Why Many Tattoo Artists Refuse to Tattoo Hands, Feet ,and Faces

If you’re looking to get a tattoo on your foot or hand, and especially your face, you’re probably going to have a difficult time finding an artist to do it. Many studios have policies against doing tattoos in these areas. The studio where I apprenticed happened to be one of them. Some artists feel strongly enough about it to turn down potential business by refusing to do this type of tattoo. But what is the big deal?

A Moral Dilemma
You may not realize it, but many tattoo artists bear the burden of becoming the conscience of naive and impetuous customers wanting tattoos that could potentially cause them a lot of problems down the road. They know that highly visible tattoos like hand and facial decorations can cause the wearer to become the subject of ridicule or impede their chances of finding employment. If they feel you don’t seem to be ready for that kind of heavy responsibility, they cannot in good conscience allow you to get such a tattoo. True, you could probably just find someone else to do it, but at least they can rest knowing they were not the cause of ruining your life.

Tattoo artists know the true weight of wearing permanent art and want their clients to be happy with the choices they make. So, sometimes it becomes the duty of the artist to draw a line over which they will not cross in order to protect you, the customer. There are artists out there that will do these tattoos, though, and you will be able to find one if you are determined. But this should at least cause you to stop and think about the potential consequences of your actions. Are you really ready to handle the reactions of the public that result from your decision? Are you prepared to accept rejections to future job applications? Remember – it’s permanent and it’s not in a place where it can be easily covered up. It’s always out there – always visible. And no matter how “popular” tattoos get, you will still have problems being accepted in many places and by many people. If you are not ready to handle that, it’s best that you hold off on the tattoo until you are.

A Quality Issue
Of course, not all studios refuse to do certain tattoos for moral reasons. Foot tattoos certainly aren’t high-visibility social and work impeders. When it comes to tattoo quality, foot and hand tattoos are the ones that become the issue. The fact is, your hands and feet are the two parts of your body that come under the greatest amount of physical “abuse” as a result of normal everyday life. This makes maintaining the quality of a tattoo in these areas very difficult.

Most tattoo artists guarantee their work 100% and back up that guarantee with things such as free touch-ups. When they do a tattoo, their reputation is on the line the moment you walk out the door. Every person that sees your tattoo and finds out who did it will base an opinion of the artist by the quality of the work. If you mess up your tattoo, it’s the artist that’s going to get the blame.

Hand and foot tattoos are extremely difficult to maintain. Socks and shoes constantly rubbing against your feet can wear away even a healed tattoo. Getting to the healed point is even more difficult, requiring the sacrifice of going practically barefoot for 3 months if you really want it to heal properly. But remember, going barefoot or wearing sandals exposes your foot to the elements, including the sun, which can also destroy your new tattoo. If you really want to get that foot tattoo – and honestly, I don’t blame you! – you have got to be totally prepared to baby it like you have never babied your skin before. The same thing goes for hand tattoos – if you’re a mechanic, a dishwasher, or do anything else that is rough on your hands, don’t do it! You’ll only ruin the tattoo and be stuck with a mess in a very visible area.

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  4. Tattoo Etiquette – A Tattoo Artist Vents About Disrespectful Clients
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