Note that if you’re a customer, chances are you won’t need to purchase a tattoo numbing cream because your tattoo artist or parlor of choice will likely have the product stocked. If you’re a tattoo artist looking for a numbing cream, you’ll want to look for products with high and allowable concentrations of topical anesthetics like lidocaine and prilocaine. A quality cream will numb the skin and protect against tattoo pain while not interfering with the tattoo process, so look for non-greasy formulas that promise not to cause skin swelling and are upfront about any possible allergic reactions. Get reviews from other tattoo artists and customers regarding their experiences with various numbing creams and which brands they would and would not recommend. Generally, numbing products are affordable, but they’re not cheap, so understand that searching for the absolute lowest price could affect the quality of the product you get.
Typically, products like tattoo numbing spray, gel, and cream contain two main active ingredients. These are lidocaine and prilocaine, both of which are local anesthetics and often used together for topical, dermal anesthesia. Often, your location in the world determines how much of each ingredient is legally used in a tattoo numbing cream. For example, in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates how much lidocaine and prilocaine a tattoo numbing gel, cream, or spray can contain. As a result, various brands of numbing products boast the highest amount of lidocaine and prilocaine allowed by the FDA, which most likely boosts the products’ numbing power.
It’s important that the other ingredients in the product don’t interfere with the tattoo process or cause any adverse skin reactions — after all, the point of the cream is to protect the skin while it receives a tattoo. Look for guarantees that the cream won’t interfere with the ink, and watch for words like “non-greasy” and “grease-free.” Also check for warnings related to allergic and other adverse skin reactions. Find out whether the creams you’re considering will cause any kind of skin swelling, as this can affect your ability to draw and apply a tattoo to the skin.
Ask other tattoo artists and customers about the numbing cream they’d recommend. Tattoo artists use numbing products every day, and they know what does and doesn’t work for their customers. Customers can also provide firsthand accounts of how well the products worked and whether they interfered with the tattooing process. Connect with other tattoo artists and customers at local tattoo parlors and via online message boards and forums. You can also check customer review sections of online shops.
Once you’re ready to purchase tattoo numbing cream, check for a catalog or website for the product’s manufacturer, company, or brand. You might find affiliate companies that sell the cream, too. Similarly, companies that specialize in providing tools and other products to individual tattoo artists and tattoo parlors typically stock numbing cream, spray, and gel. Note that prices will vary depending on the brand and whether you purchase the cream in bulk or in individual containers. Bulk purchases will cost more, depending on the brand and how many containers are included.