Preparing for a tattoo

Tattoos have become a powerful form of self-expression, and for many, they are a lifelong commitment. However, the pain associated with getting a tattoo can be a deterrent. This is where tattoo numbing creams come to the rescue. But how long does their soothing effect last? Let’s dive into the world of tattoo numbing creams to find out.

Understanding tattoo numbing cream

Tattoo numbing creams, also known as topical anesthetics, are applied to the skin before getting a tattoo to minimize the pain for a painless tattoo. These creams work by numbing the nerve endings in the skins top layer. When applied correctly, they can significantly reduce discomfort during the tattooing process.

How long does the numbing effect last?

The duration of the numbing effect can vary depending on several factors, including the specific product used and the individual’s skin type and sensitivity. On average, most tattoo numbing creams start to work within 20-30 minutes of application and provide relief for about 1 to 2 hours. This is often enough to get through a small to medium sized tattoo session.

Factors influencing the duration

Several factors can influence the duration of tattoo numbing cream's effectiveness. These include the specific cream used, the individual's skin type and sensitivity, and the location and size of the tattoo. 

Additionally, the thickness of the cream application and following recommended application guidelines can also impact how long the numbing effect lasts. Below, are a few additional factors that will affect the duration of a Tattoo Numbing Cream:

1. Type of numbing cream

Different numbing creams contain varying concentrations of active ingredients. Some are short acting and provide relief for a brief period, while others have a longer lasting effect. It’s crucial to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for the specific product you’re using.

2. Application technique

Proper application of the cream is essential. Ensuring an even and generous layer on the tattoo area is crucial. Some individuals may choose to apply multiple layers or use occlusive dressings to enhance the cream’s effects.

3. Reapplication and timing

In the case of larger tattoos or sessions that last longer than the initial numbing effect, reapplication of the cream may be necessary. It’s vital to time the reapplication correctly to maintain comfort throughout the session. A good rule of thumb is to reapply the cream when you start feeling discomfort again, but follow the product-specific guidelines to avoid overuse.

Safety And Guidelines

When using the tattoo numbing creams, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Follow these essential guidelines to ensure there are no adverse after-effects or reactions to using tattoo numbing creams:

Patch test: Perform a patch test before using the cream on a larger area to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction.

Clean skin: Make sure the skin is clean and free from lotions, oils, or dirt before applying the cream

Manufacturer instructions: Read and adhere to the manufacturers guidelines for the specific product you’re using.

Consult a professional: If you’re unsure about the numbing cream or its application, consult with your tattoo artist or a healthcare professional.

Health considerations: Discuss the use of numbing creams with your tattoo artist if you have any health concerns or conditions that might affect their use.

Skin Care After A Tattoo

After getting a tattoo, it’s essential to keep the area clean to prevent infection. Gently wash the tattooed area with a mild, fragrance free soap and lukewarm water. Pat the area dry with a clean, soft cloth. Avoid using abrasive materials or rubbing the tattoo aggressively. After cleaning, apply a thin layer of fragrance-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated and prevent excessive dryness or itching.

Protection from the sun

Protecting your new tattoo from the sun is crucial, especially during the initial healing stages. Sun exposure can fade the colors and damage the skin, leading to potential complications. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher before going outside, ensuring that the tattoo area is adequately covered. Consider wearing loose clothing that provides additional protection from direct sunlight.

Hydration and Healthy Diet

Maintaining overall skin health contributes to the healing process of your tattoo. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, which supports the skin's natural healing process. Additionally, consume a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to promote skin regeneration and overall well-being.

Avoid swimming and soaking

During the healing process, it’s important to avoid soaking the tattooed area in water. This includes swimming in pools, hot tubs, and natural bodies of water. Prolonged exposure to water can soften the skin and increase the risk of infection. It’s best to wait until the tattoo is fully healed before submerging it in water.

Resist Picking or Scratching

While the tattoo is healing, you may experience itching, scabbing, or flaking. As tempting as it may be, avoid scratching, picking, or peeling off the scabs. Doing so can result in scarring and may affect the quality of the tattoo. Let the scabs fall off naturally. If necessary, apply a small amount of moisturizer to alleviate itching.

Clothing and Fabrics

Wear loose-fitting clothing made from soft, breathable fabrics to prevent irritation or friction on the tattooed area. Avoid wearing tight or rough fabrics that may rub against the tattoo and cause discomfort or damage to the healing skin.

Follow-Up Care Instructions

Your tattoo artist will provide you with specific aftercare instructions tailored to your tattoo. Follow these instructions diligently to ensure proper healing and preservation of the tattoo's quality. If you have any concerns or notice signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or discharge, consult a healthcare professional immediately.

Long-Term Skincare

Even after your tattoo has fully healed, it's essential to continue practicing good skincare habits. Regularly moisturize the area to maintain skin hydration and preserve the tattoo's colors. Protect the tattoo from excessive sun exposure by using sunscreen whenever the area is exposed to sunlight. Proper long-term care can help your tattoo remain vibrant and sharp for years to come.

Final Thoughts

Tattoo numb cream provides temporary relief from pain during the tattooing process. On average, they last for about 1 to 2 hours. The actual duration can vary based on the product used, skin type, and the technique of application. 

For larger tattoos, it may be necessary to reapply the cream to maintain comfort throughout the session. Remember to prioritize safety, follow guidelines, and consult with professionals if you have any doubts. Tattoo numbing creams are a valuable tool for tattoo enthusiasts, making the tattoo experience more comfortable, even if their effects are temporary.


Isreal olabanji a dental assistant and public health professionals and has years of experience in assisting the dentist with all sorts of dental issues.We regularly post timely and trustworthy medical information and news on Fitness, Dental care, Recipes, Child health, obstetrics, and more.

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