The Pros and Cons Of Forearm Tattoos


Flower forearm tattoo @lilyjtattoo

The forearm is one of the most popular areas on the body to get tattooed. If you’re looking for a relatively painless and smooth surface to get inked, your forearm is one of your best bets. Also, if you’re thinking about getting a full sleeve, you cannot skip your lower arm. 

If you’re deliberating on whether to get your forearm inked, there are a few things to consider. Here are the pros and cons of forearm tattoos that should be considered before you book your tat appointment.

Flower Forearm Tattoo @tattoo_joojoo

Pro: You Can Get Almost Anything Tattooed In This Area

The inner forearm is an amazing canvas for a tattoo artist to work their magic – this area is a relatively flat surface without any bones of bumps to take heed of. As such, you can get pretty much anything tattooed here, from symbols and geometric shapes to full-on realistic portraits. 

Giraffe Forearm Tattoo @1991.ink

Con: There Is A Possibility Of A Warped-Looking Tattoo

You need to think about the size of your tattoo. A hyper realistic face needs a lot of space in order for the finer details to be done. Due to the fact that your forearm curves from your inner arm to your outer arm, your design might have to wrap around, creating a warped look. 

If this happens, you’d have to turn your arm to get a full picture of your ink, which might take away from its artistic impact.

Dragonfly Forearm Tattoo @storylines.tattoo

When you are thinking about possible tattoo designs, have a conversation with your tattoo artist first before you get too attached to one design – they will be able to advise you on the end result and whether it will match your expectations.

Pro: Forearm Ink Is Easy To Show Off

The forearm is one of the most on-show parts of your body, so, if you’re going for a very tatted up look and want your ink to be on display a lot of the time, your forearm is a great choice for a tattoo. 

Flowers forearm tattoo sleeve @chik.tattoo

Throw on a simple t-shirt or even roll up your long sleeves and your artwork will be shown. However, the other side of this coin is that it can be challenging to cover your ink up.

Con: It Can Be Annoying To Cover Up If You Have To And Extra Sun Precautions Need To Be Taken

If you live in a place with a hot climate, covering up your forearm tattoo can be frustrating. Long sleeves on a sweltering 95°F isn’t most people’s idea of an ideal outfit.

So, if you don’t want people to know you have a tattoo, or you work in a company that doesn’t allow visible tattoos while you’re on the job, a forearm tattoo might not be the practical choice.

Sunflower Forearm Tattoo @zaya

If people seeing your tattoos isn’t a problem, you still have to think about one of the most potent enemies of tattoos: the sun.

While your skin is healing, you’ve got to be super vigilant and not expose your fresh ink to direct sunlight, and after your tattoo has healed, always keep extra strong SPF on you. Tattoos that are exposed to the sun can often fade away quicker meaning more trips to the tattoo studio for touch ups.  

Pro: A Forearm Tattoo Is Relatively Painless And Heals Easily

A flat canvas with few bones to worry about means less pain during the tattoo process. The tattoo needle goes through skin that is quite fleshy, so it is way less painful than a hand or spine tattoo.

However, it’s important to remember that everyone is different – while one person can compare a tattoo needle to a light prick, to someone else it can feel like someone is repeatedly stabbing them.

White Ink Butterfly Tattoo @mini_happiness_tattoo

When a tattoo is in the healing process, it’s important to not let the fresh ink rub up against things. This is simple with a forearm tattoo – you can just wear a t-shirt and you’re good to go, unlike a thigh tattoo where you have to worry about what pants you’re going to wear.

During the healing stage, you’ve got to take really good care of your tattoo so that it mends properly. This means washing it regularly with gentle soap and moisturizing.

Your forearms are easy to get to, so doing this process of washing and moisturizing is simple – a back tattoo, for example, is a whole different story and could require you to get someone’s help.

Con: The Healing Process Can Be Uncomfortable And The Wrist Can Be A Tricky Spot

Yes, you can just wear a t-shirt and let your tattoo breathe and heal, but your flakey, scabby skin will be on display for a couple of weeks. 

Sun Moon Forearm Tattoo @jakenowicz

While the inner forearm is a simple spot to get tattooed, the wrist is a different experience. The inner wrist is wrapped in thin skin, and the outer wrist includes a very prominent bone. Tat Ring explains,

“Tattoos on your inner wrist (just below the palm of your hand) can be painful since the skin there is soft, thin, and sensitive. There are many nerves and veins that run along your inner wrists, so this area can be very sensitive. Tats on your outer wrist (the part you see if you’re looking at a wristwatch) can be painful because the bones are so near the surface there.”

Pro: A Forearm Tattoo Suits Everyone

Whether you have skinny arms or very muscular arms, forearm tattoos tend to suit everyone. Plus, an added bonus with this placement is that you can get a forearm tattoo when you’re skinnier, gain weight, and the designs won’t be affected, or vice versa. The weight in your forearms doesn’t fluctuate as much as other parts of your body.

Astronaut Tattoo @1991.ink

Con: Shaving

Before your tattoo appointment, you’re going to have to shave your forearms to ensure the smoothest possible surface for the needle. Afterwards when your tattoo is healing, you shouldn’t shave. It’s important to not open up your skin because that could lead to an infection.

So, if you’re someone who regularly shaves their arms or gets them waxed, you’re going to have to be okay with the hair growing out for a while. 

Worded Forearm Tattoo @mini_happiness_tattoo

Byrdie suggests a simple test to find out whether your tattoo is healed enough to shave again,

“Close your eyes and run the tips of your fingers across and around your tattoo. If there are any bumps, raised areas, or hard scabs, then you know your skin is not back to normal. The area should feel exactly the same as the skin around it. If you can tell by touching it where your tattoo begins and ends, or feel any skin irregularities, then you simply need to wait a little longer.”

Before getting any tattoo, it is important to go through the pros and cons of your chosen placement. Tattoos are a permanent decision, so doing your research can go a long way in ensuring that you don’t have regrets. 

For more important points to consider before getting a tattoo, click here.

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