It is no secret that tattoos are one of the most painful additions to your body. After all, you are dragging needles through your skin to create a piece of art that will last your lifetime. For many, the pain is a rite of passage and you truly earn your tattoo. For others, pain is not an option and will try anything to reduce it.
A quick and easy fix for many is a numbing cream that can be applied to the area prior to being tattooed. In the world of tattoos, numbing cream is a bit controversial. Isn’t pain considered an essential part of the tattoo process? Does numbing cream even work? If you do want to try it, what do you look for? There are so many questions and opinions that we just couldn’t help but dive in and do some research.
There’s an ongoing opinion in the tattoo community that numbing creams just don’t work. They last for the first ten minutes of getting a tattoo then fade off. Well, truth is, there are different types of numbing cream that are more effective for certain parts of the body. Which makes us think the rumor of “numbing creams don’t work” is false. Maybe all this time you have been using the wrong kind or a general numbing cream in the wrong spot. Let’s get into the different kinds.
Nerve Deadeners use lidocaine to temporarily deaden the nerves. This tends to sit on top of the skin, which may need to be reapplied during tattoo sessions since the needles go below the surface of the skin. Although, Hush Gel lasts up to two hours without reapplication and they also have a spray that can be used during the tattoo session.
Nerve Blockers: use tetracaine to block the signal to the brain that you are in pain.
Lastly, Vasoconstrictors: use epinephrine to tighten the blood vessels and stop the bleeding and reduces swelling. This is the most effective numbing cream but may alter the healing of the tattoo.