Tattoo Numbing Cream: Does it Really Work?

The cream's efficiency, the science behind it, and any potential risks.


Body art has been an established practice for millennia and serves as a constant reminder of someone or something remarkable. Unfortunately, the procedure of getting a tattoo can be agonizing. To reduce the pain, many people have started implementing the use of tattoo numbing cream. This article aims to analyze the cream's efficiency, the science behind it, and any potential risks.

What is Tattoo Numbing Cream?

Tattoo anesthesia, also referred to as numbing cream, is a topical cream put on the skin before getting a tattoo. This cream contains an anesthetic that helps to reduce the pain and uneasiness associated with the tattooing process. The three most common ingredients found in tattoo numbing cream are lidocaine, tetracaine, and benzocaine.

How Does Tattoo Numbing Cream Work?

The elements that make up tattoo numbing cream are effective in hindering the feeling of pain on the skin by preventing the functioning of certain neurotransmitters which are accountable for sending pain signals to the brain. The anesthetic is absorbed through the skin, and it starts to work within a few minutes. People should apply it to the area one hour before beginning the tattooing procedure to make sure that the skin is totally numb when the needle is administered.

Does Tattoo Numbing Cream Really Work?

Numerous investigations have been done to assess the efficiency of tattoo numbing cream. Most of these studies concluded that the cream does decrease the discomfort caused by tattooing. Nevertheless, it is essential to point out that the amount of pain alleviation could be different for different people, and the success of the cream can also depend on the kind of cream used and the artist's approach.

In the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, a study was conducted with 30 participants to assess the pain-reducing efficacy of lidocaine-prilocaine cream (EMLA). The participants who applied EMLA cream before getting a tattoo experienced a decrease in pain compared to those who used the placebo cream. Similarly, the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery published a study that revealed the pain-relieving effects of lidocaine-tetracaine cream (Numbmytattoo) on 40 participants. Those who used LMX-4 cream before getting a tattoo reported a decrease in pain compared to those who used the placebo cream.

It is essential to be aware that numbing cream for tattoos may not completely get rid of the pain, but it can definitely lessen it. A few people have reported that the feeling of the tattoo needle is similar to a light burning or scraping sensation. The cream may not always be able to completely remove the feeling, but it can make the procedure more bearable.

Potential Risks of Tattoo Numbing Cream

While tattoo numbing cream may provide some degree of pain relief, it can also bring with it certain risks. One of the primary hazards is the possibility of an allergic response. People with sensitive skin or who are allergic to the cream's ingredients may encounter adverse reactions such as itching, redness, or rashes.

It is possible that when using numbing cream, the skin can be more prone to damage. Because the skin is numb, it can be harder to recognize when the needle is going too deep, resulting in scarring or other issues. It is essential to select a dependable artist who is familiar with using numbing cream for tattoos, and to keep an open dialogue with the artist while they are applying the tattoo to make sure they are following the proper depth.

Furthermore, the use of anesthetic cream can have an effect on the ultimate outcome of the tattoo. When the skin is numbed, it may be more difficult for the tattooist to gauge when to end the tattooing procedure, resulting in overworked inking, which can cause the lines and colors to look uneven.

Finally, the application of an anesthetic cream can impede the recuperation time. When the epidermis is desensitized, it becomes more challenging for the body to recognize and recover any harm inflicted by the tattooing needle. Therefore, the healing may take longer, and the tattoo may be more vulnerable to contamination.


Tattoo numbing cream can be a helpful option to lessen pain during tattooing, but it is necessary to consider the possible risks and advantages before using it. If you do make a decision to utilize the numbing cream, it is essential to select a reliable artist and stay in contact with them throughout the procedure to guarantee that the tattoo is being administered accurately. Additionally, it is important to properly adhere to the after care steps to evade any issues or contamination. Note that tattoo numbing cream does not take away the pain totally, but it can make the experience more manageable for individuals with lower pain threshold. It is highly recommended to consult a doctor prior to using any numbing cream.