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Does Numbing Cream Work for Tattoos?

Tattooing is an art form that involves the insertion of ink into your skin to create a permanent mark or design. The process can be painful, and many are apprehensive about getting inked due to the pain they’ve heard they will experience. 

There are many things to consider when getting a new tattoo, and one of the most important is minimizing the pain. Whether you have had tattoos before or not, getting inked is painful. The pain level varies depending on your pain threshold, where you’re getting tattooed, and what kind of tattoo you get.

The good news is there are numbing creams that can make the tattooing experience much more bearable. Using a numbing cream for tattoo sessions is essential to your pre-tattoo routine and will help reduce the pain during and after your artist has finished. 

Numbing creams typically use a mild anesthetic to numb the area where you’ll be getting your tattoo. This way, it won’t hurt as much and can support the healing process afterward. 

There are different brands of numbing creams, and each one uses a different formula. But they all have similar effects and do the same thing — reduce the discomfort you feel while being tattooed by blocking nerves from sending sensations to your brain.

Numbing creams don’t eliminate pain during the tattoo session, but they can help significantly. Most customers who got tattooed while using a numbing cream report that it made their experience much more bearable than if they hadn't used any numbing agent.

What To Look For in a Numbing Cream for Tattoos?

Before you go out and buy a specific tattoo numbing cream, it’s best to know what ingredients will make a numbing cream the most effective. There are different types of numbing creams on the market, and each one differs in its formula. 

The most popular ingredient in numbing creams is lidocaine. Search the internet or your drug store for numbing cream, and it’s hard to find one that doesn’t list lidocaine as its main ingredient. 

What Is Lidocaine?

Lidocaine is a local anesthetic that blocks nerves from sending pain signals to your brain. Lidocaine is one of modern medicine's most regulated and widely used numbing agents. 

You can buy topical lidocaine over the counter in drugstores. The heavier doses are saved for practitioners. You may have experienced your dentist or dermatologist administering an injectable dose of lidocaine through a needle to numb a treatment area.

It works by blocking the nerves in the area it’s applied to. The nerve endings are blocked from signaling your brain to act on the defensive. Pain receptors dull, and inflammation calms down.

Lidocaine starts working in about four minutes; how long it lasts depends on the dosage received. It can last anywhere from 30 minutes up to five hours.

Lidocaine is safe to use on almost everyone. Children and the elderly can safely use lidocaine on their skin.

What Other Ingredients To Look For?

Don’t stop at just a lidocaine-based numbing cream. Lidocaine is great, and it’s even better when the formula has some added ingredients to round out the effects of the lidocaine and keep your skin in good condition.


This kind of cholesterol is good for you. Cholesterol helps the skin retain moisture and helps the skin stay hydrated without feeling oily. It helps build the skin's barrier and protect it from external harm.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can support healing and add moisture to damaged skin. It protects the skin by bulking up cell membranes and supporting the body’s defenses against the potential damage UV rays can do.

Hydrogenated Lecithin

Hydrogenated lecithin or soy lecithin helps to stabilize and condition the top layer of the skin. It has a high concentration of fatty acids, which helps the other ingredients and lidocaine easily absorb into the skin.

How Do Numbing Creams Work?

Numbing creams are applied directly to the skin area you want to numb. They work by first blocking the nerve endings in that area of your skin so they can’t send pain signals to the brain. 

Once the cream absorbs into your skin, it works as an anesthetic to numb the area where you’re getting a tattoo. If you’re getting a tattoo, numbing creams are great for other reasons, such as itchy skin, cuts, burns, and aches. 

Numbing creams with lidocaine typically take about four to five minutes to take effect and last anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours, depending on the dosage. The numbing effect isn’t permanent, and applying it yourself is perfectly safe. Just avoid eyes and mouth.

How Do I Apply a Numbing Cream?

Before you get into your tattoo session, it’s essential to prepare the skin and make sure it’s ready. So you should leave some time before the tattoo to apply a numbing cream. 

The best time to do this is one hour before your appointment. This will leave enough time for the cream to be absorbed into your skin but not so far in advance that it loses its power. 

You’ll need to look at the directions on the bottle and cover all areas of your skin where you’re getting a tattoo. You’ll want to apply a thick layer of cream for maximum effect and ensure no area goes un-numbed. Wrap clean plastic wrap around the area while it absorbs into the skin. 

Don’t apply the cream too early, as it doesn’t take too long for it to be absorbed into your skin. And use gloves unless you want numb fingers!

What Is Relieve Numbing Cream?

Relieve Numbing Cream is Mad Rabbit’s numbing cream with five percent lidocaine. Our numbing cream isn’t just for tattoos, even though it works phenomenally to help you have a better tattoo session. 

You can use our numbing cream for piercings, microblading, hair removal, permanent makeup, waxing, injections, and whatever other painful experiences you plan to put yourself through. It can even be used on the face; just make sure to avoid your eyes and mouth.

How To Apply Relieve Numbing Cream:

  1. Prepare by cleaning and shaving (if necessary) the area of your tattoo or pain-inflicting zone before applying.

  2. Apply a thick layer of the cream to the desired area and rub it in thoroughly until it is fully absorbed.

  3. Wrap the area with film (plastic wrap). The wrap will activate the cream and stop it from drying out. For maximum numbing effect, leave cream and wrap on for 45 minutes to one hour before the appointment.


When using the cream post-appointment, you’ll want to apply a thin layer to avoid suffocating the area in pain. 

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Tattoo Numbing Cream?

There are many benefits to using a tattoo numbing cream before getting a tattoo. They help reduce the pain you feel during the tattooing process and speed up the healing time. 

A tattoo without a numbing cream applied beforehand can take longer because you may need more breaks. The session can cause quite a bit of pain. A tattoo made when numbing cream is applied beforehand might be a shorter, less painful experience.

A tattoo numbing cream also allows you to get a larger or more elaborate tattoo. You could definitely do it without numbing cream, but you would suffer more, and it might take longer. Your skin could get pretty inflamed and block your artist from being able to see the nuances of their work. 

Without a numbing cream, your tattoo experience will definitely be more painful. Which, again, can hinder your tattoo artist and shorten the length of your session, allowing for less work to get done.


There are many different brands of numbing creams on the market, each using a different formula. But all of them try to create a similar effect — reduce pain by blocking nerves from signaling your brain. One of the best ingredients to achieve this effect is lidocaine at maximum strength, which is five percent for over-the-counter products.

Using a numbing cream is a beneficial part of the pre-tattoo routine and will help reduce your discomfort while your artist is tattooing you. 

We love Relieve Numbing Cream we’ve formulated with our customers in mind. Our cream is high-strength and great for more than just a tattoo session. It’ll also help with the itchy part of your tattoo healing!



Vitamin E in dermatology | PMC

Epidermal surface lipids | PMC

Final report on the safety assessment of Lecithin and Hydrogenated Lecithin | PMC

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