Tattoos tend to be painful, the fact that even the most tattooed man in the world can attest to. That’s why we have numbing creams to help ease the pain.
Although not everyone prefers to use them, as some tend to have a very high tolerance for pain, but they are still very useful. That said, below is a review of the best tattoo numbing creams on the market.
How do Numbing Creams Work?
Most tattoo numbing products come in the form of a gel or cream that is directly applied to the skin before the tattooing procedure commences. Ingredients that are often used include prilocaine, tetracaine, lidocaine, and benzocaine.
These ingredients are known to provide numbing effects on the nerve endings for certain period, which could vary depending on the percentage composition.
They are formulated for various uses, but the most common use is numbing the skin before tattooing. They are recommended for people with a low tolerance for pain.
What are the benefits of using numbing creams?
More often than not, the advantages of using tattoo numbing creams are enjoyed by both the artist and the client. The cream doesn’t numb the pain, but instead, it dulls the pain allowing for a painless tattooing session.
Some of the numbing creams accelerate the healing process and also reduce inflammation as well as irritation.
What are the disadvantages of using numbing creams?
Some artist argues that numbing creams can affect the skin, which could easily extend the tattooing process. Since they take some time for the effects to kick in, it takes longer to get a tattoo done than it would have lasted if you got the tattoo without the numbing cream.
They also have some side effects such as sudden shock or the anesthetic properties may wear off quickly. Also, if they are applied in large amounts in a single area, the cream could allow easy passage of the drugs through the skin into the bloodstream, which could cause breathing difficulties and even seizures.
What are the most painful places for tattoos
In most cases, the pain we experience when getting a tattoo is as a result of the skin being too thick or too thin or having very sensitive nerve endings.
Places like the inner elbow, the feet and the back of your knees tend to be more painful especially when getting a permanent tattoo.
Other sensitive areas include the bikini area, the skin located at the top of the spinal column and the areas close to the eyes. It is advisable to use tattoo numbing creams on this areas only under the supervision of experts, to avoid any possible blunders.
Factors to consider when choosing numbing creams
When it comes to buying numbing creams, it is important that you consider the effectiveness of the cream. How long does it last? How long does it take for the numbing effects to kick in? These two questions will help you determine which product is best suited for you.
Availability is one of the major factors you want to consider when it comes to any product associated with the medication.
While numbing creams are easily available as OTC medicines, it is important to consider if the cream you choose is easily available in your area. This way you way you won’t have trouble replacing your cream after it is used up.
Easy to implement
You want a numbing cream that is easy and convenient to use. These creams are formulated for easing pain; this means that you could need them at any time and not only when tattooing.
When in such a situation you want to apply a product that does not have a long procedure. For example, if you are in immense pain you will need a fast acting cream that is easy to apply; otherwise, you will wallow in pain before the numbing effect kicks in.
Safe to use
The combination of the ingredients will determine if the numbing cream is safe to use. Some may contain ingredients that could have adverse effects on the skin.
These effects include redness, inflammation, irritation, etc. Inadequate quantities of several ingredients in the numbing cream could prove to be harmful. That said, it is advisable to choose a numbing cream with 5% lidocaine and approved by the FDA.
Not everyone has the luxury of enjoying high-end products every time they want to. Hence, a fast acting numbing cream at an affordable price could be a nice option.
You want a numbing cream that will not have any adverse effects on your skin. Preferably, choose one that is suitable for all types of skins.
When shopping for numbing creams, you have to consider whether you want a multipurpose cream or cream that’s only ideal for tattooing.
You also have to consider that the mouth needs different numbing creams, which are different from normal tattoo numbing creams.
If you intend to use your cream on your mouth, it is advisable to choose one that contains ingredients such as benzocaine, an ingredient that is believed to provide fast relief, but it should not be swallowed.
Other than tattooing, Numb Master is also used for a wide range of dermatologic procedures such as laser treatment and waxing, dermapen and microdermabrasion treatments.
It is highly regarded by professionals and users alike due to its fast and deep penetrating capabilities. It offers a numbing sensation of up to 120 minutes.
The Numb Master is an oily cream that can easily be removed using water and facial cleansers. It consists of 5 % Liposomal lidocaine that allows for deeper penetration into the epidermal and dermis layers, where the most pain receptors are located.
Its numbing properties come into effect within the first 20-25 minutes. It also consists of cholesterol and glycols that tend to make the skin surface greasy.
Numbing Master is a pre-treatment cream and should only be used before tattooing and not after. It is ideal for temporary relief of anorectal and local discomfort that is associated with inflammation.
- It contains 5% anesthetic lidocaine
- It is manufactured in the USA
- Full effects kick in after 20-25 minutes of application
- The numbing effects can last for up to 120 minutes
- Some users reported cases of reaction with the tattoo ink
- It is pricier
- The jar may not be as convenient as the tube
HUSH Anesthetic Numbing Gel
HUSH Anesthetic prides itself in being the only gel that is formulated for use both before and during the whole process of tattooing. It complies with FDA regulations and doesn’t have any effect on the healing process or the ink.
Although it was specially formulated for use when tattooing, it is also ideal for use during laser hair removal, waxing, tattoo removal, electrolysis, minor burns, permanent makeup, and piercings.
The manufacturer claims that its effects can last up to 4 hours. Unlike most numbing gels, it doesn’t contain epinephrine; however, it is slightly mentholated.
Due to this, it not advisable to use the product especially if your skin is sensitive to menthol. In addition to this, the HUSH Numbing Gel contains 4% lidocaine, a number of herbs and natural oils, which help promote healing.
The numbing experience may vary depending on the user’s sensitivity. For instance, inking on bony areas such as the knees and ribs tends to be more painful, and HUSH Numbing Gel may not help ease the pain.
However, on non-boney areas, HUSH tends to be very effective lasting for 2-5 hours depending on the user. Those who’ve used it claim that it causes an “icy hot” sensation on the applied parts. It is suitable for sensitive users except those who are sensitive to menthol.
With this product, the manufacturer claims that it will help speed up the healing process and also reduce irritation.
- Contains 4% lidocaine
- Its numbing effect can last for close to 4 hours
- Does not affect ink quality
- It is expensive considering that it comes with a complementary spray
- Takes a bit longer to be effective
Hustle Butter Deluxe
Most people often confuse the Hustle Butter Deluxe for an ordinary pain removal cream, but it is not. Butter Deluxe is specially formulated for use before, during and after the tattooing process.
It is applied before the inking process begins to help prepare the canvas and not numb the skin. It can be reapplied throughout the tattooing process without necessarily causing any problems on either the artist’s or user’s part.
It is applied about 1 hour before the tattooing process commences, and once the numbing effect kicks in, it takes nearly 4 hours for the effects to wear off. It is a non-oily product thus it does not affect the ink or tattooing process in any way whatsoever.
Its ingredient list consists of aloe, green tea, and chamomile, which have been added to help soothe the skin and cool it down during the tattooing session.
With these properties, you are sure to reap the benefits of using the Butter Deluxe, especially during aftercare process as it helps to enhance healing properties of the skin.
- Ideal for use before, during and after the tattooing session
- It creates a canvas that is easy to work on
- It enhances the ink’s appearance
- 100% vegan
- It contains coconut, aloe, and Vitamin E
- It might cause inflammation which could affect the tattoo’s appearance
- Additional plant ingredients could be a cause for concern as they increase the risk of irritation
Another well-known name in the market is the Numb 520, which has a very strong numbing effect.
It contains a 5% concentration of lidocaine, which makes it effective in less than 25 minutes. Its numbness can last for close to 2 hours. It is extremely fast acting compared to other creams in the same price range.
Some users have reported that the numbness lasted for more than 2 hours, but that will depend on the sensitivity levels of your skin.
However, it has one major downside; due to the inclusion of several greasy ingredients in its formulation, it might cause issues when trying to ink the skin. It might also cause issues with how the ink will adhere to the skin.
Other than that, the Numb 520 is an easy product to use, and you could certainly try it out.
- Lasts up to 2 hours
- It is fast acting as it takes effect in less than 25 minutes
- Contains 5% lidocaine
- It contains cholesterol and glycol that could make the skin greasy
Lidocaine Blue Tattoo
Lidocaine Numbing Gel gets its name from its colorful appearance. It contains a mixture of tetracaine (2%), lidocaine (4%) and an active vasoconstrictor that helps reduce bruising, swelling and bleeding.
It also prolongs the numbing effect. This combination of ingredients ensures that its effectiveness is top-notch even when used in different circumstances.
Unlike most gels on this list, the Lidocaine Blue Tattoo is ineffective when used before the tattooing process commences. Due to this, it is advisable to allow your artist to work on only a small part before applying the gel.
This is because it only works on broken skin. The advantage of this situation is that it takes less than 5 minutes for the numbing effect to kick in. After that, the effect can last up to 2 hours.
Using this gel means that you do not have to wait for too long before the numbing effect kicks in. However, it advisable to clean off the excess gel as it could make the surface slippery thus making it difficult for the tattoo artist to draw a nice tattoo.
- It is highly effective
- It takes less than 5 minutes to kick in
- Can last up to 2 hours
- Contains 4% lidocaine
- It only works on broken skin
- It is not consistent
The five creams we reviewed are hard to compare as not all of them are marketed to the same audience. However, they do overlap at some point, and due to this, we pick the Numb Master as our top choice.
This is simply because it has a high concentration of lidocaine, its effects can last for up to 2 hours, and it is suitable for numerous uses other than tattoo numbing. If this does not please you, you can opt for the Numb 520 or any other cream in the list for that matter.