industry blog

To Numb or Not to Numb?

So you’ve already have a design in mind. You already have an artist in mind too. You already booked an appointment but have you made up your mind if you are going to go all out or slightly in? And by that we mean if you are going to get inked with anesthetics or no anesthetics.

Honestly, different tattoo enthusiasts and artists have different opinions. Some would prefer going all out because in the days of yore, tattoo was earned like a medal for a certain achievement or coming of age. They didn’t have the pain relieving cream back then because going all through the pain meant you survived a challenge.

We already live in a modern world. There’s no need to endure all the pain just to get inked. Why would numerous companies manufacture tattoo numbing products if there was no huge market for it? This only means that a lot of people prefer to have a painless experience. But how are we going to make the most out of the countless options available today?

Check Out the Ingredients

Yes, reading the label is a must if you want a painless tattoo. Although most products are topical or applied on skin, you must be careful to use products that you are not allergic with and have been tried and tested by countless tattoo enthusiasts, artist, and even doctors. Most products do contain one or more key ingredients: epinephrine, benzocaine, tetracaine, and lidocaine. These additives are also used to enhance the action of the key ingredients: comphrey root, menthol, tea tree oil, camphor, and etc. These ingredients play a part in impacting the pain signals sent by your skin cells to the brain.

If you are keen on reading labels, you will notice that lidocaine is almost on every skin numbing spray or product in the market. Up to 5% of lidocaine is allowed on the products. If you have heard stories about the first feeling of sting when the needle makes its initial work on the skin, lidocaine will work on that, ensuring that you won’t flinch so much so as to compromise the artist from creating the masterpiece you want on your arm.

Aside from lidocaine, benzocaine and tetracaine are also included in some products because of their nerve blocking qualities. They minimize the pain signals that go into your brain and in turn minimize the sensation of pain.

Out of the 4 key ingredients, epinephrine is slightly contentious because it is a powerful vasoconstrictor. It tightens the blood vessels and minimizes swelling and bleeding but it can also cause your heart rate to go faster. It should be used sparingly for clients who have anxiety issues.

The Best Combination of Products

To make numb skin possible, various products must be combined to allow for continuous pain free tattoo during the entire session. Clients should initially apply a layer of topical anesthetic gel, spray, or cream before going to the shop and cover it with plastic wrap for maximum absorption. If clients didn’t have the time to do this, the product would be applied on the tattoo shop and they would have to wait around 60 minutes for the desired effect to be felt.

The skin would then be prepared by washing it in pain-relieving soap which will enhance the effect of the cream, gel, or spray which was applied earlier. A second layer of cream, gel, or spray may be applied after that. Depending on how long the session will be, constant reapplication is needed to maintain a numb skin.

And if everything has been said and done but you find the tattoo to be not at par with your standards, tattoo removal cream may come in handy.