Home Tattoo Numbing Cream for Tattoos: Top 9 Advantages [Full Guide]

Numbing Cream for Tattoos: Top 9 Advantages [Full Guide]

Benefits of Numbing Cream for Tattoos
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The process of getting a tattoo can be exciting and rewarding, but it can also be painful. The pain level experienced during and after the tattooing process depends on various factors, such as size, design, and location.

To minimize or eliminate tattoo pain, numbing cream can be applied. Numbing cream is a topical anesthetic that blocks pain signals, making the tattooing experience more comfortable and aiding in faster healing and infection prevention.

It is important to consider ingredients, dosage, application method, timing, tattoo location, and potential risks before choosing numbing cream. This article covers numbing cream, from how it works to safe and effective usage, benefits, drawbacks, and selecting the best one for your needs.

Numbing Cream for Tattoos: What is it?

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When applied to the skin, topical anesthetics like numbing cream can temporarily numb an area of the body. It works by blocking the nerve impulses that transmit pain signals from the skin to the brain, relieving and reducing pain in the treated area.

Numbing cream consists of various ingredients with anesthetic properties, including lidocaine, benzocaine, tetracaine, prilocaine, epinephrine, and menthol. The concentration, duration, and mode of action of these ingredients can vary depending on the type and brand of the numbing cream.

There are two main numbing creams for tattoos: over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription. OTC numbing creams (like Dr. Numb), available on the internet or in pharmacies without a doctor's prescription, typically have lower concentrations of active ingredients (around 5% lidocaine) and provide shorter durations of action (around 1-2 hours). They are suitable for small or simple tattoos that do not require extensive sessions or deep penetration.

On the other hand, prescription-numbing creams are stronger and more effective than OTC options. They usually have higher concentrations of active ingredients (up to 20% lidocaine) and provide longer durations of action (up to 4-6 hours). Prescription numbing creams are ideal for large or complex tattoos requiring lengthy sessions or deep penetration.

They can only be obtained from a doctor or a tattoo artist with a medical license. It is also important to note that prescription numbing creams carry more potential risks and side effects than OTC options.

How to Use Numbing Cream Before Getting a Tattoo?

For applying cream before a tattoo, following specific steps to guarantee its safety and effectiveness is crucial. Here are some comprehensive guidelines on properly utilizing numbing cream when preparing for a tattoo session:

Preparation Steps

  • Make sure your skin is clean and dry before applying numbing cream. Cleanse the area with soap and water, then gently dry it with a clean towel.
  • If you have any allergies or medical conditions affecting your skin or reaction to numbing cream, it's important to consult your doctor or tattoo artist before using it.
  • Carefully read and adhere to the instructions on the label to avoid complications. Pay attention to the recommended amount to apply, the waiting time before getting tattooed, and how often to reapply if necessary.
  • Perform a patch test on a small area of your skin before applying numbing cream to a larger area. Apply a thin layer of the cream to an inconspicuous spot, such as your inner arm, and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction (redness, itching, swelling, or burning), wash off the cream immediately and discontinue use. If there are no adverse effects, apply the numbing cream to the desired area.
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Application Process

  • Apply a thick layer of numbing cream on the desired tattoo area. Avoid massaging or rubbing it into your skin. The amount needed depends on the tattoo size and cream strength. Typically, use 1-2 grams per 10 square centimeters of skin.
  • Cover the area with plastic wrap to seal in moisture and prevent evaporation or cream rubbing off. Secure the edges with tape. Avoid using materials like cotton or paper, as they may absorb the cream and reduce effectiveness.
  • The cream should be left on for the recommended amount of time. Over-the-counter creams take about 30-60 minutes to take effect, while prescription creams may take 2-3 hours. Avoid leaving it on longer than recommended to prevent skin irritation or damage.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and wipe off excess cream with a clean tissue or cloth. Avoid washing off the cream with water, as it may reduce effectiveness. The skin should feel numb and cold to the touch. If you still feel pain or sensation, reapply more cream or wait longer.

Timing for Applying Numbing Cream

Timing is crucial when using pain relievers before getting tattooed. It impacts the duration and quality of your tattoo session. Apply the cream at the right time for maximum effect during the tattooing process and to ensure it lasts throughout your session.

When applying pain relief cream before getting a tattoo, the timing depends on the brand and type of cream used, size and complexity, skin sensitivity, and the tattoo artist's speed and skill. Generally, apply numbing cream 1-2 hours before your session, considering its effectiveness duration and your tattooing duration.

For instance, if you're using an OTC numbing cream that takes around 30 minutes to start working and lasts about 2 hours, apply it approximately an hour before getting a tattoo. Prescription numbing creams that take about 2 hours to start working and last about 4 hours should be applied around 3 hours before getting a tattoo.

These are approximate figures, so you might have to modify them based on your circumstances. You can also seek guidance from your tattoo artist regarding applying numbing cream before getting inked.

Numbing Cream for Different Tattoo Locations

Certain tattoo placements can be more uncomfortable than others, influenced by the presence of nerves, blood vessels, and fatty tissue in those areas. Here are a few examples of the most painful tattoo spots:

Tattoos on Ribs

Getting a tattoo on the ribs can be incredibly painful. Ribs have numerous nerve endings and minimal fat or muscle tissue for cushioning. Additionally, the skin on the ribs is thin and sensitive, making it prone to bruising and swelling.

While numbing cream can help alleviate the pain, it may not eliminate it. You may require stronger numbing creams or higher dosages to ensure sufficient numbness.

Tattoos on Foot

Tattooing the foot can be particularly painful due to the high concentration of nerve endings and limited fat and muscle tissue cushioning. The foot's thin and sensitive skin is susceptible to bleeding and infection.

While numbing cream can provide some relief during the process, it may not eliminate pain. It might be necessary to explore alternative numbing creams or higher doses to achieve the desired level of numbness.

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Wrist Tattoos

Tattooing on the wrist can be quite painful due to the abundance of nerve endings and the lack of muscle or fat to cushion the pain. Additionally, the skin in this area is thin and sensitive, which increases the likelihood of irritation and inflammation.

Even though numbing cream can ease some pain associated with wrist tattoos, it may not eliminate discomfort. Consider using more powerful numbing creams or a higher dosage to achieve the optimal numbing effect.

Small Tattoos

Small tattoos are generally less painful compared to larger ones, attributed to shorter ink sessions and less needle penetration. The level of discomfort can vary depending on the location and design.

For instance, small tattoos on bony areas like fingers, toes, elbows, and knees, or intricate areas like ears, lips, and eyes, might elicit more discomfort than those on fleshy arms, legs, and chest.

Numbing cream may help alleviate the pain of getting a small tattoo, although the quantity and potency required may not be as extensive as for larger tattoos.

Piercing Tattoos

Piercing tattoos are a form of body modification that features the skin with jewelry or other objects. Unlike regular tattoos, they tend to be more painful due to the additional trauma and damage caused to the skin.

Moreover, they pose a greater risk of infection and rejection. To alleviate the discomfort associated with getting a piercing tattoo, applying a potent numbing cream or a higher dosage may be necessary to achieve optimal numbness.

Dosage and Application Techniques

Techniques for using tattoo numbing cream

The dosage and application techniques can influence the safety and effectiveness of numbing cream. It is important to balance using enough cream to numb the area and avoiding excessive amounts that may cause adverse effects. Additionally, maximizing the absorption and penetration of the cream into the skin is crucial.

Determining the dosage of numbing cream depends on various factors, including its brand and type, the size and location of your tattoo, and your pain tolerance.

Generally, a recommendation of around 10 square centimeters for 1-2 grams is a good starting point, although individual needs may vary. Seeking advice from your doctor or tattoo artist can provide further guidance on the appropriate amount of numbing cream.

Application techniques for numbing cream also vary depending on the specific type and brand and the instructions and warnings provided on the label. As a general guideline, it is advisable to apply the cream in a thick layer, cover it with plastic wrap, and follow the recommended duration.

Individual circumstances may require adjustments to these steps. Seeking guidance from a tattoo artist or doctor will help you navigate the best approach for applying numbing cream.

Benefits of Using Numbing Cream for Tattoos

There are numerous advantages to using numbing cream for tattoos, including:

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Top 9 Advantages of Numbing Cream

Using numbing cream for tattoos can make the experience more painless and enjoyable:

  • It helps you relax and stay calm during the session, reducing stress.
  • You won't flinch or move, creating a more precise and high-quality tattoo.
  • It prevents excessive sweating or bleeding, reducing infection and scarring risks.
  • It promotes faster healing and less irritation after the session.
  • You can get larger or more complex tattoos without unbearable pain.
  • It allows for tattoos in sensitive or painful areas.
  • You can get multiple tattoos in one session without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Your focus can be on the design and meaning rather than the pain.
  • Overcoming fear and challenging yourself makes the experience more rewarding.

Calming Itch with Numbing Cream

Numbing cream can help calm the itchiness after getting a tattoo. Itching is a common part of the healing process, but it can be annoying and uncomfortable, especially if it is intense or persistent. Scratching or rubbing the tattoo can damage the skin and affect the quality of the tattoo.

Numbing cream can provide relief by blocking itch signals sent by the skin. This makes you feel less or no itchiness in the treated area. The cream can soothe and moisturize the skin, reducing dryness and irritation that may cause itching.

It's important to remember that numbing cream is not a substitute for proper aftercare for your tattoo. Always follow the instructions given by your tattoo artist on how to clean, protect, and care for your tattoo. Avoid using products or engaging in activities that may irritate or infect your tattoo, such as alcohol, perfume, sun exposure, or swimming.

Enhancing The Tattooing Experience

Tattoo numbing cream enhances the tattooing experience

Numbing cream can elevate the tattoo experience, creating excitement and joy. Getting a tattoo is not merely a physical process; it encompasses the mental and emotional realms. It is a means of self-expression, a way to create art, convey stories, and make statements that reflect our personality, values, and interests.

With the aid of numbing cream, the focus shifts from the discomfort to appreciating the beauty and creativity of the tattoo design. Free from distracting pain, you can fully immerse yourself in the intricate details, communicating with your tattoo artist effortlessly. The atmosphere of the tattoo studio becomes even more enjoyable as any anxiety or stress dissipates.

Furthermore, numbing cream lends an adventurous and exhilarating edge to the tattooing experience. It allows you to challenge yourself, pushing your boundaries and embracing the thrill. The fear that might have held you back is no longer a hindrance, enabling you to pursue bolder and more daring tattoo designs confidently.

Spontaneity becomes an option, as you can fearlessly embrace impulsive and innovative ideas that would have otherwise seemed too risky or regrettable. Numbing cream empowers you to explore more, bringing complexity and artistry to your tattoos without being constrained by pain.

In summary, numbing cream transforms the tattooing experience, making it fun and exhilarating. It liberates you from discomfort, enhances your ability to express yourself, and encourages you to embrace the adventurous side of tattoo artistry.

Tattoo Removal and Numbing Cream

Numbing cream can assist with tattoo removal. Tattoo removal involves fading or removing an unwanted tattoo from the skin using methods like laser, surgery, or dermabrasion. Removal of tattoos can be costly, painful, and risky.

Numbing cream helps reduce or eliminate the procedure's pain, making it more bearable and affordable. It can also help prevent or minimize damage and complications, including scarring, infection, and bleeding.

Remember, numbing cream isn't a magic solution for tattoo removal. It's important to consult a professional tattoo removal specialist who can recommend the best method for your situation. Additionally, following the specialist's aftercare instructions is crucial for proper healing and skin care after the procedure.

Tattoo Quality and Numbing Cream

Cream for numbing and quality tattoos

Using numbing cream can have positive and negative effects on the quality of your tattoo. On the one hand, it can enhance the outcome by preventing flinching or movement during the session, reducing the chances of mistakes. It also helps control sweating or excessive bleeding, which can blur the ink.

It's important to note that numbing cream may also impact the texture and appearance of your skin, potentially making it challenging for the tattoo artist to work on. Swelling or tightening the skin during the session can complicate the process, while dryness or cracking afterward can affect healing and ink retention.

To ensure the best results, it's crucial to exercise caution when using numbing cream for tattoos. Selecting the appropriate type and amount for your situation is necessary. Effective communication with your tattoo artist about your use of numbing cream is also vital, as they can advise on achieving the best quality for your tattoo.

Risks and Considerations

Numbing cream for tattoos has its fair share of risks and factors. Using such creams may present potential dangers and drawbacks, including.

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Potential Dangers of High-Percentage Numbing Cream

High-percentage numbing cream refers to a specially formulated type of anesthetic cream with an exceptionally high concentration of active ingredients, such as lidocaine, typically surpassing 10%. This potent variant effectively numbs the skin, but caution must be exercised due to the elevated risk of potential adverse effects and complications.

Using high-percentage numbing cream can pose several risks, including:

  • Allergic reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to ingredients like lidocaine, benzocaine, and tetracaine. These reactions can range from mild symptoms like rash and itching to severe ones like swelling and difficulty breathing.
  • Skin irritation: Certain ingredients like alcohol and menthol may cause redness, burning, and peeling, particularly for sensitive skin. The extent of irritation can vary depending on individual skin type and condition.
  • Skin damage: Damaged skin may be more susceptible to ingredients like acid and salt found in high-percentage numbing creams. This can lead to blistering, bleeding, infection, and scarring, with the severity dependent on skin health and history.
  • Systemic toxicity: Over-absorption of certain cream ingredients into the bloodstream can occur, especially with excessive or frequent use. Symptoms of systemic toxicity may include dizziness, nausea, headache, confusion, and seizures, varying based on metabolism and dosage.

It is essential to use caution when applying high-percentage numbing cream for tattoos. Seek the supervision of a physician or tattoo artist experienced in medical expertise. Read and follow the directions on the cream label diligently while continually monitoring your skin and body for adverse effects. Any signs of complications should prompt immediate medical attention.

Numbing Cream and Tattooist Perspectives

Perspectives on numbing cream and tattooists

Numbing cream can affect a tattoo artist's views and attitudes towards your tattoo. Not all artists are fans of numbing cream and may refuse to work with clients who choose to use it. There are several reasons why artists dislike numbing cream, including:

Why Don't Tattoo Artists Use Numbing Cream: 6 Reasons

  • Numbing cream can interfere with their work: Using cream may cause your skin to swell or tighten, making it more difficult for your tattoo artist to work on. Additionally, numbing cream can dry or crack your skin, impacting your tattoo's healing process and longevity.
  • Numbing cream can affect their reputation: Using numbing cream can negatively affect your tattoo appearance, giving an inaccurate representation of your tattoo artist's skills and quality. This can result in disappointment and dissatisfaction with your tattoo, potentially harming the artist's reputation and reviews.
  • Numbing cream can reduce their income: Using numbing cream for your tattoo can help you save time and money. It may impact your tattoo artist's earnings and discourage you from tipping or visiting them again. This can affect their customer loyalty and retention.
  • Numbing cream can insult their professionalism: Using numbing cream may imply a lack of trust or respect for your tattoo artist's skills and professionalism. It can also indicate a lack of appreciation for their artistic abilities and creativity.
  • Numbing cream can undermine their philosophy: It can conflict with a tattoo artist's philosophy and artistic vision. Many artists perceive pain as an essential aspect of the tattoo experience, symbolizing sacrifice, commitment, courage, and more. For some artists, pain is a means of communication and connection, fostering trust, empathy, and respect between them and their clients.
  • Numbing cream can offend their culture: Using numbing cream during tattooing can disrespect the artist's culture and tattooing tradition. Many artists follow specific cultural or traditional practices that view pain as an important and symbolic aspect of tattooing, like tribal, Japanese, or Polynesian styles.

Be respectful and considerate to ensure the proper use of numbing cream for tattoos. Communicate with your tattoo artist, listen to their advice, and choose an artist aligned with your preferences.

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How Numbing Cream Affects Tattoo Quality

Numbing cream can affect tattoo quality, both positively and negatively. It prevents movement or flinching during the session, avoiding mistakes in the design. Additionally, it minimizes excessive sweating or bleeding, preventing ink dilution or blurring.

Numbing cream can negatively impact tattoo quality by altering skin texture and appearance. It may cause swelling or tightness during the session, making it difficult for your artist. Additionally, it can cause dryness or cracking post-session, affecting healing and ink retention.

Be cautious when applying numbing cream to tattoos. Ensure you use the right type and amount, and communicate with your tattoo artist to ensure the best quality tattoo.

Effects on Tattoo Removal and Laser Procedures

Numbing cream can affect tattoo removal and laser procedures. These procedures help remove or fade unwanted tattoos by using intense light beams or pulses to break down pigment particles in the skin.

Numbing cream reduces pain during the procedure, making it more bearable and cost-effective. It may interfere with absorbing and absorbing light beams or pulses.

The cream can cause swelling or tightening of the skin, making it harder for the light to reach the pigment particles. It can also lead to dryness or cracks in the skin after the procedure, affecting healing and pigment removal.

To avoid complications, it's important to use numbing cream under the supervision of a professional tattoo removal or laser specialist. Follow the instructions and warnings on the cream's label carefully. Watch for any adverse effects and seek medical attention if needed.

Choosing The Right Numbing Cream

Making the Right Choice for Numbing Cream

Picking the right tattoo numbing cream can be tricky. There are many things to consider, like the type, brand, how long it lasts, what’s in it, how much it costs, where to buy it, and more. Finding a numbing cream that fits your needs and that your tattoo artist approves of and suggests is important.

When selecting a numbing cream for tattoos, several factors should be considered:

  • Cream Type: Decide if you want an over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription numbing cream. OTC creams are more accessible and affordable but may not last as long. Prescription creams are stronger and longer-lasting but can be more expensive and restricted.
  • Brand Research: Take the time to research and compare different numbing cream brands. Look for ones with a good track record of safety and effectiveness, positive customer feedback, and recommendations from tattoo artists.
  • Strength: Choose a cream like Dr. Numb® containing lidocaine in the right amount. It should be strong enough to numb your skin without causing complications.
  • Duration: Find a numbing cream that lasts your tattoo session but doesn't cause skin irritation or damage by lasting too long.
  • Ingredients: Check the ingredients list for substances that may cause allergies or skin irritation. Avoid ingredients you know are allergic or sensitive to or may interact with other medications you are taking.
  • Price: Consider the cost of the numbing cream in your budget. Look for an affordable and reasonable option, but avoid cheap or low-quality creams.
  • Availability: Choose a numbing cream that is easy to find and use while being legal and ethical.

Numbing Cream in Practice

Numbing cream is a well-established and widely recognized practice in the tattooing industry. Diverse individuals have adopted its application for various reasons and purposes. Let's explore real-world scenarios showcasing how different groups utilize numbing cream effectively.

Blogger's Experiences with Numbing Cream

Bloggers have shared experiences with tattoo-numbing cream on their blogs and social media accounts. They give honest opinions and reviews on various aspects: type, brand, strength, duration, application method, timing, benefits, drawbacks, etc.

Some bloggers praise numbing cream for making tattoo experiences more comfortable. They claim it reduces or eliminates pain, relaxes nerves, and doesn't affect tattoo quality.

Others criticize numbing cream for problems like not working as advertised or causing adverse effects. Some bloggers provide mixed or neutral feedback, suggesting readers research and decide for themselves.

Tattooist’s Preferences for Numbing Cream

Many tattoo artists express their preferences for using topical numbing cream for tattooing on their websites and social media platforms. They share their professional opinions and recommendations on various aspects of numbing cream, including brands, strengths, durations, application methods, timings, side effects, benefits, and drawbacks.

Some tattoo artists support using numbing cream, especially for clients with low pain tolerance or those getting large or complex tattoos. They believe it can improve the tattoo experience, cooperation, and communication without affecting the quality or appearance of the tattoos.

Some tattoo artists oppose numbing cream, particularly for clients with high pain tolerance or those getting small or simple tattoos. They argue that it can compromise the essence and professionalism of tattooing, impacting tattoo quality and appearance.

Other tattoo artists remain flexible about numbing cream, considering individual situations and preferences. They acknowledge the pros and cons and advise clients to research and decide independently whether to use a numbing cream.

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Tattoo Enthusiasts and Numbing Cream

Many tattoo enthusiasts have used or considered numbing cream for tattoos for various reasons. They share experiences and opinions on different aspects like types, brands, strengths, duration, application methods, timing, benefits, drawbacks, etc.

Some tattoo enthusiasts love using numbing cream as it makes the tattoo experience more comfortable. It helps overcome fear or anxiety and cope with the pain or discomfort of the tattoo session without affecting the tattoo's quality or appearance.

Some tattoo enthusiasts hate numbing cream because it makes tattooing less authentic and meaningful. It takes away the challenge, thrill, and pride of enduring the pain and affects the appearance or quality of the tattoo.

Some tattoo enthusiasts are ambivalent or curious about using numbing cream. They have mixed feelings about its advantages and disadvantages, wondering if they would use it again. They want to learn more about numbing cream and its effects on tattoos.

Real Facts and Myths About Tattoo Numbing Cream

Tattoo Numbing Cream Facts and Myths

Many myths and facts regarding tattoo numbing cream abound within the realm of tattooing. While certain assertions hold and are accurate, others are false and misleading. Let us explore a selection of veritable facts and prevalent misconceptions encompassing tattoo numbing cream.

Real Facts

  • Numbing cream can help lessen or eliminate the pain of getting a tattoo. It stops nerve impulses that carry pain signals to the brain from the skin.
  • Numbing cream can help prevent flinching or moving while getting a tattoo. This is accomplished by blocking the signals that tell your muscles to move.
  • Numbing cream can help reduce excessive sweating or bleeding during a tattoo session. It does this by constricting the blood vessels on the skin.
  • Using numbing cream after a tattoo can help you recover faster and improve healing. It reduces skin inflammation and irritation.
  • Numbing cream can help you get larger or more intricate tattoos that would otherwise be too painful or time-consuming. It works by increasing your pain threshold and endurance.
  • Using numbing cream will make it easier to do painful or sensitive tattoos. It numbs your skin, making it less uncomfortable.
  • Numbing cream can help you enjoy and feel more confident about your tattoo. It allows you to focus on the design and significance rather than the pain.
  • Using numbing cream during a tattoo can make the experience easier and more rewarding. It helps you conquer fear and push your limits.
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  • Using numbing cream can potentially cause permanent damage to your nerve endings, leading to a long-lasting numbing effect on your skin.
  • Numbing cream can help your skin become less sensitive by changing how you perceive pain.
  • Using numbing cream can lead to skin infections or diseases by introducing harmful bacteria or chemicals into your skin.
  • Using numbing cream may result in skin scarring or discoloration, causing changes in pigmentation or texture.
  • Using numbing cream can cause your tattoo to fade or disappear because it interferes with how the tattoo ink is absorbed or retained.
  • Tattoos that have been numbing creamed can become blurry or distorted. This occurs because the cream affects how the tattoo ink is distributed or aligned.
  • Using numbing cream can devalue the meaning of your tattoo, making it less significant.
  • Using numbing cream can make your tattoo experience less exciting or enjoyable, removing the fun factor.

Advantages for Those Scared of Needles

Fear of needles: advantages

Numbing cream can benefit those scared of needles. Needle phobia is a common and serious condition that affects many, causing panic, anxiety, or fainting. It can hinder medical treatments like vaccinations or blood tests.

By reducing pain and discomfort, numbing cream helps those scared of needles during tattoo sessions, lessening stress and anxiety. Additionally, it prevents the sight or feeling of needle piercing, which can trigger aversions.

Numbing cream isn't a cure for needle phobia. It provides temporary relief, making tattoos bearable. Seek professional help, therapy, medication, or hypnosis to address underlying causes of needle phobia, like trauma or negative associations.

Numbing Creams in the Tattooing Industry (Current Trends)

Numbing creams have gained popularity in the tattooing industry lately. As per a 2023 report from Inked Magazine, they have emerged as a top trend. The report highlights that more tattoo artists and clients are using numbing creams for various reasons, including:

  • To meet the needs and desires of clients who want extensive or intricate tattoos that require longer sessions or deeper penetration.
  • To bring in and keep more clients who can't tolerate pain or are afraid of needles.
  • To improve and make their work more efficient, tattoo artists prevent clients from flinching or moving during the session.
  • Businesses can provide numbing creams as an extra service or product to boost and expand their earnings and profits.

Does Numbing Cream Really Work?

Numbing cream is a hot topic in the tattooing world. Some people swear by it, while others swear against it. Some say it works wonders, while others claim it doesn't. Some say it's safe, while others say it's dangerous.

The truth is that numbing cream works for some, but only for some. Its effectiveness depends on factors like:

  • Type and brand: Different creams have different ingredients, concentrations, durations, and modes of action, affecting how well they numb the skin.
  • Dosage and application: Varying amounts and methods can impact how much and how deeply the cream numbs.
  • Timing and duration: Using the cream at different times and for different durations affects when and how long the numbing occurs.
  • Tattoo size and location: The size and location influence pain levels and sensitivity, determining how much numbing is necessary.
  • Personal pain tolerance: Everyone's pain threshold differs, affecting how they perceive and respond to pain.

Safety is also influenced by various factors, including:

  • Type and brand: Creams differ in ingredients, concentration, duration, and methods of action, impacting their safety for the skin and body.
  • Dosage and application: Different methods and amounts affect how deeply the cream penetrates the skin and bloodstream, potentially causing adverse effects.
  • Timing and duration: The time the cream stays on the skin and in the body can lead to skin irritation, damage, or systemic toxicity.
  • Tattoo size and location: The area exposed to the cream can cause allergic reactions, infections, scarring, and more.
  • Personal health condition: Individuals' specific health conditions, allergies, medications, etc., can affect how they react to numbing cream or how it interacts with other substances in their body.

There's no definitive answer on whether numbing cream works. It depends on various factors like the person, tattoo, and type of cream. Try it with proper guidance and supervision to determine if it works for you.

How to Choose the Best Numbing Cream for Tattoos?

A guide to choosing the best numbing cream

Selecting the ideal cream for tattoo numbing can be challenging due to various crucial factors. These factors encompass the cream's type, brand, strength, duration, ingredients, price, and availability. It is vital to find a numbing cream that aligns with your preferences and requirements while also gaining the approval and recommendation of your tattoo artist.

When deliberating on the finest numbing cream for tattoos, several considerations come into play.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Numbing Cream

  • The type of numbing cream: You can decide between OTC and prescription creams for your tattoo. OTC options are easier to get and cost less, but they may need to be stronger and longer. Prescription creams are stronger but more expensive, and you need a doctor's prescription or a licensed artist's supervision to use them.
  • The brand of numbing cream: To find the best numbing cream, research and compare different brands. Consider their quality, reputation, reviews, and more. Look for a brand with a proven safety and effectiveness track record and positive feedback from customers and tattoo artists. Dr. Numb® is one of the best-selling numbing cream brands in 2024 that works best for tattoos and is known for its effectiveness.
  • The strength of numbing cream: Choose one with the right concentration of active ingredients (like lidocaine) for your needs. Find a strong cream that will numb your skin without creating complications. Lidocaine concentrations in numbing creams vary from 4% to 20%, with higher concentrations providing stronger and longer-lasting effects.
  • The duration of numbing cream: Select the appropriate duration for your needs. It should last long enough to cover your tattoo session without causing skin irritation or damage. The duration of numbing creams varies from 1 to 6 hours, The type of product and the brand will determine the price. Generally, the longer the duration, the more effective and convenient the numbing effect.
  • The ingredients of numbing cream: Check the ingredient list of your numbing cream for potential allergies, skin irritation, or interactions with medications/substances you use. Avoid ingredients you're allergic/sensitive to. Common numbing cream ingredients include lidocaine, benzocaine, tetracaine, prilocaine, epinephrine, menthol, alcohol, acid, salt, etc. Natural ingredients may include aloe vera, green tea extract, shea butter, jojoba oil, vitamin E, lecithin, etc.
  • The price of numbing cream: When choosing a numbing cream, it's important to consider its cost and how it fits into your budget. Try to find a reasonable and affordable option, avoiding anything too cheap or low-quality. The price of numbing creams can vary from $10 to $100 per tube or bottle, according to the type and brand. Remember, higher-priced creams tend to offer better quality and performance.
  • The availability of numbing cream: Consider the availability of your numbing cream schedules. Choose a cream that is easy to obtain and use while remaining legal and ethical. Availability can vary based on type and brand. OTC numbing creams are widely available online or in pharmacies without a prescription. Prescription creams require a doctor or a licensed tattoo artist to apply.

Reading Reviews and Recommendations

Numbing cream reviews and recommendations

Reading reviews and recommendations from previous users is key to picking a tattoo-numbing cream right for you. They offer valuable insights and feedback on using numbing creams, such as:

  • Numbing cream's effectiveness and reliability: Reviews and recommendations can give insight into how well it reduces tattoo pain, duration, and consistency.
  • Safety and compatibility of numbing cream: Reviews and recommendations reveal its skin and body safety and compatibility with tattoo artists and ink.
  • Pros and cons of numbing cream: Information and reviews outlining its benefits and drawbacks for tattoos and tips for proper and effective usage.

You can discover reviews and recommendations for numbing creams for tattoos from different sources:

  • Online platforms: Find reviews and recommendations of numbing creams for tattoos on websites, blogs, forums, and social media. Search keywords like "best tattoo numbing cream," "tattoo numbing cream reviews," and "tattoo numbing cream recommendations." Look for specific brands or types you're interested in. Be cautious of biased, inaccurate, or fake online reviews.
  • Tattoo artists: Get reviews and recommendations from experienced tattoo artists. Ask your tattoo artist or trusted artists for their opinions and advice. Look for artists specializing in or endorsing specific numbing cream brands or types. Respect their preferences and perspectives.
  • Tattoo enthusiasts: Seek reviews and recommendations from fellow tattoo enthusiasts with personal experience. Ask friends, family, or acquaintances with or planning to get tattoos. Look for enthusiasts with similar tastes or tattoos you're interested in. Consider everyone's pain thresholds and sensitivities may differ.
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How Numbing Cream Is Used in Tattooing?

To select the right numbing cream for tattoos, learning about its application is important. Understanding its purpose and correct usage can help determine if you require it and how to use it effectively.

Numbing cream is applied to the skin before or during a tattoo session to reduce pain. It blocks nerve signals that transmit pain along the skin of the skin to the brain, making the treated area feel less or no pain.

Using numbing cream in tattooing is more complex than it may seem. It requires following specific steps and guidelines to ensure safety and effectiveness. Let's explore some important factors to consider when using numbing cream in tattooing:

Preparation Steps

Before using numbing cream, ensure that your skin is dry and clean. Washed gently with soap and water, then dried with a clean towel. If you have allergies or medical conditions that may affect your skin or react to numbing cream, you should speak to your doctor before application.

Be sure to read and follow the cream's label. Apply a small amount on a hidden area like your inner arm and wait 15-30 minutes. If you notice any allergic reactions such as redness, itching, swelling, or burning, immediately wash off the cream and discontinue use.

The cream may be applied without causing any adverse effects. The cream should be applied to the desired area.

Application Process

Tattoo numbing cream application process

Numbing cream should be applied thickly to the area where you want a tattoo. Don't rub or massage it in. The amount you need depends on the size of your tattoo and the strength of the cream. Generally, use about 1 to 2 grams for every 10 square centimeters of skin.

Put plastic wrap over the area to keep the cream from evaporating or rubbing off. Tape the wrap in place. Don't use cotton or paper to cover it; they'll absorb the cream. Let the cream sit for the recommended time. OTC creams take 30-60 minutes to work, while prescription creams take 2-3 hours.

Leave it on only as recommended, as it may irritate your skin. After removing the plastic wrap, wipe away the excess cream with a tissue or cloth. Don't use water to wash it off, as it may reduce its effectiveness. Your skin should feel cold and numb. If you still feel pain, you may need to reapply or wait longer.

Timing For Applying Numbing Cream

Numbing cream application timing

The timing for applying numbing cream before tattooing is important. It affects how long and well your tattoo session goes. To get the best results, apply numbing cream at the right time. You want it to be most effective when you get tattooed and last throughout your session.

The best timing can vary depending on different factors. These include the type and brand of numbing cream, the size and complexity of your tattoo, the sensitivity of your skin, and the skill and speed of your tattoo artist. Apply numbing cream about 1-2 hours before your tattoo appointment.

Adjust the timing based on how long your numbing cream takes and how long your session will last. For example, if your over-the-counter numbing cream takes about 30 minutes to work and lasts 2 hours, apply it about an hour before your appointment.

If you're using a prescription numbing cream that takes around 2 hours to work, spread it on about 3 hours before your appointment. These are just rough estimates. You should adjust them based on your situation. You can also consult your tattoo artist for advice on when to apply numbing cream.

Can You Put Numbing Cream On a Fresh Tattoo?

For new tattoos, use numbing cream

If you plan to use numbing cream for new tattoos, you should know some tips and precautions for safe and effective use. Here are some general guidelines on applying numbing cream to a new tattoo:

  • Pick a suitable type and brand for your new tattoo. Choose one that fits your tattoo design, size, and location well. Also, make sure it's approved and recommended by your tattoo artist.
  • Apply the numbing cream only on the area where you'll get your new tattoo. Avoid putting it on other body parts or tattoos, as it can cause unwanted effects or problems.
  • Use the numbing cream only once before getting your new tattoo. Avoid reapplying it during or after the tattooing process. Using it again can interfere with healing or affect the quality and appearance of your new tattoo.
  • Apply the numbing cream in moderation, following the directions on the label. Use sparingly or too frequently, as it can lead to adverse effects or complications.
  • Keep an eye on your skin and body for any signs of adverse effects or complications after using the numbing cream. If you experience symptoms like rash, hives, itching, swelling, breathing difficulties, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, or seizures, seek medical attention immediately.
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Reducing Tattoo Removal Pain with Numbing Cream

To alleviate the discomfort of tattoo removal, numbing cream can be a valuable solution. Tattoo removal involves eliminating or fading unwanted or outdated tattoos from the skin, which can be achieved through methods like laser treatment, surgery, or dermabrasion.

Despite its benefits, tattoo removal can be painful, expensive, and potentially risky.

Using numbing cream during tattoo removal makes the procedure more tolerable and affordable as it reduces or eliminates the pain. Additionally, numbing cream can help prevent or minimize complications such as scarring, infection, or excessive bleeding.

It is crucial to remember that numbing cream does not provide a miraculous solution for tattoo removal. Seeking guidance from a professional and qualified tattoo removal specialist is crucial to determining your situation's most suitable method and expected outcome.

Furthermore, following the aftercare instructions provided by your specialist to promote proper healing and skin care post-procedure is essential.


Numbing cream for tattoos is a topical anesthetic used to numb the skin during a tattoo session. It has pros and cons, depending on cream type, strength, and tattoo details. Benefits include comfort, faster healing, and getting larger or more complex tattoos.

It can also cause adverse effects and impact the tattoo quality. Proper guidance, label instructions, and communication with your tattoo artist are crucial. Numbing cream isn't a solution for all. Seeking professional help is important. To determine whether it will work for you, try it under supervision.

Our recommended Product - Dr. Numb® 5% Lidocaine Cream - 30g
Matt Callard
I am a passionate traveler, as if traveling were my full-time job. I like to change my surroundings and environment, like changing desktop wallpaper. Nature increases the concentration in my writing, which helps brainstorming flow in my blood. I have a cat named Kitana. She is the most desperate about traveling, more than any other cat. How do I know? If I miss any tour in any week, she literally destroys my clothing with her wolverine nails.

I and my cat also participate in extreme activities like surfing, biking, hill tracking, paragliding, boating, etc. She was always there in my accidents, injuries, and stitches. She always sits on my lap when it hurts me most. The funniest part is that she has experienced all my tattoos. She sleeps on my blanket when I go through any painful experience.

My hobbies and lifestyle added many pain and injuries to my life. That is why I have a lot of experience in dealing with different levels of pain and burn. It influenced me to become a pain expert and share primary suggestions to handle any unwanted situations that hurt.


  • What is numbing gel for tattoos?

    Numbing gel for tattoos is a specialized topical anesthetic that can be rubbed onto the skin before or during tattooing. Its purpose is to numb the designated area and effectively interrupt the transmission of pain signals.

    By blocking nerve impulses at the skin-brain barrier, this soothing gel diminishes or eliminates the pain sensation, offering a more comfortable experience for the individual receiving the tattoo.

  • How is numbing gel different from numbing cream or spray?

    Numbing gel shares similarities with numbing cream or spray regarding ingredients, effects, and uses. Its thicker and more dense consistency sets numbing gel apart, making it easier to apply and less prone to rubbing off .

    Depending on the brand and type, numbing gel may provide a longer-lasting effect than numbing cream or spray.

  • What are the benefits of using numbing gel for tattoos?

    Using numbing gel for tattoos offers numerous benefits:

    • Pain is reduced or eliminated associated with getting a tattoo, enhancing comfort and enjoyment.
    • It prevents flinching or movement, improving the quality and efficiency of the tattoo artist's work
    • It allows more intricate or larger tattoos than would otherwise be possible.
    • It enables tattooing in sensitive or painful areas that would otherwise be unbearable.
    • It enhances overall satisfaction and confidence with your tattoo, creating a memorable and rewarding experience.

  • How much lidocaine is typically found in painless tattoo creams?

    Most painless tattoo creams contain a 5% concentration of lidocaine, the highest approved percentage for over-the-counter products. This amount is generally recognized as safe and effective for reducing pain during tattooing. However, it’s important to follow the application instructions provided with the product to ensure proper use and avoid potential side effects.

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