Do Tattoo Artists Use Numbing Cream?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on March 22, 2023
    Last Updated: April 7, 2023

Tattoos are becoming increasingly popular, but the pain of the process can be a deterrent for some individuals. Fortunately, many tattoo artists now use numbing cream to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with getting a tattoo.

Numbing cream is a topical anesthetic that is applied to the skin prior to getting a tattoo. It works by blocking the nerve receptors in the skin, reducing the sensation of pain. There are several types of numbing creams available, and tattoo artists may have their own preferences.

In this article, we’ll explore the use of numbing cream in the tattoo industry.

Do All Tattoo Artists Use Numbing Cream? 

While some tattoo artists prefer to use numbing cream to make the tattoo experience more comfortable for their clients, not all artists choose to use it. Some tattoo artists believe that the pain is a vital part of the tattooing experience, and that clients should fully experience the process. Additionally, some tattoo artists feel that using numbing cream can make it more difficult to tattoo certain areas of the body, as the cream can cause the skin to become swollen or puffy.

In some cases, the use of numbing cream may also depend on the specific type of tattoo being done. For example, if a tattoo is small and will only take a few minutes to complete, the artist may not see the need to use numbing cream. However, for larger tattoos or those that will take several hours to complete, numbing cream can make the process much more bearable for the client.

It’s important to note that not all numbing creams are created equal, and some tattoo artists may prefer one type of cream over another. Additionally, some tattoo artists may have concerns about the safety or effectiveness of certain numbing creams, and may choose not to use them for that reason.

Ultimately, the decision to use numbing cream is up to the individual tattoo artist. If you’re considering getting a tattoo and are concerned about the pain, it’s always a good idea to discuss your options with your tattoo artist and see what they recommend. Keep in mind that while numbing cream can help reduce pain, it may also come with some risks and side effects, so it’s important to be aware of those as well.

If I Supply a Numbing Cream, Will a Tattoo Artist Apply It for Me?

In most cases, tattoo artists are willing to apply numbing cream that is supplied by the client. However, it’s important to discuss this with the artist beforehand to ensure that the cream is safe and effective, and to find out if there are any concerns or issues with using a specific type of cream.

It’s also important to keep in mind that not all tattoo artists will be comfortable using numbing cream that they are not familiar with. Some may have concerns about the quality or effectiveness of the cream, while others may be worried about potential allergic reactions or other side effects.

If you’re considering bringing your own numbing cream to your tattoo session, it’s a good idea to do your research and choose a reputable brand that is known to be safe and effective. You should also discuss your plans with your tattoo artist well in advance of your appointment to give them time to review the cream and decide if they are comfortable using it.

In some cases, your tattoo artist may also have their own preferred numbing cream that they can provide for you. This can be a good option if you’re not sure which type of cream to use, or if you don’t want to bring your own cream to the appointment. Be sure to ask your artist about their policies regarding numbing cream, and whether they are willing to use a cream that you supply.

How is Numbing Cream Applied?

Numbing cream is typically applied to the skin around an hour before the tattoo session. The area is then covered with plastic wrap or a similar material to keep the cream in place and enhance its effectiveness. The tattoo artist will remove the cream before starting the tattoo.

Are There Any Risks or Side Effects?

While numbing cream can significantly reduce pain, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and side effects. Some people may have an allergic reaction to the cream, and it can cause skin irritation or redness in some cases. Additionally, using too much cream can result in a loss of sensation, which can make it difficult for the tattoo artist to work.


Many tattoo artists now use numbing cream to make the tattoo experience more comfortable for their clients. While not all artists use it, those who do can provide a more pain-free experience. However, it is important to be aware of the risks and side effects associated with using numbing cream and to discuss any concerns with your tattoo artist beforehand.

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