Emla Article

5 Reasons to Embrace Numbing Cream to Improve Your Tattoo Experience

by | May 24, 2024

Professional tattooer carefully doing tattoo on girl hand using tattoo machine in modern tattoo studio

Are you gearing up for your next tattoo session but dreading the pain? Or maybe it’s your first venture into the world of body art and you’re nervous about how painful it will be. Look no further!

Finding the best way to help numb your tattoo pain plays an important role in making sure you get a more enjoyable tattoo experience – and this is where using a tattoo numbing cream, such as Emla, comes in.

Emla skin numbing cream – available without a prescription from your local pharmacy – helps prevent tattooing pain, making your inking experience more comfortable and memorable for all the right reasons!

How does a numbing cream work?

Whether it’s intricate designs or a meaningful symbol, the allure of body art unfortunately comes with the inevitable discomfort of the tattooing process (it does, after all, involve your skin being repeatedly punctured by needles).

And this is where a skin numbing cream can come to the rescue.

Skin numbing creams – like Emla – work by temporarily affecting the nerves in your skin. Emla is specially formulated and contains two numbing agents (anaesthetics) called lidocaine and prilocaine which help prevent pain by blocking nerve pain signals from your skin to your brain.

You need to apply Emla skin numbing cream to your skin at least 1 hour before getting your tattoo, so the numbing process has time to work.

Emla skin numbing cream works locally, just on the area of skin where it’s applied, so you only have to put it where your design is going. It comes in two handy sizes (5 g and 30 g tubes) allowing you to select the right sized pack – big or small – to match the size of your tattoo.

Image of young happy woman with tattoo smiling and looking at camera isolated over black background

How can numbing cream enhance your tattoo experience?

Nervous about tattooing pain? Here are just 5 of the reasons why you should try Emla skin numbing cream.

1. Helps reduce pain for a less stressful experience

Numbing your skin with Emla before the tattooing starts helps reduce the pain making the whole experience more tolerable and less stressful.

2. Helps prevent flinching or moving

Less pain generally means less flinching. Being fidgety or moving about during tattooing can cause problems. It may mean you have to take more breaks which extends the length of the session, and the longer the tattoo takes the more it can hurt. Flinching or moving about can also cause the tattoo artist to make mistakes.

3. Helps the artist focus on tattooing

Being calm and relaxed about your tattoo helps you and the tattooist. Producing good body art requires skill and attention to detail, and tattoo artists need to concentrate and focus throughout the process. If you are stressed or anxious about the pain, you may start to move or distract your tattooist and that’s when mistakes can happen.

Tattoo artist in black gloves making a tattoo on the leg.

 4. Makes the experience rewarding

Getting a tattoo is something that you’ll probably never forget – so it needs to be memorable for all the right reasons. Being stressed before or during your tattooing session doesn’t make for happy memories and may increase the pain you feel. By making Emla part of your pre-session planning, you can relax, enjoy the process and reap the rewards of all the hard work knowing it’s been as painless as possible.

5. Get tattoos anywhere on the body

Getting a large tattoo or one in a particularly sensitive place? Then you may need help to manage or reduce pain and discomfort. Some parts of the body are less painful to tattoo while others are considered more painful. Similarly, a large tattoo will take longer to complete and may be more painful.

Woman with neck and chest tattoos

Examples of some painful and not so painful spots to get a tattoo include:

More Painful Areas:Less Painful Areas:
Neck or ThroatBack
ArmpitUpper Chest
ElbowFront - Outside of thigh

Application tips for effective numbing before your tattoo session

Emla skin numbing cream is a topical anaesthetic, so you apply it directly to the surface of your skin before your tattoo session and then it is removed just before the tattooing starts.

It’s important to talk to your tattooist beforehand about where you want your design to go and how long the session will last:

  • Emla numbs the skin only in the area where it’s applied – so you need to have decided where your tattoo is going
  • Emla should be applied 1 hour before tattooing starts – so you will need to remember to leave adequate time between applying your Emla skin numbing cream and the start of your tattooing session.

Learn more about how to apply Emla numbing cream.