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Cuticle tattoos are the latest body art trend (and they can be painful)

Forget armpit tattoos and inked-on freckles: Cuticle tattoos are the latest beauty trend sweeping Instagram.
/ Source: TODAY

This tattoo trend is not for the faint of heart (or hand).

People are inking tiny dots and geometric designs on their cuticles in the latest beauty craze making the rounds on Instagram.

Some people coordinate the designs with elaborate nail art.

This trend may have been partly inspired by Rihanna, who has been rocking cuticle tattoos for a few years now along with some intricate patterns on the back of her hand.

Rihanna showed off her cuticle tattoos at an event in New York City in 2015.Mike Pont / FilmMagic

Cuticle tattoos can definitely be impressive, but there’s often a painful price to pay for this kind of creative, permanent nail art. Driving a needle repeatedly into a part of your body that’s mostly skin and bone doesn’t seem pleasant, and one tattoo artist on Instagram warned people that “it hurts. Real bad. Like, really bad.”

It sounds pretty excruciating to us — possibly even more painful than the armpit tattoos that have also been popular lately — but some people say it’s bearable. Lily Valliere, 39, recently got her cuticles inked, and she described the experience as “uncomfortable, like little paper cuts.”

In fact, it was far from the most painful tattoo she’s ever gotten.

“Compared to the ribs, it was nothing,” she told TODAY Style via email. “Just mildly annoying.”

Valliere, who was tattooed by Clayton Dooley at True Custom Collective in Shawnee, Oklahoma, said she was inspired by her aunt, who is in her 70s and has a dot tattooed near one of her cuticles.

“I’ve always loved how cute it looks on her,” Valliere said.

Her cuticle tattoos aren’t just decorative; she inked the dots on her right ring finger in rainbow colors to show her support for LGBT rights and to honor a loved one who is gay.

If permanent cuticle tattoos seem like too much of a commitment for you, though, there are plenty of temporary options available. Many people decorate their fingertips with henna, which can last up to a few weeks. (This is far from a new trend in India, where people have been dyeing their fingers with henna for thousands of years.)

There are also plenty of temporary tattoos for people who want to try out the look without going under the needle. These cute finger decals are from Tattly, a company that specializes in artistic temporary tats.

However, if you’re ready to take the plunge and get a permanent cuticle tattoo, just be absolutely sure it’s what you want — you’ll be looking at your hands for the rest of your life, after all — and stock up on your favorite coordinating nail colors!