There are numerous reasons palm tattoos are cool, even beyond the fact that Angelina Jolie recently got one. On 23 Aug., the actor paid a visit to renowned tattoo artist Mr. K from Bang Bang Tattoos for the hand designs. She opted for dainty, abstract daggers on each of her middle fingers. As with any of Jolie's beauty choices, it got the masses wondering: what exactly is the hype around palm tattoos?
"These are a unique form of body art due to the thin and sensitive nature of the skin in this area," tattoo artist Sydney Smith tells POPSUGAR. If you go onto Instagram right now and search "palm tattoos," you'll find a myriad of designs spanning from abstract and dotted pieces similar to Jolie's to larger, more realistic portraits of everything from landscapes to flowers.
Still, there are a few things to know about this specific location before jumping on the trend. Do palm tattoos fade? What exactly should you know if you decide to get one? Smith answers those questions and more ahead.
What Are Palm Tattoos?
"Palm tattoos are ink designs applied directly to the skin of the palm of the hand," Smith says. When deciding on this area, it's important that you consider things like the pain level, potential fading, and your lifestyle before taking the plunge. Palm tattoos tend to fade faster than others, so if you often work with your hands, are constantly washing them, or simply may struggle to keep up with the proper aftercare for a piece like this, you may want to reconsider.
How Long Do Palm Tattoos Last?
Like others, palm tattoos are permanent and will last forever. However, whether the integrity of the piece will remain the same over the years is a different question entirely. "Fading often starts in areas with high friction and constant movement, like the fingers," Smith says.
Because of this, you'll likely need to get your palm tattoo touched up every few years to retain vibrancy. However, in order to prevent fading, you can protect it from excessive sun exposure and avoid activities that could rub or wear down the design. This is a bit of a catch-22 since you likely use your hands every day whether at work, in the gym, or elsewhere, but it's definitely something you want to consider prior to getting your palm inked.
Are Palm Tattoos Painful?
As with any body modification, pain levels are relative to the individual, but if you've heard that palm tattoos can be particularly painful, there's a reason for that. "They can hurt quite a bit due to the lack of fat and muscle padding in the palm," Smith says. "Still, I've had clients who say it doesn't hurt at all and others who say it does, so only you know your pain tolerance."
Not only can pain tolerance impact the type of tattoo you get, but Smith says where on your palm you get the tattoo should be thought of as well. "The centre is best as it tends to hold ink better," she says. "Avoid tattooing near the bottom of the palm closer to the wrist, as this area experiences a lot of movement and wear, which will cause fading much quicker." With this in mind, it's also best for your palm tattoo to err on the simpler side à la Jolie did to limit the potential for ink to spread and get you out of that chair faster.
Palm Tattoo Inspiration
Ready to take the plunge? Read ahead to find the best palm tattoo inspiration.