A Skin Expert Weighs In on the Cuticle Tattoo Trend

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Delicate, intricate tattoos placed strategically around the nail in order to adorn one’s manicure are quickly becoming the hottest nail trend on Instagram. Cuticle tattoos (which aren’t actually placed on the cuticles) are a celebrity-inspired trend first seen on stars like Rihanna, Cara Delevingne and Zoe Kravitz. As the trend continues to blow up in tattoo parlors and on social media, we reached out to a skin expert to find out if there are any drawbacks to getting the skin on your fingers tattooed and how to get rid of those teeny tiny designs if you’re not into them two or three years from now.

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It seems kind of obvious that you shouldn’t get permanently inked just because everyone else is doing it, but if you’re really a big fan of the dainty decorations on your digits, here’s what you need to know about the skin on your fingers.  According to Santa Monica, CA, dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, our hands are an area where ink can bleed or fade easily over time. “The virtues and perils of tattoos aside, I would strongly encourage against getting tattoos on the fingers. It's a metabolically active area and the immune system is more likely to identify the tattoo pigment as a foreign body and eliminate it. This would lead to more rapid fading and even an allergic reaction,” she says.


When you get a tattoo, anywhere, you also have to consider beforehand what the removal process entails (time, money and if it can leave a scar) before pulling the trigger. “For removal, I recommend multiple laser treatments,” advises Dr. Shamban. “Tattoo removal depends on the amount of ink placed in the tattoo. Basically, the skin forms a tiny scar around the ink and the laser heats up the ink, blasting the scar apart. When the ink is out of the skin, the immune system clears the pigment, slowly.”

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Laser tattoo removal costs start at $200 and pricing varies depending on the size of the tattoo. Dr. Shamban recommends trying out different designs right on your manicure before permanently inking your fingers. “It’s virtually impossible to obscure tattoos on the fingers and they will always be the top of the conversation,” she says. “My recommendation is to stick with adorning your nails with whatever design you want to have on them. This can be changed as frequently as you like and can look beautiful!”