Does Numbing Cream Affect Tattoos?

October 23, 2023

Does Numbing Cream Affect Tattoos?

Have you been thinking about getting inked, but you’re worried about handling the pain of the tattoo needle? If so, you may wonder if a numbing cream can help make the process easier without messing up your tattoo.

This article will closely examine the question, “Does numbing cream affect tattoos?” You’ll learn how numbing creams work on the skin, whether they interfere with the tattoo process, and tips for using them effectively.

Get ready to discover if numbing creams live up to their promise of pain relief during tattooing. Keep reading to become an expert on pairing numbing creams with tattoos for a smooth, comfortable experience.

Do Numbing Creams Work?

To determine if numbing creams work, it’s important to understand how they function. Numbing creams are designed to reduce or eliminate the pain of getting a tattoo. They contain active ingredients that block pain signals from reaching the brain. When applied to the skin, these creams penetrate the outer layer and numb the nerve endings, making the area less pain-sensitive.

But do numbing creams work? Yes, they can effectively reduce pain during a tattoo session. However, choosing a high-quality numbing cream formulated explicitly for tattoos is crucial. Not all numbing creams are created equal, and using an ineffective product may give you the impression that numbing creams don’t work at all.

When used correctly, a good-quality numbing cream can significantly reduce the discomfort of getting a tattoo. It allows you to relax and endure the process without being overwhelmed by pain. This can be particularly helpful for individuals with a low pain tolerance or those getting tattoos in sensitive areas.

It’s worth noting that while numbing creams can help with pain management, they don’t affect the outcome of the tattoo. The cream only numbs the skin temporarily, and once it wears off, you’ll still have a beautifully crafted tattoo.

How Do Numbing Creams Work?

Numbing creams work by numbing the nerve endings in your skin, providing temporary relief from pain during the tattoo process. Understanding how numbing creams work can give you a better idea of their effect on tattoos.

Here’s a breakdown of the different ways numbing creams work:

  • Nerve Deadeners: These creams contain chemicals like lidocaine that temporarily deaden the nerves, preventing them from registering pain. While they may be effective for surface pain, they aren’t practical for tattoos since most of the process works below the skin.

  • Nerve Blockers: These creams allow your nerves to register pain but prevent the pain signal from reaching your brain. Popular nerve blockers like tetracaine and benzocaine are often combined with nerve deadeners to minimize surface pain. They can provide a close to pain-free experience for clients during tattooing.

  • Vasoconstrictors: These are the most potent numbing agents available. They work by constricting blood vessels reducing bleeding and swelling. Numbing sprays like Vasocaine and Blue Gel often combine vasoconstrictors like epinephrine with other numbing agents for maximum effectiveness. Fast-acting and long-lasting vasoconstrictors are a popular choice among tattoo artists.

While numbing creams can temporarily relieve pain during the tattoo process, it’s important to consider their potential impact on the tattoo itself. In the following section, we’ll explore the question: ‘Does numbing cream affect tattoos?

Do Numbing Creams Affect Your Tattoo?

Before applying numbing cream, it’s essential to consider how it may affect the outcome of your tattoo. While numbing creams generally don’t affect the visual outcome of your tattoo, the quality of the product you use is crucial. Low-quality numbing creams can create a slippery effect on your skin, interfering with your tattoo artist’s work. To ensure the best results, it’s essential to inform your tattoo artist if you plan on using a numbing cream or if you have already applied one before your session.

It is also important to be cautious of fake or cheap local anesthetics, as they can potentially damage the quality of your tattoo. These substances may interfere with the tattoo ink, leading to undesired results. To avoid any complications, it’s recommended to consult with your tattoo artist before using any numbing cream. They’ll be able to provide recommendations and guide you in choosing a reliable brand.

Sometimes, tattoo artists may even advise their clients to apply numbing creams before their appointment. This allows the numbing agents to take effect, providing a more comfortable experience during tattooing.

How Do I Apply A Numbing Cream?

When applying a numbing cream, wash and dry the area where you’ll be getting tattooed to remove dead skin and oil, then apply a generous layer of cream using a sterile glove.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you apply the numbing cream correctly:

  • Start by washing the entire area of your skin where you’ll be getting tattooed and let it dry. This will remove dead skin and oil, allowing the numbing cream to penetrate effectively.

  • Apply ample cream on the area of the skin that will be worked on. Use a generous layer and apply it evenly using a sterile glove. The cream should be approximately 1mm thick all over the skin where the tattoo will go.

  • Cover the cream with cling wrap or a sterile cheesecloth-like material. This will help keep the cream in place and prevent it from rubbing off.

  • Depending on the thickness of your skin, leave the area covered for 45 minutes to an hour. It’s important not to exceed one hour, as going numbing creams on for longer may have adverse effects.

  • Your tattoo artist will wipe off the cream with a damp cloth before applying the stencil and starting the tattooing process.

Following these steps ensures that the numbing cream is applied correctly, providing you with a painless tattoo experience.

Remember to consult with your tattoo artist about any additional recommendations or precautions they may have regarding numbing cream.

Numbing Cream FAQs

Now, let’s address some common questions about numbing creams.

Will leaving the cream on longer make your skin stay numb for a more extended period of time?

What should you tell your tattoo artist about the numbing cream you’re using?

What if your tattoo artist refuses to use a numbing cream?

Is there a difference between water and glycerin-based numbing creams?

And finally, what does it feel like after using a numbing cream?

Let’s find out.

Will My Skin Stay Numb Longer If I Leave The Cream On Longer?

If you leave the numbing cream on longer, it won’t extend the duration of numbness. Keeping the cream on for too long can adversely affect your tattoo experience. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Impact on numbness: The numbing cream works by numbing the skin’s surface. Once it has reached its maximum effect, leaving it on longer won’t enhance the numbing sensation or prolong the numbness.

  • Uncomfortable tattooing: Leaving the cream on for an extended period can make your tattoo experience more uncomfortable. The excess cream can interfere with the tattooing process, making it harder for the artist to work and potentially resulting in a less precise tattoo.

What Should I Tell My Tattooer About The Numbing Agent I Use?

To ensure a smooth tattooing process, inform your tattoo artist about the specific numbing cream you plan to use. Communicating openly and honestly with your tattooer is important to ensure the best results.

Let them know the name of the numbing cream you intend to use for tattoos, whether it’s a lidocaine cream or any other type. By sharing this information, your tattooer can better understand the numbing agent’s effects and make any necessary adjustments to their process. This will help them gauge the sensitivity and pain you may experience during tattooing.

Additionally, discussing the numbing cream will allow your tattooer to provide specific aftercare instructions and address any concerns related to the cream’s impact on tattoo healing.

What If My Tattooer Refuses To Use A Numbing Cream?

If your tattooer refuses to use a numbing cream, it’s important to respect their decision and consider alternative options. Here are a few things you can do if your tattoo artist refuses to use a numbing cream:

  • Find a different tattoo artist: If using a numbing cream is important, it may be worth looking for a tattoo artist willing to accommodate your preferences.

  • Discuss applying your numbing cream: Talk to your tattoo artist about the possibility of using your numbing cream before the tattooing process. This way, you can still have some level of pain relief without compromising the outcome of your tattoo.

What’s The Difference Between Water And Glycerin-based Numbing Cream?

When comparing water-based and glycerin-based numbing creams, it’s essential to understand the difference between the two and how they can impact your tattoo.

Water-based numbing creams are generally recommended for tattooing because they’re less likely to interfere with the tattoo artist’s work. These creams don’t leave a slippery residue on the skin, allowing the artist to have better control and precision while creating your tattoo.

On the other hand, glycerin-based numbing creams can give your skin a slippery effect, making it more difficult for the tattoo artist to work on your tattoo.

Choosing a water-based numbing cream formulated explicitly for tattooing is essential to ensure the best outcome for your tattoo.

What Does It Feel Like After Using A Numbing Cream?

After using a numbing cream, you’ll experience a dulled sensation in the tattooed area. Here’s what you can expect to feel after using a numbing cream:

  • Reduced Pain: The numbing cream will help minimize the pain during the tattooing process, allowing you to endure the procedure more comfortably.

  • Tingling or Itching: Some people may experience a tingling or itching sensation after the cream wears off. This is a normal reaction and should subside within a few hours.

  • Sensitivity: As the numbing effect fades, you may feel discomfort or sensitivity in the tattooed area. This is because the cream’s numbing properties gradually wear off.

  • Normal Healing Process: After the numbing cream wears off, you’ll go through the normal healing process, which may include minor swelling, redness, and tenderness in the tattooed area.

Some Tattoo Artists Find That Numbing Cream Interferes With the Skin

According to some tattoo artists, numbing cream can interfere with the skin, causing texture changes and uneven stretching. When the cream is applied, it can alter the texture of the skin, making it feel spongy or mushy. This can create difficulties for tattoo artists as they work to execute a flawless design. The uneven stretching caused by numbing cream can also make it challenging to achieve the desired outcome. Additionally, some individuals may experience raised hive-like bumps after using numbing cream, further complicating the tattooing process.

These issues arise because numbing creams contain ingredients like lidocaine, which numbs the skin by blocking nerve signals. While this can temporarily relieve pain during a tattoo session, it also affects the skin’s natural properties. Tattoo artists strive for precision and a smooth canvas; numbing cream can disrupt this process.

It is important to note that not all tattoo artists have the same experience with numbing cream. Some may find it an effective tool that enhances the tattooing process. However, choosing the best numbing cream for tattoos is crucial, and following the instructions carefully to minimize any potential complications. Reading tattoo numbing cream reviews and consulting with a professional tattoo artist can help you decide whether to use numbing cream for your tattoo.

Everyone’s Body Is Different

Every individual’s body reacts differently to numbing cream. While some people may experience no issues with numbing cream for tattoos, others may have adverse reactions. This is because everyone’s body chemistry is unique, and what works well for one person may work less effectively for another. When it comes to numbing cream, it’s important to understand that various factors can influence how it affects you.

Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Sensitivity: Some individuals have naturally sensitive skin, which can make them more susceptible to reactions from numbing cream. It’s crucial to be aware of your skin sensitivity and communicate it with your tattoo artist.

  • Allergies: Allergies can also significantly affect how your body responds to numbing cream. Certain ingredients in the cream may trigger an allergic reaction, causing discomfort and potentially affecting the tattooing process.

  • Pain tolerance: Each person’s pain tolerance level is different. While numbing cream can help reduce pain during tattooing, it may not completely eliminate it for everyone. Understanding your pain threshold can help manage expectations when using numbing cream.

Numbing Cream Takes Time to Work

Before applying numbing cream, it’s essential to understand that it takes time to work. Most numbing creams contain lidocaine, a local anesthetic that needs approximately 30 minutes to take effect. If you’re planning to get a tattoo and want to use numbing cream, you must factor in this additional time before the tattooing process can begin.

To illustrate the time required for numbing cream to work, consider the following table:

Time (in minutes) Numbing Cream Effectiveness
0 No numbing effect
10 Minimal numbing effect
20 Mild numbing effect
30 Optimal numbing effect

As you can see, the numbing cream gradually takes effect over time, with the optimal effect achieved at the 30-minute mark. It’s important to keep this in mind when planning your tattoo session.

Tattoo artists may choose not to use numbing cream because it requires additional time for the cream to take effect. This can disrupt their schedule, especially if they have multiple clients waiting. Additionally, some artists may prefer not to rely on numbing cream and instead focus on their technique to minimize discomfort during tattooing.


Have you been thinking about getting inked, but you're worried about handling the pain of the tattoo needle? If so, you may be wondering if using a numbing cream can help make the process easier without messing up your tattoo.

In this article, we'll take a close look at the question “does numbing cream affect tattoos?” You'll learn how numbing creams work on the skin, whether they interfere with the tattoo process, and tips for using them effectively.

Get ready to discover if numbing creams live up to their promise of providing pain relief during tattooing. Keep reading to become an expert on pairing numbing creams with tattoos for a smooth, comfortable experience.

Numbing cream can be an effective way to minimize pain during tattooing. However, it’s important to note that some tattoo artists believe it can interfere with the skin and affect the quality of the tattoo.

Additionally, the effectiveness of numbing cream can vary depending on each individual’s body, and it may take some time for it to take effect fully.

So, before using numbing cream, it’s essential to consult with your tattoo artist and consider the potential impact it may have on your tattoo.

Can the price of comfort be a compromise for the perfect ink?

In conclusion, numbing creams can help reduce discomfort during tattooing if used properly. However, they do carry some risks in terms of interfering with the tattooing process and final results. It's important to have an open conversation with your artist about the pros and cons of using numbing cream for your specific tattoo. With some caution and care, you may be able to find the right balance between minimizing pain and achieving beautiful, quality inkwork.