Anaesthesia: a safe method when having a tattoo? | 10 Masters

Anaesthesia: A safe method when having a tattoo?

Is anaesthesia the solution to a painless tattoo?

30 June 2022


Getting a tattoo can be very nice, but also very painful.

Some areas of the body with more nerve endings than others, and therefore they are more sensitive to needles and feel the pokes.

Likewise, the pain threshold always depends on each person and some people do not tolerate it that well. For these cases, many opt for anaesthetic methods to reduce the pain, but did you know it's not a great idea? We'll tell you why.

There are several analgesic methods to reduce pain, such as creams, but they are quite controversial.

There are tattoo artists who simply don't care about using them or not as long as the person doesn't suffer, but on the contrary there are those who think that to get a tattoo you must go through that moment of pain.

At the end of the day, you're putting ink inside your skin, so that's the price to pay.

But the truth is that many people really do not tolerate pain, and it can even make them faint.

To avoid this, here are some methods.


Numbing creams

This type of creams are quite common among tattoo artists, since they are legally approved, and they need to be prescribed by a doctor.

When we talk about painkillers, anaesthetics or any type of chemicals or medications, we need to be very careful. Not all creams are approved, that is, not all creams are verified by experts to be marketed and endorsed by an institution. And this is crucial.

Besides, it is necessary to follow the indications and always read the prospectus.

There are several options on the market, such as Emla or TKTX, but in some places, they are not permitted.


How do we apply anesthetic creams?

In general, 1 gr is used per centimetre of skin and a very thick layer of cream must be applied for it to really be effective.

The application may vary as indicated by each brand, but it is recommended to wash the entire area well, preferably with hot water, shave and then apply the cream in a layer of no less than 2mm and cover with transparent plastic film for one hour.

This way, we will ensure that the medicine can be well introduced into the pores.

Are they safe?

Rarely, some ointments can cause allergic reactions, so it is advisable to consult an expert before using them.

The levels of lidocaine (local anaesthetic drug) they contain are somewhat high (around 5%) so they may be dangerous in cases where it is not applied correctly or applied excessively.

In some unlikely situations, methemoglobinemia can occur, a disorder in which red blood cells lose the ability to transport oxygen correctly to the tissues, producing a bluish tint in the skin, a feeling of irritability, anxiety or even lack of oxygen.

Can they affect the tattoo?

Likewise, creams have anticoagulants. On the one hand, they have vasodilators so that lidocaine enters the skin pores more efficiently, but they also have vasoconstrictors to prevent the ink from irrigating the bloodstream.

Depending on the bloodstream, the ink injection process may not be as effective and may not heal in the same way, the skin tends to become harder, more tense, and it is not as flexible, and it doesn't bleed in the same way.

In case we cause a wound, since it does not bleed that much, there is no way to know how much damaged has been caused.

Finally, it's effect can last up to 4 hours... It's very variable. In case the tolerance to the product is low, the pain may not be too much.

However, when the anaesthesia is gone the client may feel too much pain all of a sudden, making hard to finish the session. T

his is why many tattoo artists prefer not to use them and work with a natural and progressive pain. Other tattoo artists simply don't like the feel of these creams on the skin and prefer not to use them.

Anyhow, you should have a chat with your client to agree on this.

General anaesthesia, is it possible?

Actually this is something very new and there is not too much information.

It is the same procedure as before surgery, and since it is injectable anaesthesia and total numbness there is no way a tattoo artist can carry out this procedure without a team of specialised doctors.

This makes it very expensive, over $40,000.


The benefits can vary since the person can remain in an induced coma for many hours without moving or feeling anything, so the session would be very productive.

In addition, there are no alterations in the blood, since it irrigates well and does not affect the result and the healing process.

A very recent case is that of the artist Joaquín Ganga, known as Ganga Tattoo, who revealed how he carried out the procedure with his client, the famous singer Post Malone.

The studio works side by side with a team of doctors and tattoo artists who work together in the same session to perform several tattoos at the same time and speed up the process in very large designs.

The session took place in a private clinic in Los Angeles and in addition to having tattoo artists, the moment was also used to perform a dental procedure.

The session lasted 7 hours and 4 tattoos were made.


Undoubtedly, this is something very recent, so we can't exactly determine the pros and cons. It is a procedure for those few who are willing to pay its cost. And it is necessary to have a team of specialists, since it is a very risky and delicate medical procedure.

What is the best option for painless tattooing?

There are various methods to reduce pain, especially for people whose pain threshold is low.

Remember, the same creams or products with anaesthesia are not available in all places, and they might be considered illegal for sale. Make sure you consult this before.

It is important to have a good communication with your client and also check with specialists, both dermatologists to rule out possible allergies, and clinical doctors to avoid future complications to always be able to purchase the product under medical prescription.

Do you suffer a lot with needles? Do you prefer to tattoo with or without anaesthesia? Drop us a comment!


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