Does Numbing Cream Really Work?1 June 2021
If you’ve ever entered a Google search for pain-free tattoos, you’re not alone! In fact, many people are searching for exactly the same thing. While it sounds strange to some tattoo artists that anybody would want to forgo the discomfort of the inking process, there are countless people who love the idea of some body art but don’t like the idea of suffering to get it! The good news is, though, that there are products out there that promise to take away the pain of the needle. Numbing cream is a top choice for many people undergoing a tattoo procedure – but does it really work? Here, we take a closer look at the ins and outs of numbing creams and tattooing procedures.
Why Isn’t Numbing Cream A Standard Part Of The Tattooing Process If It Works?
One question that you may be asking is “if numbing cream really works, surely tattoo artists would use it as standard every time they work on a subject?” However, there is a reason for this. Frequently, tattoo artists won’t use any numbing cream during their tattooing sessions simply because they believe that the pain of getting a tattoo is a rite of passage and a tradition. In fact, it isn’t just tattoo artists that hold onto this outdated belief. There are many within the tattooed community who consider pain an essential component of getting inked. They think that the pain they experience is a key element that makes their tattoo more meaningful. While they’re perfectly entitled to their beliefs, that doesn’t mean you need to share them. If you have a low pain tolerance level or just want to enjoy getting inked without any discomfort, numbing cream could be the ideal solution for you.
Numbing Cream – How Does It Work?
The way numbing creams work depends on the active ingredient in its mix. There are three categories of active ingredient:
- Nerve Deadeners – these are chemicals such as lidocaine which deaden the skin’s nerves temporarily so they won’t register pain. While they’re effective, they don’t always get under the skin’s surface so they may not be entirely effective if you’re getting a tattoo. This is why a nerve deadener should always be combined with other active ingredients.
- Nerve blockers – these are chemicals like tetracaine and benzocaine which prevent the pain signal from reaching the brain. Usually, they are combined with nerve deadeners so that there is no involuntary flinching during the tattooing process.
- Vasoconstrictors – these are powerful numbing agents like epinephrine which make the blood vessels constrict and reduce bleeding. They also slow absorption so they allow other numbing ingredients to last for longer. Numbing creams that contain vasoconstrictors are perfect for use when getting a tattoo because they reduce swelling and bleeding.
The best numbing products will contain all three of these components.
How Is Numbing Cream Used?
To be most effective, numbing cream must be applied correctly. First, you need to wash your skin with soap and water to remove oil and dead skin before the numbing cream is applied. Once the skin is clean and dry, the product can be applied in a thick layer before applying some plastic wrap over the top and allowing it to rest for about 10 minutes. A second thick layer can then be applied and you should wait for at least 30 minutes before commencing the tattoo. As soon as you’re ready for your procedure to begin, wash the numbing cream off the area and commence inking. The numb effect should last for a couple of hours so your tattoo will usually be complete in time.