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Things to know about tattoo numbing creams

The name tattoo numbing cream is self-explanatory meaning, a local anesthetics utilized before a session for tattooing to numb the area which it gets applied. The aim is to ensure that the pain is reduced, and in turn, reducing the number of sessions which you will need to sit through in case of a large pieces.

The creams for tattoo numbing can be applied by the client an hour before the session or by the tattoo artist themselves at the parlor/shop and generally last up to an hour after it gets applied.

The way it works

While the creams for tattoo numbing basically tend to do a similar thing, they are made of different ingredients. It makes them to be more effective as compared to others, and determining how the numbing effects

Generally, the numbing creams are:

Nerve blockers

The tattoo numbing creams have certain special chemicals like benzocaine and tetracaine which restrict or block the signals of pain which is sent to the brain whenever applied to the skin. You have to remember that, the nerves are normally functioning; the difference is that the pathways are what gets blocked.

The nerve blockers are known to work quite well for small tattoos in areas that are less sensitive and can significantly dampen pain. But when it comes to the bigger tattoos in areas which are sensitive, they tend to be more effective when utilized in combination with the nerve deadeners.

Nerve deadeners

It contains a chemical that is different from the nerve blockers like lidocaine that instead of the pain signals being blocked, they stop the nerves from temporarily working. They are known to be very effective and can make the whole process to be less painful, however, they don’t end up penetrating the skin deeper to make the nerves to be dead to the tattoo needles.


They are known to be more effective during the process of tattooing because they cause the blood vessels to contract, reducing blood flow. They have ingredients like epinephrine which lessens the bleeding amount in the area being worked on, making it less time consuming and less messy.

Vasoconstrictors get included inside the numbing creams to ensure that they are more effective since the blood flow rate that is reduced makes some numbing agents to last longer, thus, making the process to become less painful. They are known to be fast acting and can be utilized during the session to reduce swelling and inflammation.

Are there any side effects?

Like other things that happen in life, creams for tattoo numbing also have side effects. In general, they are uncommon side effects and minor once used as per the directions. If you have pre-existing skin conditions or have a sensitive skin condition need to exercise caution when utilizing such creams as they might cause reactions which are adverse.

They include:

  • Rash
  • Tingling/burning sensation
  • Swelling/inflammation
  • Redness
  • Itching

The numbing creams effects will vary from one person to the next. While one individual might have a wonderful experience with a certain brand, you might find that it wears off sooner as compared to the reaction to someone else.

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