Does Numbing Cream Affect the Outcome of A Tattoo?

Does Numbing Cream Affect the Outcome of A Tattoo?

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Does Numbing Cream Affect the Outcome of A Tattoo?

Numbing creams are used to ease the pain and discomfort of many ailments. They reduce surface sensation on the area they’re applied to and can be anything from a liquid, ointment, gel, or cream.

Most numb your skin, while others penetrate certain layers of tissue.

Yes! Numbing cream can affect the outcome of a tattoo, but it depends on several factors.

Firstly, Numbing cream can affect the texture of the skin by causing it to become firmer, which can make it more difficult for the tattoo artist to apply the ink evenly. This can lead to uneven lines and shading, which can affect the overall appearance of the tattoo.

Secondly, if the numbing cream is not applied properly or is left on for too long, it can interfere with the tattoo’s healing process.

This can result in scabbing, peeling, or other complications that can affect the outcome of the tattoo.

Thirdly, some numbing creams can cause allergic reactions or other adverse effects, which can also affect the outcome of the tattoo.

However, if the tattoo artist is well-trained and skillful and uses numbing cream that does not affect the tattoo’s healing process, it can improve the outcome of the tattoo.

When properly handled, numbing cream can help reduce pain or discomfort a person may experience during or after getting a tattoo.

This can help a person relax, focus on the tattooing process, and enjoy a more positive overall experience.

Can Tattoo Artists Tell If You Used Numbing Cream?

Yes, Tattoo artists can tell if you used numbing cream by checking:

Skin Appearance-Slippery,Flushed,Pale,Tingly and Creamy.
Creams Odor-Strong odor from the rubbing alcohol in the cream.
– Pineapple scent from the Lidocaine and epinephrine in EMLA cream.
Skin Color Change-Pink tone/Brighter pink.
Sensation-Mild and Queasy feeling.
Tattoos Pain-Pinching/Pain in general.
Size of Tattoo Areas-Blurriness in the lines and overall appearance.

Does Tattoo Numbing Cream Make It Harder To Tattoo?

Yes! Tattoo-numbing creams can make it harder to tattoo because they can alter the skin’s texture and make it more difficult for the needle to penetrate the skin.

Additionally, the numbing effect can make it harder for the person getting the tattoo to provide feedback on the pain level they are experiencing.

Making it more difficult for the tattoo artist to gauge the amount of pressure to apply during the tattooing process.

Furthermore, some tattoo artists may find that numbing creams interfere with the tattoo ink’s absorption, making it harder to achieve the desired level of pigment saturation. This can result in uneven lines and shading.

It’s important to note that while numbing tattoo creams can make the tattoo process more challenging, they can also benefit people with a low pain tolerance or who are getting tattoos in sensitive areas.

Does Numbing Cream Affect the Outcome of A Tattoo?

It’s always best to consult with a tattoo artist or medical professional before using a numbing cream to ensure it’s safe and appropriate for your situation.

Overall, you should consult your tattoo artist before deciding whether or not to use numbing cream before getting a tattoo.

Which Type Of Numbing Cream Should I Use?

Active IngredientBrand NamesUses
LidocaineHush, Numbify, Vasocaine, Dr. NumbEffective for numbing skin prior to tattooing and other minor skin procedures like waxing or laser hair removal.
BenzocaineBactine, Tattoo SootheTemporary relieving the pain and itching caused by minor skin irritations, including tattoos.
PrilocaineEmla, Tat BalmNumbing during longer tattoo sessions or for those with lower pain tolerance.
TetracaineSuper Numb, ZensaNumbing during longer tattoo sessions, piercings or other skin procedures.
EpinephrineAdrenalin, Anaphylaxis kitsCombination with other numbing agents to help reduce bleeding and swelling during tattooing.
LignocaineGravocainNumbing before tattooing and other skin procedures.

Is It Okay To Put Numbing Cream On Before A Tattoo?

Yes! Putting numbing cream on before getting a tattoo is largely safe and recommended. The cream will help the ink go in smoothly, decreasing the chances of infection and making your skin more comfortable.

Numbing creams often contain Lidocaine which is used to numb the area before invasive procedures such as tattoos, liposuction, or cesarean sections are performed.

Lidocaine contains anesthetic properties that block pain signals from reaching the brain, so you’ll feel less discomfort during the procedure and afterwards.

This is a safer way to numb the area since you’ll be able to feel the pain or discomfort of your tattoo much less than if Lidocaine was not used.

In addition to numbing the area, it’s also used to prevent tissue damage after the procedure and is a form of anesthetic on the skin.

However, you should not use Lidocaine at the same time as any pain medications such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen, as these can cause a dangerous increase in blood pressure, leading to heart attack or stroke.

The numbing creams are fairly safe to use if you follow the instructions properly, though if you have sensitive skin or the tattooed area is small, you may want to go with cream with less Lidocaine, just in case.

Why Do Tattoo Artists Hate When You Use Numbing Cream?

Low-Quality Tattoo-Reduces the feeling of touch, which is needed for a good tattoo.
Infection RisksSlow or impede healing.
– Causes infection
– Bruising
– Swelling
Reduced Pain-Allows for tattoos to be done in less painful areas
Looks Bad-Look fuzzy
-Red or blurry
Too Baggy/loose-Reduces the necessity for a thick outline.

Do’s and Don’t of Numbing Creams

Use a topical numbing cream with Lidocaine for tattoos with larger surface area treatmentsDo not use numbing creams for tattoos that contain benzocaine.

Because the product is only effective for one to two hours and would need frequent repeat applications as you undergo the tattoo process.
Follow the directions of the product for recommended dosage amount to avoid side effects such as nausea and vomiting.Do not use numbing creams on open wounds or rashes because they may cause allergic reactions.
Applying the cream in a thin layer and allowing it to be absorbed before applying the second layer.Do not use numbing cream for tattoos if you are allergic to Lidocaine, procaine, or another related compound.
Seek advice from your tattoo artist before using a topical numbing cream.Do not use numbing cream for tattoos on sensitive skin.
Avoid products with epinephrine, which is a vasoconstrictor, because it may interfere with tattooing.Do not apply numbing cream on a large surface area unless instructed to by your tattoo artist.

Does Tattoo Numbing Cream Work For Everyone?

No! Tattoo numbing does not work for everyone. The tattoo numbing cream is designed to numb the skin on a specific area, making it more palatable for the wearer, who will be stimulated by tattoos placed on an area not being numbed.

Unfortunately, one of the side effects of using a chemical like Lidocaine or prilocaine to numb a tattoo is that there is often some redness and irritation afterwards.

This can lead to some people believe that their tattoo did not receive any pain relief from the cream. Lidocaine comes in a cream.

A combination cream takes either one or both of the chemicals to work. It is applied before the tattoo is done, no more than 15 minutes before. It blocks some of the body’s pain receptors, which means less pain for the wearer.

However, many people say the side effects of using numbing cream are worse than that of the tattoo. Itching, numbness, and even rashes can occur in some cases.

Most people experience some loss of feeling in the area where their numbing cream is applied, but this does not mean it will work for everyone.

Should I Wrap My Tattoo Before Bed?

The pain threshold varies from person to person and area on one’s body.

Some people feel little or no pain when a dentist numbs an area of their mouth, while others would rather experience the pain than deal with the side effects of local anesthetic.

How Do You Get Numbing Cream To Work On A Tattoo?

Numbing cream is a topical anesthetic that can be applied to the skin to help reduce pain during tattooing. Here are the general steps to using numbing cream for a tattoo:

  1. Clean the Area: Clean the area where the tattoo will be applied with soap and water, and dry it thoroughly. This will help to prevent any infections or irritations.
  2. Apply the Numbing cream: Smear a thick layer onto the area where the tattoo will be applied, and let it sit for at least an hour before tattooing.
  3. Cover the Tattoo Area: Apply a transparent, light-blocking dressing over the numbing cream. This will keep the tattoo from getting bruised. There may be areas where the numbing cream is not, which you must avoid with your needle.
  4. Start Tattooing: Position the tattoo needle at a 45-degree angle on the skin. Your tattoo artist should instruct you where to start and ensure your skin is clean and dry.
  5. Finish the Tattoo: After your tattoo, wipe any leftover numbing cream from the area. 
  6. Remove the Dressing: Remove the dressing, and allow your skin to air-dry for at least 15 minutes before washing or swimming.

How Can I Make Numbing Cream Work Faster?

1. Apply the Cream Correctly

Applying it properly is one of the most important things to ensure that your numbing cream works effectively and quickly. First, make sure the area to be treated is clean and dry.

Then apply a thick layer of cream and gently rub it in until it’s absorbed into the skin. If you don’t apply enough cream, it may not work effectively or take longer to take effect.

2. Take it off soon after Application

The numbing effect of pain relief creams typically lasts between 30 mins and 2 hours. So, if you are planning a long surgery or dental procedure, leave the cream on for about 30 minutes before the surgery begins.

This way, the area will already be numbed when the procedure begins. Another advantage is that you must apply the cream less often if it works well during your procedure.

Once it has worn off, you can use a second layer of cream and continue with your treatment.

3. Don’t Expose the Area to Heat or Cold

When you apply numbing cream, it has a cooling effect on your skin. You should be careful with hot water during your shower or bath.

If the area is exposed to heat, it will take longer for the cream to take effect, and the numbness will wear off faster.

You shouldn’t expose the area to heat directly, like sunlight or hot water, but it is okay if you are wearing clothes. Also, try not to be in a cold environment.

4. Drink More Water

Drinking enough water helps maintain a good immune system and keeps your skin healthy. With numbing cream, it’s important because a dehydrated body can’t absorb medications like topical pain relief creams as well as they should.

So, if you take pain relief pills or ointments, drink enough water before, during, and after the treatment.

Do I Wash Numbing Cream Before The Tattoo?

No! Washing off the numbing cream before getting a tattoo is unnecessary. Most tattoo artists prefer that you leave the cream on as it helps to reduce the discomfort and pain associated with the tattooing process. 

If your tattoo artist recommends washing off the numbing cream before the tattoo, you should follow their instructions.

In this case, it’s important to make sure that you thoroughly clean the area with soap and water, making sure that there is no residue left from the cream.

This will ensure the tattoo artist has a clean and dry area to work on, which can help apply the tattoo.

It’s worth noting that some numbing creams contain ingredients that can affect the quality of the tattoo.

Does Numbing Cream Affect the Outcome of A Tattoo?

For example, some creams can cause the skin to become too soft or too hard, making it hard for the tattoo artist to apply the ink.

It’s essential to choose a numbing cream designed for use before tattooing and follow the instructions carefully.


Numbing cream is a traditional method of tattoo pain relief that aims to reduce the pain of tattooing. The cream boasts usage in the past but can still be found today.

Don’t hesitate to ask your tattoo artist if he uses numbing cream or a different type of topical pain relief. This will help you decide which one would work best for your tattoo.


I'm Vincent, a registered skincare specialist and an award-winning tattoo artist. I've been in the industry for over 10 years and have worked with some of the best tattoo artists in my field. I've loved everything to do with tattoos and arts in general, as well as exercise and wellness! This site is a place for me to share some of the expertise knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current research and studies. Tattoos are a huge passion of mine, I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. I decided to start a blog and help other people!

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