top of page

Numbing creams

It is becoming more and more frequent with questions around the use of numbing creams.  Here is information going over frequently asked questions to help you with your decision to use, or not to use, any sort of products! 

What are numbing creams?

Skin-numbing creams are medications that function like a local anesthetic, reducing sensitivity to pain in the areas they are applied. These creams work by blocking nerve signals in the body.  These products come in a wide variety of forms such as creams, gels, and sprays.  For simplicity, we'll just refer to them as just creams hereon.

The creams are used for a wide variety of purposes, such as before minor medical procedures or cosmetic procedures (such as tattoos). They can also be used to treat pain from minor injuries!

Some skin-numbing creams are available over the counter (OTC), while others require a prescription. In either case, it's important to use any product under the guidance of a healthcare provider.  There are no serious side effects — just be wary if you have sensitive skin, common allergic reactions, or are breastfeeding. Depending on the form and dose it comes in, the effects of lidocaine should last anywhere from 30 minutes to five hours.

Generally, large scale pieces (like sleeve-work with sessions for long periods of time) or tattoos in highly sensitive areas (like ribs or neck) certainly can merit the use of numbing creams.  All tattoos hurt regardless, but for a small tattoo that will take no more than 5-10 minutes to do, may not be worth the effort of using numbing creams for.

what is lidocaine?

To choose the right product, you most definitely need to evaluate the ingredients. And your number one ingredient and tattoo session best friend is going to be lidocaine. This is the numbing agent itself.  Store bought or OTC products likely will contain other ingredients either including or additional to lidocaine.

Lidocaine is a synthetic compound used as a local anesthetic and analgesic medication. It works on the nerve endings in your skin to block pain signals. That means your nerve pain receptors aren’t recept-ing and sending the “ouch” signal to the brain.

We love that for a tattoo session. Though the topical medication doesn’t completely numb your deep skin tissue, the amount of pain that a numbing lotion will stop your brain from noticing makes even the most sensitive affected areas more tolerable.  Everyone and everyones' bodies are different, there is no guarantee for what will work effectively for you, nor can we determine if any negative effects may occur.

How to use numbing creams?

The lidocaine-laden product must penetrate and absorb into the skin to be effective. That means you must prepare the area appropriately to achieve this.

First, you should wash the area you are planning on having tattooed. You don’t want any residue or dirt on the area because the product might not absorb properly. This will also eliminate any excess oil that could hinder the product's absorption.

Use a mild, fragrance-free, antibacterial soap with warm water. First, wash your hands. Then apply a thick layer of the numbing cream or gel right onto the skin that will be tattooed. 

It is best to completely cover the area with plastic wrap and leave it on for one hour before your tattoo session for the most absorption to occur. The more absorbed, the better!

We highly recommend you follow the specific instructions listed on the product you use, as each can vary in application and in the length of time it must be applied for.  Out of courtesy, please make sure your artist knows ahead of time, and check that they are cool with it. 

Odds are, if you plan on applying it at the time your appointment is scheduled, will not work.  The amount of time you are scheduled for does not include the 30-60 minutes of wait time for a numbing agent to set in, it's intended for the time planned to be doing your tattoo!  If that is the case, an added charge of $50-$100 will be added to the cost of your tattoo if you wait to apply your numbing product at the time of your appointment.  PLEASE BUY PRODUCT AND APPLY BEFOREHAND!

Each shop location carries an array of trusted products clients have used with success.  Feel free to stop in any time to look at options in stock!

bottom of page