From small and simple ankle designs to full-blown, detailed leg sleeves, there are several different ways of approaching a leg tattoo.
With this in mind, our guide will take an in-depth look at how the size, design, and pain of a leg tattoo can vary depending on where it’s located. We’ll provide you with all the important information you need to know about tattoos on the knee, ankle, thigh, and lower leg.
What’s more, we’ll also explain some of the cons associated with leg tattoos, as well as answering a number of the frequently asked questions.
Tattoos on the knee can be one of the most painful areas of the body to get inked. This is mainly due to the fact that there’s little protection of the kneecap or patella underneath the skin.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking to get a full leg sleeve, there’s no option other than to ink over the region of the knee. After all, you don’t want to be left with a gap as this will ruin the overall look of your sleeve design.
Despite the pain associated with knee tattoos, there are a number of ways you can limit it. For example, you can take regular breaks through the session, avoid drinking a considerable amount of alcohol the night before, and book your tattoo with an experienced artist.
While these considerations certainly won’t eradicate the pain, they should help to take the edge off. Moreover, tattoo numbing cream is a useful option to make your session a little more bearable.
If you’re looking to go as far down your leg as the ankle area, it’s a good idea to keep in mind some of the pain-limiting tips we discussed above for knee tattoos. This is because ankle tattoos are equally as painful since the region is pretty much skin on bone.
Ankles are ideal for small and delicate tattoos because the limited surface area is only able to accommodate certain designs. Any artwork that’s too big risks becoming warped over time because of the ankle bone.
Nevertheless, there are still some incredible options to choose from. Some of the most popular designs include a small flower, a meaningful word or name, and a minimalist wave.
If you’ve got your heart set on a large or complex design, there are few places better on the body to get it than your thigh. This area provides plenty of surface space to work with, allowing tattoo artists to get creative with their work.
Perhaps the best thing about thigh tattoos is the fact that you don’t have to experience too much of a wrapping effect. This is when the chosen location of a tattoo is too small to fully hold the design, meaning you have to twist or maneuver your body to take in the full tattoo.
Another massive benefit of getting a thigh tattoo is the straightforward healing process. Unlike other areas of the body like the back that are difficult to reach, you can effortlessly moisturize, wash, and wrap a thigh tattoo without the assistance of anyone else.
Furthermore, leg tattoos – especially on the thigh – are super easy to keep out of the sun. All you need to do is throw on a pair of long-sleeve pants and you’ll be fine!
Lower Leg Tattoos
As is the case with thigh tattoos, getting ink on your lower leg around the shin or calf area provides a good amount of surface area for most tattoo designs.
While the shin is a little more painful to get tattooed than the back of the leg, it’s still a somewhat bearable experience compared to other more awkward or exposed areas of the body.
This is because lower leg tattoos allow you to sit or lay down in a comfortable position while the artist works. You can even distract yourself with your phone since your hands are both free.
The Cons Of Getting A Leg Tattoo
Aside from the obvious pain associated with leg tattoos (especially on the knees and ankles), there are a few other downsides of getting inked that are worth keeping in mind. Listed below are three of the most significant cons.
Limited Choice of Outfits
It’s essential that you take excellent care of your new tattoo in the days and weeks after your appointment so it can heal as well as possible. One of the most significant parts of this process is making sure that you avoid any type of clothing that rubs against your new ink too much.
Therefore, if you’re a big fan of wearing skinny jeans, it might be a good idea to pack them away for at least a couple of weeks and wear some loose-fitting short or sweat pants instead.
During the first couple of weeks of the healing process, it’s important that you don’t shave over your new tattoo. This is because doing so opens up the possibility of slicing the fresh artwork, which can lead to some of the ink falling out of your skin.
It’s recommended to avoid any kind of shaving until there’s no visible sign of peeling, scabbing, or shininess around the site of the tattoo. This tends to take anywhere between two to four weeks.
A second reason to steer clear of the shaver during the first couple of weeks of healing is the fact that you could risk getting an infection which is far from ideal for a new tattoo.
If you’re opting for a small design because you’re not quite ready to commit to a large, full-sleeve tattoo, there’s every chance that you could end up with some frustrating gaps on your leg.
For example, you might spend your first appointment getting a small rose design on your thigh, and then later come across a beautiful heart design for another spot on your leg.
The more these types of appointments go by, the likelier it is that you’ll be left with some awkward-shaped gaps in between several of your designs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Walk After A Leg Tattoo?
Yes, walking is absolutely fine after getting a leg tattoo. While several forms of vigorous physical exercise such as running or weightlifting sessions are to be avoided, something soft and gentle like walking is an ideal way to keep your body active while the ink heals.
Does Scratching A Tattoo Make It Fade?
In order to achieve the best results possible, a new tattoo needs sufficient time to heal. Therefore, scratching or rubbing the site of a new tattoo is best avoided as this can result in your new artwork fading or smudging. You can still wash as normal, just make sure you’re super gentle.
Will My Thigh Tattoo Change If I Lose A Considerable Amount Of Weight?
In terms of weight loss, the size and location of a tattoo can slightly change, although this isn’t usually anything drastic. For example, the positioning of a tattoo on the side of your thigh may not quite be the same if you suddenly lost 10-15 kilograms.
What Do You Wear For A Thigh Tattoo?
For tattoos that are located in an area which is usually covered by clothes such as the thigh, you’ll obviously need to wear some clothing that allows the artist to do their work. With this in mind, avoid jeans or any other long-sleeved pants, and wear a pair of shorts instead.
How Do You Sleep With A New Tattoo?
Many tattoo artists recommend that it’s a good idea to sleep for the first few nights with your new ink wrapped up. This not only prevents the risk of accidentally picking or ripping the scabs, it also makes sure that the tattoo is completely protected from harmful bacteria.
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