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Tattoo Numbing Creams: What You Need to Know

Updated: Jan 22

The age-old debate of whether pain is an essential part of the tattooing process is ongoing, but one thing is certain – many individuals opt for numbing creams to make their tattoo experience more bearable. However, are these creams as foolproof as they seem? Let's delve into the world of tattoo numbing creams, how they work, what you need to know and the crucial question of safety.

Tattoo Numbing Creams: What You Need to Know

How Numbing Creams Work: Numbing creams come in two forms – pre-tattoo cream and post-tattoo liquid (gel or spray). While various brands like Emla, LMX4, Dr Numb, TKTX, and others flood the market, most contain lidocaine, a compound used to treat ventricular tachycardia, a serious heart rhythm disorder.

Lidocaine, when applied as a cream, only numbs the outer layer of skin (epidermis). As the tattoo needle penetrates into the dermis, where nerves reside, lidocaine creams provide only minimal relief from pain. To enhance effectiveness, some products include propylene glycol, aiding deeper nerve absorption.

Misconceptions and Risks: Contrary to popular belief, topical lidocaine is not the same as lidocaine injections used in medical procedures. The latter acts as a vasoconstrictor, causing blood vessels to tighten, minimizing bleeding and swelling. While this may aid the tattooing process, it can also make the skin more difficult to tattoo, altering its texture and appearance.

Some numbing creams may contain epinephrine to slow absorption, but excessive use can lead to tachycardia. Others may include benzocaine, which poses risks like methemoglobinemia, especially when combined with certain medications or underlying health conditions.

Navigating the Risks: As with any product, numbing creams aren't risk-free. Users should choose reputable brands, adhere to recommended dosages, and avoid applying them to broken skin. Individuals with underlying health issues or on specific medications should exercise caution.

Studio Policy: For clients opting for numbing creams, it's essential to understand the studio's policy. Excessive use or complications may hinder the tattooing process, and in extreme cases, pose health risks. In such instances, clients are responsible for the full appointment cost, and studios may take necessary measures to ensure payment. At Valhalla Studio Kilmarnock we stock genuine TKTX, available to buy in studio or on our site.

Tattoo Numbing Creams: What You Need to Know

Numbing creams can indeed make the pain of getting a tattoo more bearable, but understanding their limitations and potential risks is crucial. If you choose to go the numbing route, do so responsibly. At Valhalla Tattoo Studio, we prioritize your safety and satisfaction. Whether you embrace the pain or seek relief, our skilled artists are ready to create a lasting masterpiece for you.

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