So you’ve decided to get a tattoo—struggled with the do or don’t, agonized over what to get, and hunted down a reputable shop and artist. All that’s left is to go to the appointment. In preparing yourself for the procedure, you’ve read up on needles, types of ink, and healing ointments. The main thread appearing in all of your research is pain.
How much will the needle hurt? How long does it hurt? Are some body parts more sensitive than others? The best numbing spray for tattoos will put all of these worries to rest!
Quick Top 5 Tattoo Numbing Sprays
Reviews of the Best Tattoo Numbing Sprays of 2018
As opposed to the many numbing creams and gels on the market, Vasocaine features an easy spray top application—keeping your hands and fingers free from excess product.
Made by US-based Dermal Source, this item is 5% lidocaine-based and bears the FDA’s approval. Vasocaine contains an active vascular constrictor, which aids in the reduction of bleeding and swelling. This product is intended for use on broken skin. This application is recommended after the tattoo outline is established.
Directions suggest leaving it on for 90 seconds and then wiping off any excess. Numbing will begin five minutes after application. If needed, this product can be reused several times during an entire session.
Vasocaine is the tattoo numbing spray. It's fast acting, and if used correctly, this spray can make you feel entirely numb, even during the longest of sessions—five hours or more.
Though it's a cream and not a sprat, this FDA-approved topical anesthetic is one of the best tattoo numbing agents. Manufactured by Clinical Resolution in California, it is distributed by Hansderma and contains 5% lidocaine.
Similar to other products in its class, it performs best when applied to the tattoo site, left to sit under wrapping for twenty to twenty-five minutes, and then unwrapped. Extending deep into the epidermal and dermis layers of the skin, where your ink will be going, this item works to inhibit pain receptors. It is best used for small to medium sized tattoos. Numbness lasts for about an hour. With no residue build-up, this product is easily removed with a mild facial cleanser.
One application can help keep the are being tattooed numb for up to an hour and a half. You—and your tattoo artist—will be especially pleased that it isn't too greasy, making it much easier to remove. Plus, if you have sensitive skin Numbmaster is a non-irritating cream.
However, Numbmaster takes far longer to numb than specified on the package. While this product is successful at numbing localized areas, it doesn’t last long enough for most tattoo sessions. Unless you are getting a small tattoo, you might need to look for a different gel.
3. HUSH anesthetic
Focusing on many herbal agents, this product contains menthol, aloe, and chamomile for the soothing of irritated skin. It does not contain epinephrine or parabens. With 4% lidocaine, this item is FDA compliant and does not test any of its products on animals.
Unlike its competitors, Hush is effective on both broken and unbroken skin. It is specifically designed for use before and after your tattoo session—resulting in a well-healed, clean tattoo. Want to get rid of your tattoo? Hush is also approved for use during tattoo removal.
This product lasts for up to four hours and works to reduce skin inflammation during the tattoo process. It is available as a non-oily cream or aerosol spray. Hush can speed up the healing time of your tattoo by two to three days. You'll also pleasantly surprised by it's effectiveness—hours of numbness and no pain at all during tattooing. Just make sure to leave it on under the saran wrap for longer for a good while to experience its full effects.
4. Derma Numb
This anti-inflammatory product not only opens up pores in the skin, but it also provides up to a 90% decrease in pain. Derma Numb avoids harsh chemicals by focusing more on natural, herbal remedies such as aloe, yarrow, yucca root, and menthol. These mild agents will not affect the color or shading of your tattoo, but instead, work to sterilize and enliven skin cells.
It does contain at least 4% lidocaine. Developed specifically as a tattoo anesthetic, there’s no need to worry about this spray affecting the color or quality of your tattoo. Derma Numb is applied like many of its competitors—adhere the gel to the skin’s surface and wrap in plastic wrap for up to an hour before your procedure.
Unlike some of its competitors, Derma Numb should be used on skin that is broken. This means that you don’t have to wait until the tattoo has started to apply it. Feel free to reapply at your discretion during your procedure. You'll experience at least two hours of numbness. So, for longer pieces, you will have to reapply throughout your tattoo session.
5. Tattoo Numbing Spray
Produced by TAT Balm out of Oregon, Tattoo Numbing Spray is an FDA compliant product. Unlike other creams and gels in its class, this item combines lidocaine and naturecaine for a more effective result. The addition of naturecaine not only decreases the swelling and bruising sometimes experienced during tattooing, but it also increases the recovery time.
Its combination of numbing, antiseptic, and painkiller agents have also been reported to minimize the itching associated with tattoo healing and to speed up recovery time. It has also been known to firm the skin, making it easier to tattoo.
This product can be applied before and during your session. It takes about ten minutes to get started and lasts at least two hours.
Does It Work?
Fear of the unknown can be a huge deterrent for first-timers and veterans alike. Hopefully, all of your research led you to all of the products on the market aimed to reduce the discomfort of tattooing. They are known as pre-treating numbing sprays, gels, and creams. They are relatively inexpensive, widely available, and easy to apply.
Numbing Spray vs. Cream
The main difference between the two is the application process. Some people prefer sprays because it's easy just to spray on. However, both will numb the area equally since it's the active ingredients that matter.
How to Apply Tattoo Numbing Spray
They work in a pretty straightforward way. Apply the product to your skin, wrap with saran wrap, and then wait! Numbness should set in within twenty minutes and last for up to three hours. Make sure to avoid the eye area as many of these products contain ingredients that are eye irritants. With so many to choose from, though, it can be overwhelming to decide on which one.
How to Apply Tattoo Numbing Cream
- Since you'll be rubbing the cream on your skin vs. spray it, a few more steps come into play when applying tattoo numbing cream.
- Wash your hands and the area you need to apply the cream thoroughly.
- Put on a pair of gloves. Tattoo gloves or standard nitrile gloves work perfectly. The point of gloves is to make sure your hands don't go numb too!
- Apply the cream to the desired area. You want to read the instructions of your particular cream to know how long you will need to rub the cream in for and how much to add.
- Wrap the area in saran wrap. This part is crucial as it's what activates the numbing agents by trapping heat in with the cream. Simply fasten it to your skin with some medical tape if need be, or completely wrap it around your body.
- Wait 40 minutes to an hour. This will depend on the cream you use, and again, follow the instructions provided on the bottle to know when you should be good. You'll know, though, because the area will start to go numb after which remove the saran wrap and wipe the excess cream off.
Ask Your Artist if you Have any Questions
It would also be a good idea to consult your artist. They work with these creams on a regular basis, and they know which ones are the most successful. Also, they might affect the artist's ability to tattoo you. After all, it's making the tattoo artist's canvas—your body—greasier than they are used too.
This can cause problems if they aren't comfortable working with it. So, make sure you talk to your tattoo artist first and if they don't like working with numbing agents, but you do, find and artist that work with you.
Now that you have reviewed our shortlist, you have a better idea of what products are available to you. We think any of these five creams, gels, and sprays are worth a shot. All of them are effective and have their advantages and disadvantages. With a variety of options, why suffer through hours of needling pain if you don’t have to?
No matter which one you choose, we think a pre-treatment numbing product will help to reduce your anxiety going into the session and your pain during it. These products can only enhance your experience. While pain is often considered a right of passage in tattooing, it does not have to be a necessity.