Numbing Cream For Tattoos: Does It Work?

If you’ve started researching your first tattoo, then you’ve probably come across the term “numbing cream.”

This product, which is similar to both numbing spray and numbing ointment, may sound appealing to those wary of tattoo pain.

But what is a numbing cream? Is it safe? When should you use it? And, does it even work? Or is it just false advertising?

In this article, we will answer all the questions you have about this “miracle” product.

So, keep reading to learn more!

What Is Numbing Cream?

Numbing cream is a topical medication that is applied to the skin.

It works by blocking nerve signals from the skin to the brain, which helps to numb the area that it is applied.

This can be helpful for people who are having a medical procedure done, such as a vaccination or a blood draw, or for people who are experiencing pain.

There are many different types of numbing cream available, and it is important to consult with a doctor before using it.

Just like general use numbing cream, tattoo numbing cream is a topical anesthetic that can help to numb the area where the tattoo will be placed.

This can make the experience of being inked much more comfortable for you and can help to reduce any potential discomfort or pain.

So, if you’re considering getting a tattoo, be sure to ask your artist about using numbing cream to make the experience less painful.

NOTE: Numbing cream should not be used on broken skin and should not be ingested.

Does Tattoo Numbing Cream Work?

Getting a tattoo is no small decision. Not only is it permanent, but it can also be quite painful.

As a result, many people look for ways to minimize the pain of getting a tattoo. One popular solution is tattoo numbing cream. But does it really work?

The short answer is that tattoo numbing creams can help to reduce the pain of getting a tattoo.

However, they are not magic bullets. The cream works by temporarily numbing the skin, which can help to take the edge off the pain.

However, it will not completely eliminate all sensations. In addition, the numbing effect will wear off after a few hours, so it is important to plan accordingly.

Overall, tattoo numbing creams can be helpful in managing the pain of getting a tattoo, but they are not foolproof.

How Does Tattoo Numbing Cream Work?

Tattoo numbing cream and other pain-lessening products are all designed to lessen the painful experience of having your skin repeatedly punctured by a needle.

There are three main chemical methods that numbing products employ to soften pain. These are nerve deadeners, blockers, and vasoconstrictors.

These three products all affect your nervesto lessen the experience of pain, however, each does this slightly differently.

Some people choose to combine these products for more effective pain management.

However, some products such as vasoconstrictor can be dangerous, so make sure to do proper research before using ANY of the following products.

Nerve Deadeners

In order to stop the pain, you can use numbing creams that contain nerve deadeners like lidocaine.

Just like some illicit drugs, lidocaine is derived from the Coca plant.

This ingredients will temporarily block your nerves from sending out signals of distress so they don’t get too dulled by sensations like hot or sharp objects in addition hurts caused by friction.

Lidocaine will work for around two hours. After that time is up, the nerve dedneing cream will need to be reapplied.

Nerve deadeners also really only work on the surface of your skin — meaning thats any pain below the first layer of skin will still be felt.

As tattoo needles penetrate between approximately 3 and 6 layers of skin, you will likely still experience a significant amount of pain.

Nerve Blockers

Nerve blocking creams work differently than nerve deadners.

Instead of lidocaine, these products feature benzocaine and tetracaine.

While lidocaine works directly on your nerves, these alternative chemicals sofen pain by preventing any pain signals caused by the tattoo needle to reach your brain.

Nerve blockers won’t stop the pain, but they can lessen the level of pain perceived by your brain.


The most powerful reducers are vasoconstrictors.

However, these are also the most dangerous.

These products work by constricting the blood vessels. This reduces bleeding and swelling around the location of your tattoo.

In order to stop the body from absorbing these chemicals too quickly, some choose to use vasoconstrictors with other pain reducers.

However, make sure to do proper research before using or mixing ANY of pain-numbing products.

The short answer is that tattoo numbing creams can help to reduce the pain of getting a tattoo.

Cream Vs. Spray Vs. Ointment

If you have done any prior research on pain reducers, you may have heard a few different terms being thrown around such as tattoo numbing cream, tattoo numbing spray, and tattoo numbing ointment.

You might be wondering, are all these products the same?

The short answer is no, they are not all the same.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these pain reducers.

Tattoo Numbing Cream

Tattoo numbing cream comes as a creamy product that can be spread over the skin prior to a tattoo session.

This product is applied directly to the skin and then covered with a plastic wrap.

Creams are great, however, they can be somewhat time consuming to apply.

Numbing cream will also need to be reapplied a high number of times during a tattoo session.

Tattoo Numbing Spray

Tattoo numbing spray comes in a liquid form and can be applied to the tattoo area via a spray bottle.

This product can be sprayed onto the skin and then covered with a plastic wrap.

Unlike creams, sprays are a very fast way for tattoo artists to apply a pain reducer to their client’s skin.

However, out of these three options, numbing spray needs to be reapllied the most.

Tattoo Numbing Ointment

Tattoo ointment is more of an oily product which can be rubbed directly into the skin.

This style of pain-reducer is considered to be the most effective and typically only needs to be applied once or twice during a tattoo session.

Is Numbing Cream Safe?

For the most part, numbing cream and other pain-reducers are fairly safe.

However, like any medical product, there are risks if not used as directed.

Furthermore, some numbing products contain preservatives known to cause allergic reactions.

If you have any concerns about using one of these products, the best course of action is to consult a doctor and carefully read any package instructions before applying.

When Should You Use Numbing Cream?

First, it is important to note that it is not necessary to use numbing cream.

While some people prefer to use it to help reduce discomfort during the tattooing process, others prefer to experience the pain of the tattoo.

If you are interested in using a numbing product, you may want to consider the size and style of your tattoo first.

If you are receiving a very small tattoo, then your tattoo session will likely be very short.

In this case, a pain-reducer may be unnecessary.

However, if you are receiving a very large tattoo over multiple sessions, then a pain-reducer will likely help you sit for longer periods of time, without the need for frequent breaks.

Why Don’t All Tattoo Artists Use Numbing Cream?

Some tattoo artists use numbing cream on their clients to help reduce the discomfort of getting a tattoo.

However, some tattoo artist choose not to use these products, and there are several reasons for this.

First, numbing cream must be applied at least 45 minutes before the tattooing process begins in order to be effective. This can be impractical for busy tattoo shops that have clients coming and going throughout the day.

Second, numbing cream can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some people.

Finally, some people believe that the pain of getting a tattoo is part of the experience and helps them to appreciate the tattoo more.

For these reasons, many tattoo artists choose not to use numbing cream when giving tattoos.

Final Thoughts

So, does numbing cream for tattoos work? The answer is a little complicated.

Some people swear by it, while others say that it doesn’t make much of a difference.

Ultimately, the best way to find out if it works for you is to give it a try and see how your body reacts.

If you experience any pain or discomfort when getting a tattoo, then using numbing cream may be the solution for you.