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Best Tattoo Numbing

Best Tattoo Numbing Cream Spray Gel 2018

Welcome to the world of pain! Just kidding. Or am I? I want to talk about the best tattoo numbing products, but first, let’s take a look at history. The tattoo world involves a lot of pain. Before modern technology made the process safe, people used hot ashes for their ink. They also used sharp sticks or needles to create the image with painstaking detail. Without any kind of anesthetic—unless you count a swig of whiskey—the process inflicted tons of pain on the newly inked person. To top it all off, you only prayed and hoped nothing bad happened when you saw signs of an infection.


Best Tattoo Numbing Products 2018

NameDurationEffectivenessAmountPriceWhere to buy
Hush Anesthetic Numbing GelLongExcellent4 oz.$$$
H2Ocean Nothing Tattoo GlideLongExcellent7 oz.$$$
Vasocaine Numbing Spray PainlessShortGood4 oz.$$


Pain is Real – Tattoo Numbing

Thankfully, technology made leaps and bounds. Artists created new, safer inks out of interesting materials. With inks that no longer burned, people took more interest in the art of tattoos. Mechanics constructed a tattoo machine shortly after the industrial revolution, which sped up the tattoo process dramatically. With a faster speed, artists saw more clients, and more people inked tattoos! The tattoo world took off.

Furthermore, the concept of germs, bacteria, and disease revolutionized the medical world. Artists now knew how to protect their clients from infections. Infections once caused a huge amount of damage to tattoos and even risked the lives of their wearers. A tattoo gone wrong resulted in amputations—or, worse—death. Obviously, the idea of antibiotics quelched the fears of many onlookers in the tattoo world. No one wanted to die for a piece of art.

Finally! The world lives without fear of tattoo culture, taboo aside! We need nothing else to experience this inked world of art. Science and technology addressed every drawback to the tattoo world, so why not rush down and ask an artist to ink one now? Wait…what? I left something out, you say?



In a hurry? Don’t have time for the full article? No worry I got you covered, here are my most favorite tattoo care products for all stages of the healing and care prozess:

My Favorite Tattoo Care Products

HUSH anesthetic – Tattoo Numbing Gel

Made specifically for use during the tattoo process, Hush anesthetic saves you a ton of pain. This topical anesthetic also works great for tattoo removal, piercing, and waxing. Hush Anesthetic penetrates your skin and temporarily numbs your nerves. It lasts for up to four hours—enough to get through at least a medium-sized tattoo. It contains no products that affect your tattoo ink—such as alcohol or petroleum. Hush just focuses on ingredients needed for pain relief and gets the job done. To apply, rub a small layer of the tattoo pain cream over the affected area. Wait a few minutes for certain compounds to break down before the tattoo process begins.

HUSH anesthetic - Tattoo Numbing Gel


Hustle Butter Deluxe

One of my favorite tattoo products, Hustle Butter Deluxe provides a lot of care for a single lotion. Use it before your tattoo to work as a moisturizer and a glide. The tattoo lotion keeps your skin nice and smooth, without affecting the stencils your artist made. During the tattoo healing process, apply it to reduce scabs and relieve that crazy itching sensation. After your tattoo heals, continue using it as an amazing moisturizer. No other tattoo lotions, soaps, or ointments provide such versatile care. As a cherry on top, it only uses vegan ingredients, and no animal testing went into the making of this product.

Hustle Butter Deluxe – Tattoo Butter


Read More => The Best Tattoo Aftercare Products 2017


Coppertone Tattoo Guard Continuous Spray SPF 50

From the top sunscreen brand (and I say that with certainty—anyone who hasn’t used this at some point in their lives has never gone to the beach) comes Coppertone Tattoo Guard. At 50 SPF, it offers incredible protection for the better part of your day. Because of its hypoallergenic and photostable ingredients, it offers protection for all skin types. With a tattoo-specific formula, it provides a clear layer of sunscreen that doesn’t damage your tattoo or cover it in a milky white layer. All this, in a convenient spray form! I highly recommend it for people from all walks of life.

Coppertone Tattoo Guard


Read More => The Best Tattoo Sunscreen 2017


All About Tattoo Pain

Oh, right, pain! Strangely enough, the idea of numbing products seems foreign to some tattoo artists, and offensive to others. While antibiotics are okay to treat infection, tattoo machines are an okay substitute for old needles, and modern inks proved much safer than traditional inks…some artists completely disregard the world’s solution for tattoo pain.

Luckily, I am no such artist. I want to share the best tattoo numbing products that ever crossed my path. Sometimes, clients suggested them to me. Other times, I wanted to try them out myself. Each product on this list works spectacularly for tattoos—and yes, I double-checked their ingredients. They only use safe ingredients for the tattoo process! If you end up with one of those cranky, old-school artists, then try suggesting one of these brands to them as a tattoo glide. Tattoo glides assist artists during the tattoo process, after all, and these creams and lotions all double as tattoo glides!

Tattoo Pain Chart


Quick Comparison

Before we look at the intricate details, let’s take a look at some side-by-side comparisons! This chart shows you the relative price ($ for inexpensive and $$$ for luxury products), their effectiveness, the amount of anesthetic included, and the duration of the product. Plus, I add an asterisk on anesthetics that artists really need to carry in their shops! Hopefully this chart of the best tattoo numbing products helps inform your decision. Artists, clients, and ink lovers around the world tote each of these as magnificent for numbing their skin. For more detailed reviews on every product mentioned, keep on scrolling!

NameDurationEffectivenessAmountPriceWhere to buy
Vasocaine Numbing Spray Painless*ShortGood4 oz.$$
DermaNumb Tattoo Anesthetic Spray*ShortGood1 oz.$
H2Ocean Nothing Pain Relieving Foam Soap*AverageGood1.7 oz.$
Hush Anesthetic Numbing Gel*LongExcellent4 oz.$$$
Numb MasterAverageAverage1 oz.$
Numb 520AverageGreat1.35 oz.$$
UberNumb Cream*AverageGreat1 oz.$$
H2Ocean Nothing Tattoo Glide*LongExcellent7 oz.$$$
DermaNumb Gel*ShortAverage2 oz.$
Numb 100AverageGreat1.35 oz.$$

*All tattoo shops should carry these.

Of course, everyone has their own preference and needs. For small tattoos, you only need something that lasts for a little while, like the DermaNumb Tattoo Anesthetic Spray. For larger tattoos, you definitely need Hush Anesthetic or H2Ocean Nothing Tattoo Glide. While the sprays seem to fall short of their gel counterparts, keep in mind that sprays go on during the tattoo process. In other words, you reapply as needed. For creams and gels, only a few safely apply during the tattoo process. If you want to know my favorites, check out the Favorite Numbing Product Combination section, where I tell you my routine.


Best Lidocaine Spray

I want to cover lidocaine spray as our first numbing product. Lidocaine constitutes the majority of over-the-counter pain killers available to you. While tattoo numbing cream creates a more thorough numbness, artists prefer to use numbing spray. During the tattoo process—especially with pain-sensitive people and large tattoos—the anesthetic cream may wear off. In fact, the anesthetic spray almost certainly wears off! However, when artists or clients want to reapply anesthetic, only one type works for the job. You guessed it, numbing spray!

Artists prefer using numbing spray thanks to its ease of application. When a client feels discomfort, they can immediately apply another layer without interrupting their tattoo process. On top of that, numbing spray for tattoo work contains no adverse ingredients that damage ink. The majority of tattoo numbing sprays consist entirely of lidocaine—a substance that contains no alcohol and only affects the nerve endings of your skin.

Surprisingly, its short effect proves a huge advantage, especially for artists. Artists that use numbing spray all deal with a major risk—numbing their fingers while they ink! With a spray, only a light amount of anesthetic applies to the skin, so the artist feels at ease while they tattoo. This low threshold also ensures you only use as much lidocaine spray as you need. For small tattoos, lidocaine poses no risk. For large tattoos, an excessive amount of lidocaine leads to some weird nerve side-effects for a few hours. Check out our section All About Lidocaine Cream for more information on the side-effects.

Anyways, as you see, lidocaine spray contains a huge amount of benefits, especially for tattoo artists. When you suggest a lidocaine spray to your artist, go over all of its benefits. Tell them how they can reapply as needed, instead of slathering it all on at the beginning and hoping it works for the full duration. On top of that, lidocaine spray keeps their fingers safe from numb skin by reducing the amount that transfers through their gloves.

For tattoo artists just starting out, seriously consider keeping some lidocaine spray on hand in your shop. Your clients will love you for it, plus, the spray ensures you finish your sessions as quickly as possible. Excess client pain sometimes dissuades them from finishing the art piece. That sucks for both you and the client! To make the world easier for everyone, start off with this simple spray, and then consider other types depending on their effect.

Without further ado, let’s take a serious look at the best lidocaine sprays!


Vasocaine Numbing Spray

Undoubtedly, Vasocaine created this numbing spray with tattoos in mind. With 5% lidocaine, it serves as an excellent form of anesthetic. Over one hundred people gave this stuff five star reviews, and I agree with all of them! Like all lidocaine products, Vasocaine Numbing Spray works by targeting your nerve endings. However, unlike many creams and lotions, you need to break your skin first. Thankfully, that takes less effort than it sounds like! You only need a derma roller on hand.

Many skin-conscious people already keep a derma roller to apply some creams and lotions directly to their skin. In a similar way, the small abrasions of a derma roller create an opening for the Vasocaine Numbing Spray to enter. Once you apply the spray, cover it in saran wrap until your session to prolong its duration. This spray lasts thirty minutes on average, but goes for hours if you use this technique.

I implore all artists to keep some of this on hand at all times, plus anyone unsure of their pain tolerance. You need not apply it ahead of time in order to use it. After your artist makes the initial piercings of your tattoo, they can apply the spray whenever you ask! This means that any time you feel discomfort, they address it right away.

Vasocaine Numbing Spray Painless Anesthetic



Derma Numb Anesthetic Spray

This product contains several different techniques to ensure it works for a very long time. Lidocaine only makes up one step in the process! On top of lidocaine, Derma Numb Anesthetic Spray also contains an anti-inflammatory compound. This restricts the reaction time of your body to your new wound, prolonging the effects of the spray. Simply grab a derma roller ahead of time and exfoliate the tattoo area ahead of time—which represents the first step of all anesthetic sprays. Many people forget this step and throw a tantrum because it failed to dull their pain. Always read directions!

The affordable price tag allows you to try it ahead of time, although the product contains only one ounce of spray. For small to medium-sized tattoos, that one ounce covers the whole area, with a bit left over for some extra application. Either use the extra bits if you feel uncomfortable during the tattoo process, or save it for use while your tattoo heals. Entirely up to you!

This stuff kicks in after just two minutes. Re-apply as necessary until your skin feels numb. If you want a large tattoo, but also want to keep costs down, consider this. While the anesthetic spray works best for medium-sized tattoos and smaller, it works well for large tattoos using a small trick. Simply stomach the outline part of your session, then ask your tattoo artist to spray the anesthetic. Reapply whenever you feel uncomfortable to minimize your use—and voila!—an affordable solution.



H2Ocean Nothing Pain Relieving Foam Soap

This brand represents the pinnacle of tattoo care and tattoo aftercare! I recommend a lot of products from H2Ocean, and for good reason! This product provides a petroleum-free, fragrance-free, and pain-free experience to anyone who uses it. On occasion, excessive amounts of petroleum causes build up over your tattoo and prevent excess ink from draining. The result? A very waterlogged tattoo with fuzzy edges. Furthermore, H2Ocean Nothing goes above and beyond the call for pain-relief. It includes an antibacterial soap that accelerates your tattoo healing stages and prevents infection. It wards off excessive dry skin and scabs during the first few days of healing.

Unlike every other spray on my list, this one works without the need for derma abrasion. The spray creates a foam that your skin absorbs quickly, just like a cream. With 5% lidocaine, this powerful numbing soap packs a punch. Effectiveness lasts between thirty minutes to six hours, depending on your method of application and personal pain sensitivity. Apply it ahead of time and wrap it with saran wrap. Allow your artist to peel the plastic wrap back during your tattoo session. Alternatively, ask your artist to apply the foam as needed during the tattoo process.


Tattoo Numbing Cream Reviews

While lidocaine sprays apply the easiest of all types of tattoo numbing products, tattoo numbing cream carries huge benefits of its own. For one, the cream acts fast and lasts for a very long time. Thanks to their duration and effectiveness, topical anesthetic creams appeal to clients and tattoo lovers especially. The prolonged application process forms the only drawback to using tattoo numbing creams. However, I help you with that process and give you some tips on ensuring a pain-free session!

First, you apply the numbing cream ahead of time. In order to take effect, the cream needs to permeate your skin. This process takes time, plus it depends on the brand. To maximize the effectiveness of your cream, wrap it with saran wrap after application. Shave beforehand, so the artist skips the cleaning process. When you arrive for your session, your artist peels the saran wrap back. I go into a little more detail in the All About Lidocaine Cream section.

Numbing cream for tattoo work also helps the artist! When artists consider tattoo glides, they naturally take a hard look at numbing cream. Tattoo glides help the artist carefully apply your ink, ultimately resulting in more detail and delicate linework. Skin numbing cream for tattoo work provides a layer of cream that helps your artist breathe life into your tattoo design. And everyone wants a high-quality tattoo, right? Take solace in the fact that the best tattoo numbing creams work great for both you and the artist!

Along with tattoo numbing cream, I also include the best tattoo numbing gel! Numbing gels may include more oil than numbing creams, making them great for dry skin. On top of that, the texture creates a superior glide for artists. Lastly, gels absorb quickly into the skin and leave behind very little residue—if anything, a small layer of oil that quickly evaporates. As a result, the tattoo easily airs out once you remove the initial wrappings your artist gives you.

I only list the best numbing creams for tattoos, so classic brands like Dr. Numb don’t appear on the list. The best tattoo numbing cream works well as a glide, lasts for a very long time, and causes minimal side effects. Additionally, reapplication serves as a huge bonus—in the rare event that the numbing tattoo cream wears out! Using my experience and detailed reviews, you find the best numbing cream for tattoos and for you! Note that I placed them in random order, since they all work great.



Hush Anesthetic Tattoo Numbing Gel

Arguably the best numbing product on the market and certainly my favorite, Hush Anesthetic works excellently for tattoos thanks to its application process. Hush tattoo numbing gel works both before and after inking, and you skip all the derma rolling that sprays require. It lasts for four hours when applied correctly and also leaves your ink alone. Artists carry it for tattoo inking, tattoo removal, waxing, laser hair removal, permanent makeup, and piercings…really, it works great for any kind of body art!

They also drop the epinephrine ingredient, which causes some side-effects in particularly anxious people. On top of that, they use no paraben preservatives, which irritate sensitive skin. While it only contains 4% lidocaine, the gel works amazingly when combined with saran wrap. Unlike many health and beauty products, the formula follows the rules set by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), further boosting its safety and effectiveness. To top it all off, it only uses vegan ingredients.

If you want something that lasts forever, then purchase this one. The two ounce bottle contains enough for a roughly 7 inches X 7 inches tattoo area—more than enough for most people. No special precautions go with multiple sessions—the formula even relieves pain from healing tattoos!

HUSH anesthetic - Tattoo Numbing Gel



Numb Master

Although Numb Master only works for pre-treatment of a tattoo, it works splendidly at blocking pain. It contains a small amount of alcohol—which damages tattoo ink—but applying it before your tattoo session works fine. This stuff takes a little while to set, which extends its duration an impressive amount. Wash the area ahead of time to ensure no dead skin cells or dirt block the effects of the cream. Apply as much as you think you need—the more, the better. About twenty minutes after application, you feel nothing in the whole area. Waltz right into the tattoo shop, wipe off any residue, and enjoy your pain-free experience!

The complete numbing effect lasts for one hour, but the nerves around the area still feel dull for a few hours after that. That means it covers the amount of time for small and medium tattoos perfectly! For larger tattoos, ask your artist to start in the most painful areas first, and then move out from there. That way, you only feel a small amount of discomfort three hours into your session. Ask your artist to reapply some sort of numbing spray if you feel the effects wearing off. The one ounce bottle we link provides more than enough for medium-sized tattoos. Use any extra on any bumps or scrapes you pick up later on.

Numb Master Topical Anesthetic Cream



Numb 520

This professional-grade numbing cream works for more than just tattooing. But, for the sake of staying on topic, let’s stick to just its benefits. It uses 5% lidocaine—or, the maximum allowed by the FDA in over-the-counter products. While some people opt for prescription pain killers, this one works better for a lot of people! It uses liposome to deliver the lidocaine, ensuring quick and long-lasting absorption. The company usually gives a discount for buying in bulk on Amazon—just check out their Amazon page! It works great for people who run a shop or need topical anesthetic for a large tattoo.

Because Numb 520 uses no oil, your body quickly absorbs it. Unfortunately, that means it also evaporates at a faster rate than its greasy counterparts. To avoid this, simply apply large amounts and cover it with saran wrap until you need your tattoo. This stuff acts fast, and you only need to wait two or three minutes to feel the effects! After that, you feel nothing for an hour and a half. The effect gradually wears off after four hours or so. Even as it wears off, only a few spots grow sensitive, rather than your nerves returning all at once. Wash the application area before you apply and before your tattoo for the best experience possible.

Numb 520


Uber Numb

Unlike many numbing lotions on this list, Uber Numb topical anesthetic cream only needs a thin layer in order to work. This means the one ounce container covers far larger areas than other brands on this list. Perfect for back covers or tattoo sleeves! The numbing also lasts for an extraordinary amount, with no need to break the skin ahead of time. Simply wash beforehand, slap on a layer of the numbing cream, and saran wrap it tightly. Your artist removes the saran wrap, washes it off completely, and proceeds to ink a pain-free tattoo!

So, how long does it last, exactly? Well, it takes about thirty minutes to take full effect. After that, your skin stays numb for up to five hours. The lingering pain of a tattoo all but disappears for the next twenty four hours. The full sensations return as your tattoo moves into the first stage of healing, but by then, the biggest source of pain disappears. Clearly, this product works wonderfully for tattoos and any type of piercing. As a new brand on the block, UberScientific also provides a money-back guarantee if the cream falls short of your expectations. With an affordable price and excellent efficacy, it never hurts to try it for the first time!

UberNumb Lidocaine Pain Relief Cream



H2Ocean NOTHING Tattoo Glide

H2Ocean Nothing Tattoo Glide works as a topical anesthetic with no need for puncture ahead of time. Just like its numbing soap counterpart, this stuff stops pain in its tracks for long tattoo sessions. Designed specifically with tattoos in mind, artists need not remove this glide before inking. With no alcohol or petroleum ingredients, this numbing balm works with your tattoo, rather than against it. In fact, this tattoo glide assists artists more than anything else, helping them create a wonderful design with intricate details. On top of that, this stuff helps you sit through even the longest sessions of a large tattoo.

However, the way this balm works differs from many on this list. I recommend it mainly to return clients who already know what to expect in terms of tattoo pain. The reason? This only blocks a partial amount of pain. In order to create a long-lasting effect and excellent glide material, it absorbs slowly into your body. You apply it a few minutes ahead of time, of course. But, rather than an instant effect, it evens out over many hours. Some people consider this a bad point, but I find it perfect for anyone needing a large tattoo with long sessions!

H2ocean Nothing Tattoo Glide and Soothing Balm



Derma Numb Gel

This affordable product goes out of stock all the time thanks to its usefulness. As an artist, I always try to snag a couple when I see them on Amazon. While many other gels do some heavy lifting action, I find that this stuff works great for low-pressure situations. Small and medium tattoos only need a small amount of numbing gel to cover them for hours. Likewise, Tattoos in areas with little pain sensitivity—such as calves or shoulders—also require very little numbing cream. At the same time, providing clients with a guarantee that they feel nothing comes first. That’s why I grab this stuff.

For its affordable price, it only provides as much numbing as I need for small jobs. Its numbing properties peak at about an hour and taper off from there—but by then, I already finished the job! If you only want a small tattoo and fear the price tag on some of these gels, then check this one out. It gives you a lot of product for a very affordable price that goes easy on your wallet. It still works just as well as the others, but wears off shortly after the procedure, rather than many hours later. Plus, it contains nothing that harms tattoo color in it.

Derma Numb BEFORE Tattoo Anesthetic



Numb 100

As the last product I review—but certainly not the least—Numb 100 works incredibly quickly and covers all sorts of pain situations. This stuff focuses not just on relieving pain, but on easing the transition. As a numbing cream blocks your nerve endings, you feel a small burning or itching sensation. Anyone who touched a hot iron before knows what to expect, although without the side effects from a burn. Numb 100 diminishes this effect to the best of its ability, making the transition as smooth as possible. This works perfectly for people wanting small tattoos, who never experienced a topical anesthetic before.

As for the actual numbness, it provides the maximum amount of lidocaine permitted by the FDA. So, yeah, that gives a sense of relief! The amount provided covers small to medium sized tattoos. Since it does contain Benzyl Alcohol as an inactive ingredient, wash the numbing cream off thoroughly before you sit down for your session. Despite its excellent use as a tattoo numbing gel, Numb 100 also works for all kinds of sores and maladies. Use any extra to treat scrapes, burns, bumps, or cuts when the need arises. Test the stuff ahead of time, and if your skin fails to react to Numb 100, they accept returns.

Numb 100



All About Lidocaine Cream

Lidocaine cream works as a topical anesthetic for any short-term needs. As with all types of medicine, consult a doctor before using it. Tattoo artists usually uphold the same limits that your doctor suggests. Benzocaine cream and prilocaine cream serve the same function as lidocaine cream, but they both use a different chemical make-up.  EMLA creams combine lidocaine with prilocaine cream.

So anyways, what is lidocaine cream? Lidocaine cream targets your nerve endings. In order to register pain, your nerves interact with sodium at the site of your pain. Lidocaine blacks the pathway between sodium and your nerves, preventing any kind of pain sensation. Other types of sensations—such as heat or pressure sensitivity—remain intact. This blockage lasts for quite a while, so you only need a little bit.

Before using any type of topical anesthetic, pay attention to the risks involved. A small amount of numbing cream covers a wide area for a significant amount of time. Using it for small or medium tattoos makes sense. However, large tattoos pose a problem. Your back, stomach, chest, and neck all contain crucial nerve endings. Your spine runs very close to the surface of your back, and your heart lays relatively close to your chest, too. Applying the cream in large amounts causes it to soak deeper into your body and affect more nerves. This includes your spine and—quite dangerously—your heart!

To avoid this issue, artists use several tactics. The first makes small amounts of numbing gel last longer. Using saran wrap over the numbed area and slowly peeling it back as they tattoo delays the numbing effect and makes the gel more potent. Only applying the tattoo numbing lotion to parts they actively work on also does the job. Lastly, artists tattoo large designs in smaller stages. Many artists already do this anyways, especially for colored tattoos. The smaller stages make numbing cream more appropriate for tattoos that end up large!

People sometimes skip one important part during the application process, so to prevent you from suffering that fate, let me tell you about it. When someone complains that their numbing gel or spray didn’t work, I guarantee one thing—they forgot to wash beforehand! Your skin constantly sheds dead skin cells and dirt to make room for healthy skin. As a result, a thin layer forms on top of your skin that blocks numbing products from absorbing quickly, or even at all. Washing the area ahead of time ensures your body immediately begins to absorb the numbing gel.

Ultimately, tattoo numbing cream works wonderfully for pain-sensitive people. And yes, they do exist. Researchers identified a gene that correlates with an increased sense of pain. So, some people drew the short end of the stick when they started life! Numbing cream gives these people the opportunity to join our inked world without sobbing their hearts out or walking out halfway through.

Best Tattoo Numbing - Tattoo Artist1


Best Tattoo Glide Practices

Artists use something called a tattoo glide to aid their inking process. While lidocaine and benzocaine creams work well as glides, many artists choose not to use them, and for very good reason. Numbing gels target the nerves in your skin, temporarily locking them down and preventing any sensations of pain. However, that also removes your sense of touch. It only lives you with a bit of temperature and pressure sensitivity while it makes your skin numb. That works great for you! However, tattoo artists hate it.

Flimsy gloves do little to keep numbing products away from your artist’s fingers. Once it leaves them with numb skin, their ability drastically plummets. Similar to covering their eyes, removing their sense of touch leads to a lower quality tattoo. They no longer feel how much force they put into the tattoo gun, and judging their strokes becomes harder!

At the same time, numbing gels and creams serve as a wonderful tattoo glide. Artists use tattoo glides to ease the motion of tattoo guns across the skin. Tattoo glides give them more maneuverability, increasing their ability. Most artists use some kind of tattoo glide, even when they forego numbing cream. You can check out the best ones in our main hub article.

Unfortunately, the bonus of a tattoo glide never cancels out the inability to feel. As a result, some artists strictly forbid numbing cream during the tattoo process. On top of that, some artists take it further and say that pain represents a crucial part of the tattoo process. Similar to a rite of passage, pain shows that you really deserve the tattoo. This belief exists all over the globe, and certainly stems from ancient traditions.

While I see no need to argue about this cultural belief that the tattoo community carries, some people feel pain more strongly than others. People sensitive to pain still want tattoos, so why not allow numbing cream for them? A careful balance of efficacy and glove material protects the artist while providing pain relief for their client. The best numbing cream for tattooing carries just the right amount for the job. All of the numbing gels, creams, and sprays we listed work excellently as tattoo glides. Practice in a small area before you tattoo, to ensure client safety.



What to Avoid

Many products out there relieve pain in their own way. Removing itchiness, soothing a burning sensation, or cooling a swollen area all cover pain. However, not every method works for new tattoos. Some products contain harmful substances, and I want to go over all of them for you, so you can make your own decision about what to use.

First, avoid products containing alcohol. This includes most soaps, lotions, and ointments available at the store. Tattoo ink contains many compounds that break down in the presence of alcohol. That said, alcohol products actually remove color from your tattoo! Sometimes, it even shifts the ink into a different spectrum, resulting in unwanted colors. Alcohol does a great job at cleaning stains, but that turns out terribly for new tattoos!

Petroleum abounds in non-tattoo products, despite its many drawbacks. Petroleum creates a seal over a wound—which sounds great—but in practice causes more harm than it prevents. If your tattoo already contains germs or negative bacteria, petroleum products lock it inside. With no way to expel the bacteria through the petroleum layer, your immune system needs to work double time to prevent infection. On top of that, all wounds need air to breathe, including your tattoo! Clogging your pores—especially when your skin wants to excrete some plasma and extra ink and all that other gunk—leads to waterlogged tattoos. Just avoid petroleum entirely.

For people with sensitive skin, you may want to avoid petroleum-derivatives as well. This severely limits your options, even among tattoo-related brands. Petroleum-related products include mineral oil and petrolatum. Along with that, toss out anything that uses paraben preservatives or lanolin. Both of these compounds increase the chance of an allergic reaction or irritable rashes. Not something you want to risk with your new tattoo!

Furthermore, many numbing products work poorly during the tattoo healing process. Their primary function reduces the pain of inking a tattoo, not relieving the pain afterwards. Honestly, the pain after a tattoo is nothing compared to the pain during. Anyone who lived through a bad sunburn knows what to expect. With that said, do not use numbing products on tattoos during their healing stage. If you seriously need some relief, limit your options to ones with no petroleum, parabens, and especially alcohol. A few on this list meet those requirements.

Lastly, some products just have no effect on whether or not your tattoo hurts., including Neosporin. Tattoos create open wounds on your skin, with layers of ink at the bottom. Neosporin contains lots of antibacterial ingredients, some of which may target your own immune system. In order for your tattoo to stay permanent, your immune system needs to deploy macrophages to sort of suspend it in the area. If Neosporin delays an immune system reaction, your ink might wander a little into an unwanted design.


My Favorites:

My Favorite Tattoo Numbing Products

I can’t leave you hanging about my preferred products! While I use all of these in one form or another, I only use a few of them for myself! This particular combo works well for me and carries me through the whole tattoo process pain-free. First, I apply some Hush Anesthetic Numbing Gel. This stuff lasts for ages, so I never feel like I’m ‘wasting’ a luxury product. I wrap it in saran wrap and then quickly clear it off with warm water before the tattoo. I might take this moment for a quick shave as well…because, why not?

During the actual tattoo process, I use H2Ocean Nothing Pain Relieving Foam Soap in conjunction with their Nothing Tattoo Glide. For returning clients, I usually skip the whole Hush anesthetic and go straight to H2Ocean Nothing glide. While I prefer the feel of Hush Anesthetic, people love to stick to reliable brands like H2Ocean. And I don’t blame them! H2Ocean repeatedly steps up to the plate wherever innovation is needed in the tattoo world.

Lastly, for pain after the tattoo, I sometimes recommend the H2Ocean Nothing soap. However, many tattoo aftercare creams and soaps exist that offer a more refreshing and moisturizing experience. To learn more about that, check out the Ultimate Tattoo Care and Tattoo Aftercare Guide page, which walks you through the whole tattoo process.



Ultimately, the best tattoo numbing products save you a lot of trouble down the line. They extend the length of your tattoo sessions, cutting down on costs for you. With large tattoos, artists need to complete your tattoo in steps. First, they do the outlines. Then, they shade or color, all depending on their personal style. These sessions sometimes last for hours, and artists frequently see people take breaks before their session finishes because it hurts too much. By suggesting or bringing something that numbs your skin, you extend your endurance and see better results from your artist.

As an artist, numbing creams, gels, and sprays work great for me, too! They work as an excellent tattoo glide and ensure none of my clients walk out with a half-finished tattoo because ‘it hurts too much!’ I want people to wear the best type of body art in the world, not leave before I finish! In other words, I highly value the way that numbing products make tattoos more accessible. Not everyone tolerates a huge amount of pain, and I understand that. I work hard to create a wonderful environment for tattoo lovers, and numbing products help tremendously with that! I only need to wear thicker gloves than usual to protect my skin.

Since you read this, I know you love tattoos. This ancient form of body art, honed and perfected over the ages, grows more popular by the second. Advances in technology move the accessibility of tattoos by leaps and bounds. In example, these formerly permanent forms of art now fade away harmlessly during a laser removal surgery! No one worries about making mistakes or taking up too much of their canvas, so to speak. Soaps, tattoo guns, superior inks, and an understanding of the tattoo process all expanded the use of tattoos. I proudly say that numbing creams push the envelope even further!

At 101-Tattoos, we dedicate our time to delivering intricate and quality content about the care of your tattoo. This tattoo numbing products page only shows a glimpse of our full information database. I implore you to read our Ultimate Tattoo Care and Tattoo Aftercare Guide for a full breakdown of how to keep your tattoo vivid, brilliant, and healthy. Aftercare determines whether or not your tattoo looks great after six weeks of healing,. Plus, we also tell you signs to watch out for while your tattoo heals. Remember that your health, beauty, and comfort go hand-in-hand!

May your tattoo shine,


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