The Science Behind Tattoo Numbing Cream: How They Reduce Pain

Tattoos are a form of self-expression and art, but the pain of getting a tattoo inked can concern some people. This is where tattoo numbing cream come in to address the pain. They are designed to make the tattooing process more comfortable by reducing pain.

This article will explore the science behind these numbing creams and how they work. You can then buy a numbing cream for your tattoo.

What’s a Numbing Cream?

A numbing cream is a topical anesthetic that temporarily dulls the sensation of the skin. It contains active ingredients like lidocaine, benzocaine, or prilocaine, which block nerve signals in the applied area, reducing pain and discomfort. These creams are widely used before procedures like tattooing, piercing, laser hair removal, and medical tests to minimize pain. Application is simple: the cream is spread on the skin and allowed to sit for a specified period before starting the procedure, providing a more comfortable experience.

Understanding Tattoo Pain

When you get a tattoo, a needle repeatedly punctures your skin to inject ink into the deeper layers. This can cause discomfort, often described as a burning or scratching sensation. How much pain you feel can vary from person to person, depending on factors like your pain tolerance and the location of the tattoo.

How Numbing Creams Help

Numbing creams, also called topical anesthetics, are created to ease tattoo pain. They temporarily numbs your skin's surface, reducing the pain signals sent to your brain. Here's how they do it:

  1. Blocking Pain Signals:Numbing creams contain active ingredients like lidocaine or prilocaine. These ingredients block the nerve signals in your skin, preventing them from reaching your brain. As a result, your brain doesn't register the pain from the tattoo needles.
  2. Widening Blood Vessels:Some numbing creams have ingredients that widen the blood vessels in your skin. This helps the numbing agents penetrate deeper into your skin, making them more effective.
  3. Time-Dependent:Numbing creams don't work instantly. Tattoo artists apply the cream to your skin and cover it with plastic wrap. The cream needs time to penetrate your skin and numb the area.
  4. Temporary Relief:It's important to know that numbing creams provide temporary relief. The duration of numbness varies, and tattoo artists may reapply the cream during longer tattoo sessions.

Proper application of the numbing cream is essential for a comfortable tattoo inking experience. Here are some important tips:

  1. Patch Test:Before using a numbing cream, do a patch test to check for any allergies or skin sensitivities.
  2. Clean Skin:Make sure your skin is clean and free of lotions or dirt before applying the cream. Cleanse the area and dry it thoroughly.
  3. Timing Matters:Follow the instructions on the numbing cream for how long to leave it on. Leaving it on too long can lead to over-numbing and potential issues.
  4. No Open Wounds:Don't use numbing cream on open wounds, broken skin, or mucous membranes.
  5. Professional Guidance:Tattoo artists often handle the application of numbing creams as part of their service. Trust their expertise in managing the process.


Numbing creams have made tattoos more accessible and comfortable for many people. While they may not eliminate all discomfort, they provide a valuable option for those concerned about pain. Understanding how these creams work and using them correctly can help individuals have a more enjoyable tattooing experience. Numbing creams empower people to express themselves through body art with confidence and reduced discomfort.