No matter who you are or what you do for a living. Tattoos are among the most painful body modifications that you could undergo.
It doesn’t matter if you are a hardened dockworker, or a stay at home soccer mom.
You may need to use a tattoo numbing agent to help you get through your next tattoo.
Even if you’ve already had multiple tattoos done in the past. You may still want to consider using a tattoo numbing cream for your next tattoo, due to its location.
At the end of the day we all have different pain tolerances and its nothing to be ashamed of if you need a little help to get through the pain.
Do All Tattoo Artists Use Numbing Creams?
Not all tattoo artist advise the use of creams and some would even flat out refuse to tattoo anyone that wants to use them.
Their reasons could be from personal experience. Or their own feelings or beliefs over numbing agents.
A traditionalist artist might strongly believe that getting tattoos are a right of passage, and the pain is all part of it.
Or a more commercialized artist might want to make sure that all potential clients are catered for.
They may even stock creams, sprays or gels, if their state permits such a thing. Or advise their clients on how to use the numbing agents.
Other artist may of had a bad experiences with clients using creams.
Potential Side Effects
Everyone’s body is unique and as such we all respond differently to things like tattoo numbing creams, gels or sprays.
As such it would be best to test the tattoo numbing agent on the area you are considering to get tattooed a few days before hand.
Or on the day you make the booking to get the OK from the artist.
Not all creams are suitable for getting tattoos due to product quality or ingredients used.
Here are a few of the potential side effects caused by using the wrong types of products. Or from irritations and allergic reactions.
Things To Be Aware Of:
- Your skin could respond as if its been chilled, hardening or becoming less responsive.
- You may have an allergic reaction causing swelling and general soreness of the area it is applied.
- The cream may fail to provide the correct type of numbing effect, thus not numbing the procedure at all.
- When the numbing effect wears off there might be a shock to the system as the area on the tattoo suddenly feels pain amplifying the sensation even more.
- The tattoo artist may flat out refuse to do the work if you had not checked with them prior to the appointment.
- The numbing effect may wear off before the tattoo is finished.
- Additional applications may be required during the procedure extending the time it takes to complete the tattoo, increasing the cost of the tattoo.
- If the wrong type of cream is used, it could actually prevent the ink from inserting or setting into the skin correctly.
- The overall quality and look of the tattoo may be effected.
- Over application of the products could cause additional health problems.
We will be suggesting a few products that have been found to be safe for use when getting a tattoo.
As long as you test the products before getting your tattoo and follow the directions on the packet, they should be fine to use.
The products we go through later in this article are among the more popular tattoo numbing agents.
How Do Tattoo Numbing Agents Work
There are three main types of numbing agents available on the market.
Each one performs differently from the others, so things like:
- How long does it take to take effect?
- How long does it last?
- Can it be applied during the procedure?
- What happens once its worn off?
Will depend largely on the product being used, and the key ingredients found in said products.
The core types of numbing agents are:
1) Nerve Deadeners
- Containing chemicals such as Lidocaine.
- These products temporarily numb the nerves in the skin.
- They prevent these nerves from registering pain.
- Only effective at numbing the surface skin.
- Rarely sinks in below the surface layer.
- Good as a pre tattoo aid.
- Depending on the product, application may be needed 15-90 minutes prior to appointment.
- Wash off excess product.
- May take up to 30 minutes to take full effect.
- Could only last 30-120 minutes depending on your skin type.
2) Nerve Blockers
- Consisting of chemicals such as Tetracaine and Benzocaine.
- These products only lessen the level of the pain signals.
- You will still feel some level of pain and main flinch if you are sensitive to pain.
- Some products can be applied during the tattooing procedure.
- Others will need to be applied and washed off prior to the appointment.
- The time it takes from these products to take effect and how long they lasts is highly varied product to product.
- Can be used in conjunction with nerve deadeners.
- Some products may contain both nerve blockers and never deadeners.
- Produced using chemicals such as Epinephrine.
- Arguably the most powerful numbing agent available.
- These products cause the blood vessels to constrict.
- This can reduce blood flow caused from bleeding and/or swelling.
- Capable of slowing down the absorption of other chemicals, extending the duration of the other numbing agents.
- Quick acting and safe to use during the tattoo procedure.
- Products can consist of sprays and gels
- May also contain either of the other numbing agents or both.
- Due to the restriction of the blood flow there could be complications or delays with the healing process.
Tattoo Numbing Products
When looking for a tattoo numbing agent to use there are a few things to consider.
Namely that it contains the aforementioned chemicals or a combination of three (Lidocaine, Tetracaine/Benzocaine and Epinephrine) and that its within the alkaline pH levels lower then seven.
If you are unsure as to which is a good product to use, ask your tattoo artist.
They may stock some products behind the counter, or even use a green numbing soap already.
Here are a few products that might just be what you are looking for:
- Can last for up to 2 hours.
- Will not affect the inking or healing process.
- The only numbing agent formulated for use both before and during the tattooing.
- Effective for tattooing, Piercing, Cosmetic tattooing, Waxing, Tattoo removal, and many more.
- Temporary relief of pain, soreness or burning.
- Helps relieve discomfort and itching.
- External use only (not suitable for inner lip tattoos).
- Takes 20-25 minutes for numbness to take affect.
- Can last between 1-2 hours.
3) Numb Master
- Pre-treatment numbing gel.
- Non-oily, Non-sticky, and Non-Cakey.
- Fast penetrating water based formula.
- Optimal numbness reached in 20-25 minutes.
4) Blue Gel
- Fast numbing.
- Will not affect the inking or healing process.
- Needs to be applied during the tattoo process.
- Takes 2-5 minutes for numbing effect to take place.
- Lasts up to 2 hours.
5) Topicaine 5
- Temporary relief of pain and itching.
- 30 day money back guarantee.
- Quick acting topical anesthetic.
- Takes 30-60 minutes for the numbing affect to take place.
- Clear, Non-oily gel.
- Does not dry out upon application.
- Pain relief spray.
- Can be used during the tattooing procedure.
- Fast acting.
- Can be used in conjunction with other tattoo numbing products.
Remember to patch test any tattoo numbing agent you use. Be it creams, sprays or gels.
Follow the directions of use on the packages and remember to think before you ink.