Capturing really good fingerprints is an art. And like most good art, making it work is often experimental. The good news here, though, is that we’ve been experimenting for a long time with a lot of different people, so we’ve got practice turning those ridges and whorls into perfection.
Doing so, though, requires more than just putting a finger down and hoping. Sometimes, we’ve gotta ask you to do things that don’t seem related to the fingerprinting process.
In this blog post, we’re going to walk you through the reasoning behind the most common requests we make of our customers. That way, if we ask you to help, you know why – even if the request sounds weird.
Before getting fingerprinted
Drink extra water
Hydration matters. If you’re dehydrated, your skin will be thinner and drier than if you drank enough water. Plan to drink extra water starting the day before you get your fingerprints done so your skin is in good shape.
Don’t use lotion right before
Another thing – moisturizing isn’t the same as hydrating. Lotion leaves a layer of often oily substance on the skin that can smudge or otherwise obfuscate your fingerprint scan. If you really need lotion before fingerprinting, make sure to use an oil-free, alcohol-free brand, and give it time to soak in before trying any fingerprinting. Your technician will let you know if you need more.
Don’t use hand sanitizer!
Washing your hands is fine. Hand sanitizer, though, has a lot of alcohol in it, which dries out your skin and makes it harder to capture print details. And, like with lotion, it can leave a filmy substance on your skin that messes up your print image.
Use special fingertip moistener – but only a little
Most of our locations keep fingertip moistener like Sortkwik on hand for drier fingers. If the technician asks you to use some, rub a small amount onto the tip of your finger. Rub it in well, and you both moisten your fingertip and stimulate blood flow – both of which will help the technician capture a better print.
Warm or cool your fingers
If your fingers are too warm, your fingers can cause shadows or “halos” around your fingerprints that obscure the ridges. If they’re too cool, your fingerprints may be too faint for the technician to capture good detail. Even the smallest difference in temperature can make a big difference, so follow the technician’s advice!
Rub your fingers on your clothing
Sometimes, a fingerprint can be too dark to show good detail because the ridges are worn, there’s not enough bloodflow, or your hands are a little moist. In any of those cases, your technician might ask you to rub your fingers on your clothing for a few seconds to lift the fingerprint detail.
Lighten your touch
Live scan fingerprinting like ours doesn’t usually require heavy pressure to get a good fingerprint. Nevertheless, people often press harder if they don’t see their fingerprints show up right away or if the print isn’t accepted the first time. Let the technician guide the pressure, though, as too much pressure creates problems and can even damage the scanner.
In short, we want to make the fingerprinting process as quick as easy for you as possible. Also, nearly everyone has a quirk or two with their fingerprints we have to work around. So remember two things:
- Hydrate, and stay hydrated, for 24 hours before you go in for fingerprints, and
- If a technician asks you to do one of the above, work with them.
Have questions, or want to provide us with another tip? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 844.787.3431. We’d love to hear from you.