How To Find The Best Tattoo Numbing Cream And Everything Else You Need To Know

Planning to get a tattoo? Topical anesthetics or numbing gels or creams can save you from the pain! Know how to find the best tattoo numbing cream and more with the help of this guide!

Many types of numbing products are already available around. But be careful! Not all are meant to be used for tattoos. Some can even ruin your ink!

Fortunately, this guide is here to help you find the right one! Read on to learn more about numbing creams, the different types, how they work and how to use them.

**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can also click links above to check current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.


What Are Numbing Creams?

Best Tattoo Numbing Cream

Numbing gels and creams are medical products used to desensitize the skin or other external body parts upon application. The main ingredients in numbing creams depend on the type and brand.

These are used in many procedures like optical, dental, medical, dermatological, and cosmetic procedures like piercings, hair removal treatment, and tattoos. They are also used for sunburn, poison ivy, insect bites, and minor wounds or scrapes.

This topical anesthetic is usually applied to the skin one to two hours before a tattooing procedure. It works by temporarily numbing the skin’s nerve endings. The effect can last around 60 to 90 minutes.

However, not every type of numbing products, either creams or gels, are suited for all circumstances. Some should never be applied on tattoos.

Although there are side effects to using numbing creams, most are very minor and the chances are generally low. As long as you stick to the recommended doses and way of use, you’re good.

Side effects only normally happen to people with very sensitive skin, or have underlying skin conditions at the time of application of the numbing product. They either occur immediately upon application or at a later time. However, they can last for a day or two.

If you have any weird allergies, doubts, or if you think your skin can react adversely, it’s always best to consult a doctor before attempting to apply any product.

So, before deciding to use numbing cream, gel, or spray for your pain, make sure that you choose the correct type. Read and take note of the ingredients and the strengths or dosage.

Using the wrong sort of anesthetic products can lead to various problems, like:

  • Failure of tattoo ink to set and insert into the skin properly. This can affect the appearance and quality of your final tattoo.
  • Some tattoo artists can even reject or refuse to put tattoo on you if you applied an inappropriate numbing product. That’s always a bummer. 
  • If you used a kind of numbing cream not meant for a particular function, it may end up not working at all. This defeats the purpose of using it in the first place, plus you still end up in pain. 
  • Side effects due to the wrong product, way and time of application which include:
  • Minor skin irritation
  • Redness 
  • Inflammation/swelling 
  • Itchiness 
  • Burning/tingling sensations at site of application 
  • Skin irritation or inflammation can also make your tattoo experience even worse.

This can also lead to infection and a host of other problems.

Different Types Of Tattoo Anesthetic Creams And How They Work

Best Tattoo Numbing Cream

Knowing the types of anesthetic agents also tell you about how they work or which ingredients influence your body’s pain receptors. These are the three main types of numbing agents and how they work.

  • Nerve Inhibitors Or Blockers

Most kinds of local anaesthetics and other types of numbing creams for tattoos work as nerve blockers.

These products have added chemicals that block nerve endings. This works by preventing your nerves from sending the required volume of pain signals to your brain at a given time.

However, these cannot completely remove pain, although most work well in lessening it.

The nerves still remain functional since only the route between your nerves and your brain are hindered. Normally, nerve inhibitors are combined with nerve desensitizers, which will be discussed next, to maximize their numbing effect.

  • Nerve Desensitizers Or Deadeners

In contrast to how nerve blockers prevent pain warning signals to reach your brain, nerve deadeners work by temporarily halting the function of your nerves. Therefore, no pain signal is registered from them at all.

However, the downside of using nerve deadeners for reducing pain from tattooing is that they don’t penetrate deep enough. They cannot reach down deep enough into your skin to anesthetize most nerves affected by tattoo needles.

These nerves are found within the layer of your skin called dermis, which is underneath the outermost epidermis. This is why nerve deadeners and blockers are mixed together: they work best when both effects are combined.

  • Vasoconstrictors

Unlike the previous two, vasoconstrictors are not actually anesthetic agents. They only cause the contraction of blood vessels, constricting them or making them narrower.

This way, blood flow slows down along with chemical absorption and signal transfer. Vasoconstrictors incorporated with different types of desensitizing agents to enhance their effect.

The reduced blood flow rate causes the chemicals to diffuse more slowly. This makes the pain reducing effect to last longer.

Not only that, vasoconstrictors also have another effect. Because of slower rate of blood flow, they can also minimize bleeding around the skin area.

What To Look For In The Best Tattoo Numbing Cream

Best Tattoo Numbing Cream

The best tattoo numbing cream must be effective, safe, and elicits quick, long-lasting pain relief. Here are other things that you should look for in choosing the right product.

  • The Right Ingredients

What makes a numbing cream respond quickly and effectively are the right combination of ingredients. Lidocaine, a topical anesthetic, is believed by experts to be the best. FDA approves 5% lidocaine as the required amount.

  • Non-Greasy

The best tattoo numbing cream should not affect the quality of the tattoo in any way. This often happens when a numbing cream is too greasy, causing the tattoo to get distorted. Choose a numbing cream that promises not to damage your tattoo.

  • Minimal To No Side Effects

Topical solutions can have side effects with varying degrees depending on their composition. Choose a numbing cream with no side effects like those mentioned previously.

  • A Price Within Your Budget

Numbing products can differ in ingredients, effect, and availability, which affects their price range. Picking a numbing cream that comes at a reasonable price requires some research. Be wise, choose one that is cheap, yet effective.

  • Recommended By A Professional

Professional advice or recommendation plays a major role for medications like topical anesthetics. It’s always wise to seek the advice of a dermatologist, clinician or expert for specific concerns and situations.

Ask questions about allergies, skin sensitivity, or things like contraindications.

For example, drugs with lidocaine as an ingredient have contraindications for people with corn allergies, Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, heart block, severe sinoatrial block, Adams-Stokes syndrome, and others.

  • Best Customer Reviews

Aside from expert advice, the other good option to know more about a product is by reading buyer reviews, like those provided in this article. The best way to know the effects of a product is from people who have actually used it before.

Five Best Tattoo Numbing Cream Reviews

**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can also click links above to check current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

1. Numb 100 Topical Anesthetic Cream

Best Tattoo Numbing Cream


This product contains 5% lidocaine and acts as a local anesthetic for the temporary relief of local and anorectal discomfort.

It penetrates deeply into the skin for quick and effective numbing. It is used mainly as topical anesthetic and pre-treatment pain reliever. It penetrates into your skin’s dermal layers, reaching to where your pain receptors are located.

The longer lasting effects can last up to 90 minutes, longer than other lidocaine ointments. It helps manage and alleviate pain associated with beautification methods, anorectal disorders, surgical wounds, and inflammation due to ailments and injuries.

This product is offered with a hassle free warranty following a “no questions asked” policy for the first 45 days upon purchasing. It also comes with a money back or replacement guarantee.

Numb 100 can give you a pain free experience without any itching, redness or other side effects. It is one of the most effective numbing cream formulas in the United States.

It is available as an over the counter drug for topical administration and is approved by the US FDA.


  • Penetrates deeply
  • Quick and Long lasting effects
  • A little bit goes a long way
  • Hassle free warranty policy
  • Claims no side effects
  • Can be applied up to 6 times a day 
  • Gives excellent results as long as it is used as directed 
  • Loved by many users


  • Tends to dry up quickly
  • Very Few reports of no numbing effect

2. Numb 520 Numbing Cream

Best Tattoo Numbing Cream


Numb 520 is a fast acting topical anesthetic cream that delivers great effect in just 20 minutes. It contains 5% Lidocaine that helps in addressing pain and itchiness.

It is originally formulated for anorectal disorders but it is now also widely used for temporary relief of pain associated with tattoos and burns. The cream features a Liposomal Technology that promotes faster absorption, allowing the skin to absorb the cream within just 3-5 minutes. Its effect can last for about an hour.


  • Fast-acting
  • Lasts for an hour
  • Fast absorbing
  • 5% Lidocaine


  • Contains glycol which tends to make skin greasy
  • A few reports about ineffectiveness to numb the skin

3. Hush Anesthetic Numbing Gel

Best Tattoo Numbing Cream


Specifically designed for a painless tattoo experience, this product puts the welfare of both artist and user in mind. It contains 4% lidocaine and takes full effect within an hour upon application. The numbing effect lasts for about an hour.

Came out with a spray and a soap, all containing lidocaine. This prevents pain before, during and after a tattooing session. Using all three products together allow reapplication for longer lasting pain relief.


  • No reports of possibly affecting tattoo ink quality
  • Epinephrine and paraben free
  • 100% vegan
  • Contains 4% lidocaine, below maximum FDA limits to minimize side effects 
  • Manufactured in the USA 
  • Can be reapplied


  • Complemented by spray and soap for best results so can cost you more
  • Takes longer to take effect and less time being effective

4. Numb Master Topical Anesthetic Cream

Best Tattoo Numbing Cream


Numb master is a non-cakey, non-oily, non-sticky cream in a fast penetrating water based formula. It contains 5% lidocaine which takes effect within 20 to 25 minutes and lasts for a couple of hours at most.

This cream is widely used for dermatological procedures other than tattooing, like laser treatments, microdermabrasion, dermapen, and waxing.

It is one of the most preferred brands by both professionals and users. The fast and deep penetrating ability numbs for longer.

Ingredients include glycols and cholesterol, which might cause the skin surface to become slightly greasy.


  • Contains higher lidocaine concentration within FDA limits
  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Numbing effects last for 90 up to 120 minutes
  • Full effect in just 20 to 30 minutes upon application


  • Slightly greasy
  • Very few reports on possible reaction with certain tattoo inks

5. TOPICAINE 5% Topical Anesthetic Gel

Best Tattoo Numbing Cream


Topicaine also contains 5% lidocaine in a penetrating gel. It also contains skin soothing agents like shea butter and alpha bisabolol. It does not only temporarily relieve pain, but also itching.

You can buy Topicaine even without a prescription. It is quick acting and elicits maximum numbing effects on the skin the skin efficiently from 30 minutes to an hour upon application.

It comes in a clear, non-oily, non-greasy gel that does not dry up quickly like other products.


  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Free shipping with no sales tax
  • Has skin soothing ingredients
  • Contains 5% lidocaine
  • Non-greasy and non-oily
  • Cools and absorbs fast


  • Too weak for tattoo sessions
  • Tends to give extreme post tattoo pain


Based on customer reviews and the factors mentioned in this buyer's guide, the clear winner as the best tattoo numbing cream is the Numb 100 Topical Anesthetic Cream!

Users love it, and it relieves pain quickly with no side effects. Although it tends to dry up quickly, users find that using saran wrap to prevent evaporation makes the effect faster and longer lasting.

Was this article able to help you find the best numbing cream? Let me know what you think, leave your comments, suggestions, and questions in the comments section below!

Emily Brathen

Hi there! I'm Emily Brathen. I am a fitness and yoga instructor and a mom of one. Despite my hectic schedule, I still find time for doing the thing I love most - fitness and yoga. I love doing and teaching fitness and yoga because in my own little way, I am able to encourage people to take health and fitness back into their own hands.

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