Remember the first time you seriously thought about getting a tattoo? You were probably super excited about the idea and started immediately searching for the perfect tattoo design. But, there was one thing you realized a bit later; tattoos hurt. And yes, generally speaking, tattoos do hurt to a certain extent. Usually, people experience discomfort, but depending on the location of the tattoo (as well as its size and color), tattoos can truly cause some serious pain.
Many of us have given up after remembering that getting a tattoo isn’t a painless process, especially if one is dealing with highly sensitive skin or general lower pain tolerance.
But, there is something called ‘numbing cream‘. A magical ointment is used to numb the potentially treated area and lower the pain and discomfort to the very minimum. However, going into the experience for the first time, people don’t really know how to handle the whole numbing cream moment; do we need to bring the cream to the appointment or will the tattoo artist provide it for us?
That is why we’re here; to discuss this rather important question and hopefully provide you with all the necessary information. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Do Tattoo Artists Use Numbing Cream
What Are Numbing Creams?
Before we get into the main topic, we first need to understand the hype for these numbing creams. What are they and do they really work?
Now, generally speaking, numbing creams are creams designed to act as some sort of anesthesia for your skin. The creams are made using nerve-numbing ingredients, like Lidocaine, as well as nerve blockers (tetracaine and benzocaine) to reduce pain and discomfort during certain pain-inducing treatments, in this case, for tattooing. So, we can say that numbing creams are basically a local anesthetic that ensures your ‘treatment’ goes as painlessly as possible.
The majority of numbing creams are designed to remain effective anywhere between 3 and 5 hours, which is super convenient for tattooing sessions lasting longer. We do have to point out that these are the expected outcomes of numbing cream use.
Truthfully, sometimes these numbing creams do not provide the promised results. That is because some of them are not FDA-approved. Nevertheless, the majority of these numbing creams are in fact FDA-approved for over-the-counter use.
Are Numbing Creams Safe?
Now that we know what numbing creams are, we need to also talk about their safety regarding general use and application.
Considering that the majority of these creams are FDA-approved for over-the-counter use, one would assume they’re completely safe. And that is true but only if you’re using the cream sparingly and occasionally. People who use numbing creams frequently risk their skin actually absorbing the numbing agents in the creams, which can lead to certain heart issues.
Despite them being safe for occasional application, one should keep in mind the following information, just in case;
- In some cases and people, numbing creams can be completely ineffective; they may not have the anesthetic effect
- Once the numbing effects cease, one may experience amplified pain in the treated/tattoed area
- Keep in mind that some people do experience allergic reactions when using numbing creams, especially during tattooing
- Sometimes the numbing cream can affect the tattoo artist’s work, therefore, can affect the final tattooing outcome
So, Do Tattoo Artists Provide Numbing Cream for Their Clients?
Now, here’s the problem; we cannot answer this question with a simple yes or no. Generally speaking, some tattoo artists do provide numbing creams for their clients, especially if the clients request them priorwhile others don’t. It is a kind of personal preference for tattoo artists.
We have also noticed that some tattoo artist either advise their clients to bring their own numbing creams or simply frown upon the very words ‘numbing cream’.
So, what we recommend is the following; when discussing a potential tattoo appointment or a design with your tattoo artist, try to mention the numbing cream question. Ask if they provide the cream, or if you have to bring your own. See how the tattoo artist feels about the use of the cream. If they seem dissatisfied with the idea, and you’re not willing to go through the whole tattooing ordeal without a little help from the numbing cream, then keep looking for another tattoo artist.
Try to ask about the numbing cream as early into your tattoo talks as possible. In some cases, you have to pay in advance, and it is rude to cancel the tattoo a day prior to the appointment. So, get all of the information as soon as possible so you can know whether to keep looking or not.
Note: Bear in mind that some tattoo artists might charge you extra for providing the numbing cream for you. This isn’t a rule in the industry, but some of them will charge more for this step. Moreover, the tattoo numbing cream needs to be applied before the actual tattooing; at least half an hour/an hour before the tattooing.
Numbing creams seem to be a controversial topic in the tattoo industry. While some tattoo artists believe the client should be as comfortable during the process as possible, other things numbing creams take away from the original tattoo experience and make people appreciate the work and craft less.
Therefore, make sure to check your tattoo artist’s stance on this topic right away. Then you will know whether they provide the cream or if they’re okay with you bringing your own; or if they don’t use the cream and they advise you against it as well.
Either way, make sure to always go for what feels right for you; if you truly have pain sensitivity issues or you simply want this experience to be as comfortable as possible, keep looking for a tattoo artist who is willing to make it comfortable for you.