Tattoo Numbing Cream: Everything You Need To Know

Does Tattoo Numbing Cream Work?

With the right numbing cream, yes, it really works. A high quality tattoo numbing cream will leave you pain free during your procedure. 

Sounds great right? The problem comes down to confidently purchasing one of the hundreds of numbing creams and gels available to you online. Unfortunately, many have been proven to not work as well as promised, or even been shown to be a fake representation of a branded product. Counterfeit numbing cream and gel is being sold online to unsuspecting customers right now. 

We’ve found many of these numbing products carry less of the active numbing agent than is advertised. Sometimes the most active ingredient, lidocaine, is suspected to be missing entirely. Customer reviews reveal they are left unhappy and in pain with these false products. 

With today’s selection of over the counter numbing creams, tattooing no longer needs to be considered a painful procedure. 

How Do I Find High Quality Numbing Cream That Really Works?

With customers reaching out to us after having purchased low quality numbing from unreliable sites, we’ve curated a list of our top 3 recommended and tested numbing tattoo anesthetics for tattooing. We’ll list our strongest numbing cream, gel and spray and explain how they should be used. 

Best Anesthetic Numbing for Tattoos

#1 J-Pro: Numbing Cream

J-Pro numbing cream has proven itself to be the best numbing cream for tattoos. It is the strongest and longest lasting pre-numbing cream currently available to you over the counter. A combination of Lidocaine and Prilcaine will have you pain free while getting tattooed. 

*For longer sessions remove numbing in sections as your artist works.

 *Area typically remains numb for 3 - 5 hours depending on skin type and location on the body.

*Best used BEFORE tattoo procedure begins.

How to Apply J-Pro Numbing Anesthetic:

1. Pre-cleanse the area to be treated with antibacterial soap or alcohol.

2. Apply a thickness of 2-3 mm of J-Pro to the area and cover fully with plastic wrap.  

3.  Let numbing cream absorb for 60-90 minutes before beginning tattoo.

#2 Numb Assist: Numbing Gel

Numb Assist numbing gel relieves pain and swelling in minutes. Apply this secondary numbing gel to already open, broken skin for quick relief and even longer lasting numbing.

*Skin typically remains numb for 20-40 minutes once the get is removed depending on skin type and location on the body. 

*Must be used AFTER tattoo procedure beings to keep the area numb throughout longer tattoo sessions. Numbing gels only work on broken skin.

How to Apply Numb Assist Numbing Gel:

1. Pre-cleanse the area with antibacterial cleanser before applying numbing gel.

2. Apply a generous layer of Numb-Assist over broken skin. 

3. Let sit for 10-20 minutes before removing and continuing your procedure.

#3 Ebanel: Numbing Spray

Ebanel Numbing Spray is fast acting and relieves pain and swelling in seconds. This spray works very well to keep you numb however it should be noted that it does not last as long as J-Pro or Numb Assist. Nonetheless it is the fastest acting and it is popular for its ability to quickly re-numb acutely painful areas. 


*Must be used AFTER tattoo procedure beings to keep the area numb throughout longer tattoo sessions. Numbing sprays, like gels, only work on broken skin.

How to Apply Ebanel Numbing spray

1. Clean and dry targeted area.

2. Apply as needed during and throughout procedure. 

3. Allow 3-5 minutes for effect. Reapply as needed. 

What is the difference between numbing Cream, numbing Gel and numbing Spray?

Numbing Cream should be used to pre-numb the area for approximately 1-3 hours before your tattoo procedure begins. Numbing Creams are extremely strong but need a long setup time to work properly. Creams take the longest to get you numb, and keep you numb the longest, usually hours. Remember: numbing creams are applied before the skin has been broken. 

Numbing Gel is a secondary numbing agent. They only work properly on broken skin. Numbing Gels have a higher water content so that they are easily and quickly absorbed by open skin. They should be applied throughout long tattoo sessions while taking breaks. They work fast and keep you numb. Gels take 10-15 minutes to get you numb, and last 30+ minutes.

Numbing Spray is best used for acute or situational pain throughout the procedure. This can be used in place or along with gels. Numbing sprays have the highest water content making them the most absorbable. They work the fastest, taking only seconds to numb, however they last the shortest amount of time. Sprays, like gels, only work on broken skin. Never use a numbing spray on unbroken skin.

Do Tattoo Artists Recommend Numbing Cream?

Is it recommended to apply a tattoo numbing cream before getting your tattoo? Tattoo artists absolutely recommend a numbing cream before getting a tattoo. Not only does it keep their “canvas” (you) calm and still, but it also frees up a lot of emotional stress that the artist can sometimes feel if their customer is clearly in a lot of pain. 

Why tattoo artists recommend numbing creams:

  1. A numb client is a still canvas. Tattoo artists already have the challenge of tattooing permanent, life-long art on an uneven, soft, and often breathing, surface. They may have to find new working positions in order to place the design you want exactly so. Adding a surface that is unable to remain still due to pain and their job becomes even more challenging. Tattoo artists prefer a comfortable, and still client.
  2. A calm client frees up the artist's emotional space. A client in pain creates stress for the artist. Coming in pre-numbed allows your artist to focus on doing what they do best, tattoo their best work for you. Free up their mental space so they can get into a good flow by coming in pre-numbed and relaxed.
  3. Numbing reduces swelling and stops excess bleeding. Numbing cream, gel and sprays containing the active ingredient lidocaine helps to restrict excess blood flow and calm down swollen skin. This allows your artist to see their work clearly and reduces the amount of time they need to spend wiping down your tattoo.

So, if tattoo artists everywhere recommend a numbing cream you might be wondering, “why don’t they numb you before a tattoo?”

Why Doesn't My Tattoo Artist Pre-Numb Me?

Why don’t they numb you before a tattoo? Most tattoo artists do not offer to numb you before your appointment because of three reasons:

  1. A proper numbing cream needs an hour or longer to reach its peak. Artists do not usually have this amount of additional time to add to your appointment, and if they made the time they’d likely charge you for it.
  2. Client’s are often uncomfortable sitting in a waiting room for an hour or more while waiting for their tattoo numbing to fully activate.
  3. Numbing large areas for tattooing for every client would become expensive for an artist who sees several clients per day, and hundreds per year. As you can imagine, an artist would need to raise their fees significantly to compensate not only for the cost of the numbing cream, but the time they would need to spend with you to pre-apply it. 

Is It Bad To Put Numbing Cream On Before A Tattoo?

We wanted to address this question separately since we are often asked, “can you numb yourself before a tattoo?” Whether or not your artist recommends that you pre-numb for your and their comfort, does a numbing cream affect the tattoo itself in any negative way? We are happy to assure you that no, a tattoo numbing cream will not affect the outcome of your tattoo. 

Artists have been creating perfect works of living art using numbing creams for decades.

Addressing Pain Medications: What Can I Take Before A Tattoo To Ease The Pain?

A high quality numbing anesthetic is most recommended for avoiding pain during a tattoo. Following this, you may also consider taking a pain medication such as Tylenol 30 minutes before getting your tattoo to make your tattoos hurt less. Always avoid taking anything that can cause excess blood thinning such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Tylenol has been proven safe to take before a tattoo procedure as long as your doctor approves. 

1 Response

Inked Inspired
Inked Inspired

March 26, 2024

Thanks for the informative read on tattoo-numbing creams!

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