open a door knob? All of these places/items are loaded with germs that are, normally, quite acceptable to expose our bodies to—however, when you have an open wound (like a fresh hand tattoo) these areas can be breeding grounds for infection.
Neck and face tattoos can have the same healing problems that a hand might have, but they also have the added dangers of sun damage. Our faces and necks see the most sun of our entire bodies—it is why we see so many products marketed directly at making sure our faces have a high SPF rubbed into them. Sun damage is a problem even without a tattoos, but if you want your tattoo to heal and remain beautiful, you absolutely must shield it from the sun. This means both immediately after the tattoo is completed as well as once it’s healed. Wide brimmed hats and a tattoo-approved sunscreen (such as Color Guard by Tattoo Goo) is the best route to extend the life of your tattoo.
As with any tattoo, extensive research into both your design as well as your artist are vital to receiving a piece of art you can be proud to have on your body. Making informed decisions about placement and design as well as taking the time to follow the healing instructions carefully will help to guarantee a long-lasting and well-loved tattoo!