Is it worth it to use numbing creams or sprays during a tattoo session?
Numbing creams and sprays have become very popular in recent years with both clients and artists . Are they worth all the hype?
Numbing sprays used to be used at the end of a tattoo session to help the client during the more painful part of a procedure and get a little more accomplished in a session. Numbing sprays work by entering the body through all the broken skin and numbing the area being tattooed for up to half an hour.
Numbing creams are a product that is put on the skin up to 2 hours before a session and usually wrapped in saran wrap to increase the effectiveness. The chemicals in this type of numbing agent are much stronger as it needs to penetrate unbroken skin.
Numbing Cream Dangers
Both numbing creams and sprays are not meant for large areas of skin as they do come with some side effects. Over use of numbing creams can give a client breathing problems and heart issues. Most products have 5% numbing agent which is regulated by each counties board of health. New numbing creams available on the internet can contain up to 30% numbing agent which is well above safe levels.
Numbing creams and sprays were never designed for the tattoo industry. They are usually used for smaller areas such bug bites, hemorrhoid relief and small injection sites. By using these products on large areas of broken skin as seen in a tattoo, the side effects and danger to the client will increase dramatically.
Effects of Numbing Agents.
A lot of artists prefer their clients do not use numbing agents of any type. It does change the consistency of the skin which makes it harder to tattoo. For long sessions, numbing agents do wear off which then tends to make the skin even more sensitive to tattooing and wiping. Reapplying numbing agents throughout a tattoo session can lead to severe reactions such as chemical burns or longer healing times as blood is drawn away from the skins surface which slows healing. Lidocaine can also react with some red pigments creating heavy scabbing and prolonged healing. Some clients have noticed colour changes in their tattoo after using numbing agents which is almost impossible to rectify. Another drawback of using numbing products is the skin can turn excessively red during the tattoo session which makes it hard for the artist to see what they are doing.
Bandaging After Using Numbing Products
If numbing agents are not washed off of the body after a procedure and then any sort of plastic wrap is used to bandage the client, severe issues can affect the client. Wrapping the skin in plastic can heat up the tattooed area and reactivate any remaining chemicals from the numbing solution resulting in either chemical burns or lidocaine overdose. If using a numbing agent, a second skin type bandage should never be used as this can lead to complications during healing.
Should You use Numbing Agents?
Immaculate Concept discourages the use of any numbing agents. We realize that some clients will use the products on sensitive areas but clients need to take all responsibility for any healing issues, colour changes or increased amount of time needed to tattoo.
Red reaction on a tattooing numbing spray. 3 weeks after session.
Chemical burn from an internet acquired brand of numbing cream.