When you get a tattoo, you want the artwork to remain vibrant for as long as possible. You can prevent fading and discoloration by allowing the area to heal appropriately, applying lotion to the site, and taking care of your arm or leg hair.
Having no hair on your arms or legs will help your tattoos to remain more visible. Although this issue might not apply to people with thin, blonde follicles, it can be problematic if your body hair is thick, dark, and coarse.
Even if you have an old tattoo, you can make it look new again with exfoliation, lightening, touch-ups, and color rejuvenation. When you include hair management or removal as part of that routine,
How Do Tattoos Look on Hairy Arms and Legs?
Hair on the arms and legs can distort how others see a tattoo. Since more follicles are on the upper part of each limb, the artwork placement can be affected by this trait. If you don’t care how it looks with hair or don’t mind shaving the area, you can get a tattoo almost anywhere on the body.
Since hair can get in the way of tattoo administration, some people might be tempted to shave their arms or legs before their appointment.
Although this step seems like it would be helpful, it can negatively affect the process. Tattoo artists need to see what direction your follicles grow to understand how the ink should get administered to your selected area.
Tattoo artists also shave the area where you plan to get a tattoo because it prevents ingrown hairs from forming while improving visibility.
It is up to you to maintain the look you want after the tattoo starts healing. You can keep shaving the hair to help it remain visible or allow some (or all) of the hair to grow back.
If you have dark hair covering a light tattoo, the artwork can appear dull, muted, or even invisible to the average person. These attributes might change the design you want to have applied to your skin.
It might look cool to have a large tiger on your calf. When your leg hairs grow back and make the artwork look more like Mufasa from The Lion King, you might want to rethink your design choice with your tattoo artist.
Will I Need to Keep Shaving the Hair Off My Arms and Legs?
After you get the tattoo applied, you might want to remove the rest of the hair from your arms or legs. It’s not unusual for a bandage to get used for the first 24 hours, and the tape can remove the follicles like a waxing treatment.
Unless you want two or three big strips of removed hair showing on your arms or legs, it is best to get it shaved the rest of the way during the healing process.
That decision happens after the tattoo gets applied. You can decide to keep shaving the hair to make the artwork pop, but that choice is ultimately your decision.
You can make that choice easier by reviewing these three crucial elements of the tattoo decision and application process with your artist before the needle gets pressed into the skin.
1. Tattoo Design
No one should be put off from getting a specific tattoo they want because of their body hair’s shape, color, or composition.
It would help if you thought about how the style you want will look through the hair once it grows back. The classic example given here is that a guy could get the face of his wife tattooed on his arm, but the hair grows out to make it look like she has a beard.
Once you’ve thought about this factor, it also helps to review your skin’s composition and coloration tendencies. What happens after you spend time in the sun?
If your skin freckles, the different coloration spot changes could adversely impact how your tattoo looks. You can avoid this problem somewhat by focusing on darker colors, but it is still noticeable with a close-up view.
2. Ink Color
Darker colors might hide freckles or skin imperfections, but is it the right choice for the hair color on your arms or legs? Some artists prefer to match ink colors to the hues of each follicle to alleviate distorted looks.
People with dark hair often get black ink tattoos because the artwork appears visually as an extension of their bodies. If you have fairer tones, you could opt for lighter colors.
Blonde hair against a black ink tattoo will stand out in negative contrast, which is a result some people might not want.
It can be a lot of fun to play with contrasts in this circumstance. You’ll get some impressive colors without worrying about how your arm or leg hair interferes with the visual experience.
3. Hair Density
When your arm or leg air is thick, dark, and coarse, it will obscure the tattoo you receive. If you intend to keep your limbs hairy, you’ll want to choose designs that work with your body instead of against it.
Allow the tattoo artist to shave the area before getting to work. Before each project, an antibacterial soap gets applied to the site, followed by shaving everything the stencils touch. After the follicles get removed, the skin gets cleansed one more time with an alcohol wipe.
After the tattoo heals, it’s up to the individual to keep shaving the area (and the rest of the limbs) or to let the hair grow.
Aftercare Tips for Tattoos on Hairy Body Parts
The worst thing you can do for your tattoo after getting it is to apply a triple antibiotic ointment to it. Although the area might sting a lot, those substances do an excellent job of initiating the healing process faster than you want.
You can end up with a tattoo that doesn’t look the way it should if you apply that ointment to the skin’s surface.
At the same time, opening the skin through the tattooing process leaves you vulnerable to infections and scarring.
The aftercare steps you follow are the same with lots of hair as they are without it. The only difference is that you might want to shave the rest of the hair on your arms or legs to create a cohesive look.
|Cover It Up:||▪️ Your tattoo artist will apply an antibiotic ointment to your skin that won’t interact with the ink. |
▪️ It then gets covered with plastic wrap or a bandage to prevent bacteria from entering the area.
▪️ This step also protects the skin from getting irritated or rubbing against your clothing.
▪️ Keep it on for as long as the artist recommends.
|Wash It Up:||▪️ After a few hours (or the time recommendation offered by the tattoo), you can remove the covering. |
▪️ Wash your hands with soap and water first, then gently do the same with the tattoo.
▪️️ Use products without fragrances during this step for the best results.
▪️ Pat the skin dry before applying an alcohol-free moisturizer to the area.
|Heal It Up:||▪️ As your tattoo starts healing, it helps to wear sun-protective clothing over it to prevent the sunshine from changing the skin qualities. |
▪️ If you experience problems with it or the symptoms of an infection, call your doctor or the artist right away.
While your tattoo heals, you’ll want to avoid covering the area with sunblock until it fully heals. You will notice some scabbing occur, with colored bumps developing in the tattoo after a few days. Do not pick at these bumps because doing so increases the risk of scarring.
It helps to wear loose clothing over the tattoo for the first few days. Once the bumps disappear and your skin surface becomes smooth, you can return to your usual apparel.
You can take showers with your aftercare routine, but you’ll want to avoid baths. Immersing your body in water, including swimming, can harm the work.
It can take up to 30 days for your tattoo to heal fully. Even though the ink might look dull or dry, moisturizers can restore its appearance and luster. You may need to wait up to four months for the lower epidermis layers to heal so that the artwork looks as vivid and bright as intended.
What Are the Best Ways to Remove Hair for Tattoos?
Although your tattoo artist should shave the area, you can decide to keep the hair away. The easiest method is to use a bare hair trimmer that runs along the skin’s surface. You won’t need to use a razor blade, and the unwanted follicle length disappears immediately.
Here are some other ways you can keep removing the unwanted hair from your tattoo application site.
▪️ Remove Unwanted Hair by Shaving
Shaving your arms or legs with a razor is the fastest way to get a smooth result around your tattoo. The results can last for several days, but you can also increase the risk of having ingrown hairs form. You’ll need to repeat this work at least once per week.
▪️ Remove Unwanted Hair by Waxing
Waxing leads to a smooth surface on your arms or legs for up to six weeks at a time. You might also notice some changes to the follicle characteristics with regrowth, as many people say the hair gets thinner and lighter. The downside of this method is that it can be pretty painful, especially with thick or coarse hair.
▪️ Remove Unwanted Hair by Laser Treatments
Laser treatments are not recommended because they can adversely impact your tattoo. They’re also expensive and require repetitive visits, with the average person experiencing a 25% reduction each time. If you have frequent ingrown hairs, this option might be worth considering with the help of your artist.
▪️ Remove Unwanted Hair by Electrolysis
Electrolysis destroys the growth center of the follicle with heat energy or chemicals. Once the device takes care of this step, a small probe gets inserted into the hair to remove it. This option is considered the only permanent removal option available. The discomfort levels are similar to waxing, with the costs equal to any other private one-on-one service.
A Final Thought About How Tattoos Look on Hairy Arms and Legs
Hairy arms and legs might create challenges for tattoo artists, but they shouldn’t stop anyone from getting their desired results. When people take the time to manage their follicle growth through shaving, waxing, or other methods, it is possible to show off one’s personality and creativity daily.
It is crucial to think about the long-term aftercare of your tattoo. It’s a commitment that requires everyone to look at their skin condition, hair growth, and other factors.
Whether you opt for a sleeve, a small tat, or something in between, this guide can help you achieve the results you want while looking your best!