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Do Numbing Creams Minimize Tattoo Pain?

Can Numbing Creams Minimize Tattoo Pain?

Numbing cream, also known as topical anesthetic cream, contains lidocaine or similar medications that temporarily numb the skin. When applied before a tattoo, the area becomes less sensitive to the pain from the tattoo needle.

Numbing creams often come in gel or ointment form too. Common over-the-counter brands include Lidocaine cream. You can usually find them at pharmacies or tattoo shops.

How Well Does Numbing Cream Work?

The effectiveness of numbing creams varies from person to person. Most people report that numbing creams take the edge off the pain and discomfort but do not eliminate it entirely. The numbing effect also wears off after some time, usually 1-2 hours, so longer tattoo sessions may require reapplication. Overall, numbing creams seem to be more effective on areas with thicker skin and less effective on more sensitive thin-skinned areas. If you’re curious about how bad tattoos can hurt without numbing creams, you can read more about it here.

Potential Side Effects to Watch Out For

While considered safe for topical use, numbing creams do come with some potential side effects to keep in mind. These include redness, swelling, bruising, or allergic reactions on the skin. There is also a slight risk of the numbing interfering with the tattooing process if overused. Be sure to consult your tattoo artist before applying and follow usage directions carefully. If you’re concerned about the possibility of an infected tattoo, learn more about what it looks like here.

Application Tips and Tricks

To get the best pain relief, clean and dry skin thoroughly before applying the numbing cream in a thick layer. Then cover it with plastic wrap or dressing to allow it to soak in and work its magic! Apply it 1-2 hours before your appointment so it has enough time to kick in fully. But don’t leave it longer than a few hours as irritation can happen. Once your skin is nice and numb, just remove the dressing so your artist can get started!

Summing It All Up

While no “miracle cure,” numbing creams can take the edge off tattoo pain by decreasing skin sensitivity temporarily. They seem most effective on meatier body parts versus sensitive thin-skinned zones. Be aware of side effects and talk to your tattoo artist before using. Apply 1-2 hours pre-tattoo, then remove and get inked away in comfort! And if all else fails, a couple of deep, calming breaths usually helps too!

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