You may need to apply numbing cream at home several hours before a surgical procedure.
The important instructions on how to use numbing cream include:
Use the smallest amount of cream required to numb the skin.
Avoid applying numbing cream over a large area of skin.
Do not use numbing cream on sensitive areas of the skin (such as the lips).
Avoid applying heat to the area where numbing cream has been applied.
Avoid using bandages or plastic wrap over areas of the skin treated with numbing cream.
If you need to cover the skin that has been treated with numbing cream (to keep the cream in place), be sure to first consult with your healthcare provider.
Avoid using numbing cream on open wounds.
When applying numbing cream to a child, be aware that dosages are based on the child’s weight.
Never let a child use numbing cream without adult supervision.
Store numbing cream at room temperature, away from heat and moisture.
When it comes to using numbing cream for tattoos, it can take a little bit of trial and error to get the process completely right. Here are the best steps you can follow to keep your sessions pain-free:
1. Pick the right set-up; not every numbing cream is right for every tattoo.
If a client comes in with a random numbing cream off the shelf they're going to need to reschedule; the right numbing cream makes a huge difference in how long it lasts and if it can be applied during their session. If they bring in cream without epinephrine, it's going to wear off halfway through their tattoo and they're going to get a very unpleasant surprise. Check our selection chart (to the right) and make sure you're working with the right tools.
2. Wash the client's skin with green soap or a numbing wash.
You'll want to remove dead skin and oil before you apply your numbing solution. Green soap will work just fine, but numbing washes increase the numbing effect of other topicals by keeping the skin pH neutral. Green soap has a small amount of alcohol in it, which can make skin more acidic and can slow down or stop some creams and sprays.
3. Apply the pre-deadener and wait.
Ideally, a client can do steps 2 and 3 at home, because after you've applied your pre-deadener you'll need to wait 5-30 minutes for the area to numb. The amount of time depends on the numbing cream you're using and the area it's applied to thicker skin takes longer to numb than thin skin.
4. Wash off your pre-deadener and start the tattoo.
Once the area is numb, you'll wash off the pre-deadener and start the tattoo. It doesn't need to be on the skin in order to keep working, and some numbing creams that are safe topically can cause irritation to broken skin.
5. Apply an approved spray every 15-20 minutes during the session.
Preferably a vasoconstrictor, your broken-skin approved spray will keep the client numb throughout the session. If you're using a spray you can transfer it to a small spray bottle with a nozzle to make it easier to bag.