One of the main reasons people avoid getting tattoos is the pain. No one likes pain, but also, many say that beauty is pain, so at the end of the day we’re all just very confused about this concept. However, what if we told you there is a way you can go through the whole tattooing process with the minimum pain and discomfort possible.
Well, have you heard of tattoo numbing creams? These are life-saving for anyone fearing tattoo pain. And let’s be frank, even the most experienced tattoo-owning individuals fear tattoo pain.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of tattoo numbing creams. We’ll see what they are, how they work, and which ones you should buy for your first or next tattoo session.
Tattoo Numbing Creams: Everything You Need To Know
What For Life’s Sake are Tattoo Numbing Creams?
Well, if you’re anything like the majority of people, you’re still wondering what these numbing creams really are. There are debates ongoing on the incredible worldwide web, and it seems that a few clicks on Google do the job of informing you about these creams. But, even so, the information you’re presented with doesn’t really grasp the main point.
So, let us start by saying that tattoo numbing creams are general numbing creams that can be utilized for many other occasions other than tattoos. These creams are designed using active nerve numbing ingredients to reduce the pain or discomfort sensation in different body areas.
Numbing creams, however, heavily rely on Lidocaine, which is a local anesthetic added to numbing products to reduce treatment discomfort. For example, many rejuvenating dermal fillers in cosmetic surgeries or procedures contain Lidocaine to reduce the pain and discomfort.
Numbing creams are designed to remain effective between 3 and 5 hours of tattooing, for example. In some cases though, they don’t last as long as originally intended. Nevertheless, the majority of these creams are FDA approved and allowed for over-the-counter use. So, it is rather easy to get your hands on a tattoo numbing cream these days.
How Do Tattoo Numbing Creams Work? – It’s All About The Ingredients!
As you’ve probably guessed correctly, tattoo numbing creams work by numbing the nerves to reduce nerve pain recognition and transfer to the brain pain centers. However, the core explanation of the way these creams work lies in the very ingredients used to make them. So, let’s take a quick look at the general ingredient list;
- Nerve deadeners (Lidocaine) – as we mentioned before, Lidocaine is the holy grail for numbing creams. Lidocaine as a local anesthetic prevents the nerves from recognizing or registering pain. Even if the nerve does register any pain, it is rather subdued and comes in form of a bit of discomfort.
It is important to emphasize, however, the Lidocaine stays on the surface of the skin, which means it won’t be helpful when the needle penetrates the skin during the tattoo session. However, it significantly reduces pain levels and makes them more bearable.
- Nerve blockers (tetracaine and benzocaine) – ingredients like nerve blockers ensure that your nerves recognize some levels of pain, but not all of the pain. Sounds good, right? However, on their own, nerve blockers don’t do much, so they need the assistance of the aforementioned Lidocaine to really push the pain down and ensure you a minimum-discomfort experience.
- Vasoconstrictors (epinephrine) – this hard-to-pronounce ingredient is probably even more important for a numbing cream than Lidocaine. Thanks to epinephrine, which ensures the blood vessels constrict where the cream is applied, the numbing cream lasts much longer. Furthermore, it also reduces potential bleeding and swelling during and after the tattoo session.
Are Numbing Creams Safe?
Well, numbing creams are FDA-approved and generally considered safe. And, let’s be real, they are safe when used properly, and when used for intended scenarios, like a tattoo session.
However, it is all painless fun and games until you start applying numbing cream like there’s no tomorrow.
When one uses numbing cream excessively and frequently, there is a higher risk of the numbing agents entering the bloodstream as they get absorbed by the skin. As a result, according to the FDA, people can experience seizures and heart attacks.
Nevertheless, here are some things everyone should consider before using a numbing cream;
- Numbing creams may be completely ineffective in some people
- One may experience amplified and enhanced pain in the tattooed area, once the numbing effects cease
- Sometimes people can experience allergic reactions to the numbing cream during the tattooing process
- Sometimes the numbing cream can affect the final tattoo design
Other Than For Tattoos, Why Are Numbing Creams Useful?
Numbing creams can be incredibly useful for tattoos. However, there is an array of numbing cream applications that we should also know about. For example, numbing creams can:
- Relieve Severe Sunburn, Thanks To Lidocaine
Numbing creams, that contain more than 5% of Lidocaine, can provide relief in cases of severe sunburn. The cream dulls the sunburnt skin, reduces pain and overall discomfort, and generally provides quick relief without the need for medication.
- Relieve Joint Pain, Especially In Cases Of Arthritis And Degenerative Bone Diseases
Joint pain, especially if it’s related to arthritis can be incredibly painful. Numbing creams have proven to provide pain relief in degenerative bone diseases, due to Lidocaine and its pain relief effects.
- Relieve Itching In Cases Of Scabies
Unlike scabies lotions and medication, numbing creams provide instant relief when it comes to itching. Numbing creams can also provide some relief when it comes to redness, flaking, and inflammation caused by scabies.
- Reduce Pain And Itching In Case Of Hemorrhoids
When it comes to hemorrhoids, the pain and itching can be incredibly annoying and significantly affect one’s quality of life. There are tons of creams used to reduce the swelling of inflamed veins around the anal area, however, the majority of them either work for a short while or don’t work at all. Numbing creams, therefore, have shown quite useful and effective in providing instant pain and itching relief in case of hemorrhoids.
Do Tattoo Artists Use Numbing Creams?
We have to be honest here; unless a client specifically asks for a tattoo numbing cream, the majority of tattoo artists won’t use such a product. One of the reasons why tattooists avoid numbing creams lies in the very experience of tattooing.
Many believe that pain is the main part of the experience, which makes the tattoo more special and valuable. Other reasons include numbing creams potentially messing up the tattoo design or making it hard for the tattooists to work properly.
Sometimes tattooists have a bad experience with a numbing cream where it doesn’t work and the client is still experiencing high pain levels. But, the tattooist needs to continue with the tattoo, since they’ve already started the process. This creates a difficult situation for both the client and the tattooist.
However, if the client is specifically asking for a tattoo numbing cream, tattooists will generally use the product in the hope the client has the best possible experience!
How Should You Use a Tattoo Numbing Cream?
If you’re using a tattoo numbing cream for the first time, here are some steps you should follow for the best, pain-free tattooing session experience;
- Step no.1 – Choose The Right Numbing Cream
As you will see in the following paragraphs, not every numbing cream good, and not every cream is suitable for different tattoos. It is essential to choose the right numbing cream if you want it to have any effect. For example, if a numbing cream has only Lidocaine or only epinephrine, then it will not last long enough, or it will not work properly. It is important to choose the numbing cream with the right ingredients and the right use intention.
- Step no.2 – Clean the Designated Tattoo Area
Before applying the numbing cream, it is important that the designated area is clean. So, for people receiving tattoos, try to come to your session clean; make sure to take a thorough shower before the session, and try to shave (carefully and gently) the area to be tattooed.
For the tattooists, make sure to also clean the designated area with a water-soap solution, to remove any excess dead skin or oil from the skin. You can use some alcohol cleaning wipes as well.
- Step no.3 – Apply the Numbing Cream
After everything is sparkling and clean, it is time to apply the numbing cream. The tattooist should apply a think coat of the cream and let it sit up to half an hour, or whoever long is recommended on the cream use instructions. Often, the thicker the skin to be tattooed, the longer it will take for the cream to start taking effect. So, make sure to not rush things during this step; this goes for both, the client and the tattooist.
- Step no.4 – Remove the Excess Cream
At this point, the cream has taken effect, and the to-be-tattooed area is numb. To start tattooing, the tattooist needs to remove any excess cream and wash the area again, or clean with some alcohol wipes. If any cream remains on the skin, the tattooist increases the risk of it ending up in the broken skin, and in your bloodstream.
The Best Tattoo Numbing Cream Brands Are….
1. Zensa Topical Anesthetic Numbing Cream – Best Overall
One of the best numbing creams on the market is the Zensa topical anesthetic cream. This product is fast-acting and provides pain relief in cases of tattoos, tattoo removals, piercings, injections, waxing, and other similar occasions.
- Ingredients – Zensa contains active ingredients like 5% Lidocaine, as well as purified water and vitamin E, to provide the best, inti-inflammatory effects. Because of the ingredients, Zensa is known to promote faster healing, especially of tattoos.
- Lasting period – Zensa, unlike some similar products, is designed to last over 3 hours. It will take between 30 and 45 minutes for the cream to completely absorb, but once it takes effect, you can be sure it will have a long-lasting period.
- Zensa cream comes with a federal government certification for safety and quality!
Zensa numbing cream is even recommended by professional tattoo artists around the globe. The reason lies in the fact that the cream doesn’t interfere with their work, nor does it mess up the design or the ink. It just helps the clients have a pain-free experience.
2. Uber Numb Topical Numbing Cream – The Longest Lasting
This fast-absorbing, long-lasting numbing cream is life-saving for thousands of people around the world who are about to get their first tattoo or a piercing. No other cream numbs the skin like this one. The cream is vitamin-enriched and contains active ingredients which prevent inflammation and do not interrupt the tattooing process.
- Ingredients – Uber Numb contains active ingredients like 5% Lidocaine. Alongside Lidocaine, the cream is water-based and contains vitamin E which acts anti-inflammatory and helps relieve pain and swelling.
- Lasting period – It will take the Uber Numb cream double application, twice in 20 minutes (or every 10 minutes). It will take up to 25 minutes to completely absorb. After absorption, the cream will provide numbing effects for up to 5 hours. However, the lasting period may vary, but customers claim the cream has lasted them up to 5 hours.
- Uber Numb cream has NOT been evaluated by the FDA!
Because Uber Numb is not FDA approved and evaluated, we recommend testing the cream for allergic reactions, by applying just a small amount onto the skin. If your skin starts turning red or swollen, wash the area and do not use the cream. Also, there have been cases where the cream hasn’t been effective in blocking the pain, so bear that in mind before you use it.
3. TKTX Numbing Cream – The Best Ingredients
Unlike other numbing creams, the TKTX cream contains a plethora of incredible ingredients. Each active ingredient works to prevent inflammation, swelling, and pain during a tattooing or piercing process. The cream can also be used for pain relief in case of permanent cosmetics, micro-needling, laser tattoo removal, or hair removal.
- Ingredients – TKTX numbing cream contains active ingredients like 7% Lidocaine, and 2% epinephrine. There are also ingredients like 2% prilocaine and a cream base. All of the ingredients work to prevent inflammation, swelling, and pain during the tattooing process.
- Lasting period – once applied, the TKTX cream will take up to 40 minutes to get completely absorbed and start taking effect. As such, the cream can last anywhere between 3 and 5 hours, keeping the skin numb and ensuring a pain-free process. The lasting period depends on the skin type and placement area on the body.
- Cost – for a 10g TKTX numbing cream tube you will pay $19.99 on reselling sites, and $12.99 when ordering directly from the TKTX store.
- TKTX numbing cream has NOT been evaluated by the FDA!
Even though this cream works like a charm, we still need to emphasize that it is NOT safe for people with heart disease, high blood pressure, women who are expecting or breastfeeding, and people allergic to any of the aforementioned ingredients. It is also not recommended for people with diabetes, UTI, or thyroid diseases to use numbing creams like TKTX.
4. Deeveeant Topical Numbing Cream – Amazon Best Seller
Sometimes, the stronger the numbing sensation, the more pain one feels after the numbing effects cease. This can create a serious pain issue because the pain sensation is amplified and felt all at once. However, with the Deeveeant numbing cream you won’t experience such a problem.
This cream contains the best active ingredients, but at a lower percentage. Its effects are more targeted and specialized for shorter tattoo sessions and gradual cessation of the numbing effects.
- Ingredients – the Deeveeant numbing cream contains active ingredients like 4% Lidocaine. However, alongside Lidocaine, there are also natural ingredients like aloe vera, tea tree, and jojoba to prevent inflammation, hydrate the skin, as well as prevent swelling and pain.
- Lasting period – because this cream is not as aggressive as the others, it is designed to provide numbing effects between 1 and 3 hours, depending on the skin type and the location on the body. The numbing effects start 30 minutes after the cream application.
- Deeveeant numbing cream has NOT been evaluated by the FDA!
The Deeveeant numbing cream is an Amazon bestseller for a reason. This cream simply works. However, we still advise with sensitive skin and open cuts to be cautious about using this cream. It can cause allergic reactions in people with skin conditions, sensitive skin, and similar issues. Furthermore, there were cases where this cream didn’t have any effect, so beware of such a possibility before you use it.
5. Ink Scribd Premium Tattoo Numbing Cream – The Fastest Acting Cream
Another excellent tattoo numbing cream comes from Ink Scribd and is specifically made to relieve pain during a tattoo session. Of course, the cream can be utilized for other purposes, like hair removal, laser tattoo removal, or micro-needling. Nevertheless, it is an exceptional numbing and painkilling product that prevents inflammations and ensures you have the best, pain-free tattoo experience.
- Ingredients – the Ink Scribd numbing cream contains active ingredients like 5% Lidocaine. However, there is also vitamin E for skin repair and swelling reduction. Together, these ingredients do not only kill the pain but also prevent inflammation and promote faster healing.
- Lasting period – upon applying, it will take up to 20 minutes for the cream to take effect. After that period, the numbing effects will last up to 2 hours.
- Ink Scribd numbing cream has NOT been evaluated by the FDA!
The Ink Scribs numbing cream is excellent, so much so that it’s even recommended by professional tattooists. It is designed to absorb into the skin fast and to last just enough for a tattoo session to be done. It is specifically designed for tattooing occasions, so it not only ensures a painless experience but also promotes faster tattoo healing.
The Bottom Line
If you fear tattoo pain or tattoo needles, tattoo numbing creams will be a life-saving product for you. We recommend, however, you do thorough research before using topical anesthetic products, or you consult with a medical professional. This especially applies in cases where someone experiences skin allergies or has a skin condition.
When buying a numbing cream, pay attention to the reviews and see into other people’s experiences with a particular product. Also, pay attention to the ingredient list and check for side effects. Sometimes numbing creams are not evaluated by the FDA, but they still provide the expected results, so don’t let that throw you away.
Just make sure you’re buying a high-quality, excellent-reviewed product. And, also, always make sure to consult a medical professional or a professional tattooist and see what their opinions are in regards to tattoo numbing creams.