When you think about the tattoo process, you think about pain. This also goes hand in hand with hair removal, waxing, tattoo removal, sunburns, and so on. They all just go hand in hand with pain…right? Well, today I talk about how to deal with that pain and choose the best numbing cream and spray for your situation. While many consider the pain of a tattoo a rite of passage, the truth remains that certain populations exhibit more sensitivity to pain. Rather than a lack of pain tolerance, certain genetic conditions predispose people to sensitivity. Just thinking of going under a needle makes some people cringe in anticipation of that pain, but thankfully, advances in technology relieve a lot of their fears. Just like tattoo machines revolutionized the inked world, numbing products make the medium more accessible!
The best skin numbing creams and sprays both prevent you from feeling excess pain and help your tattoo artist along (or whomever is helping you out with your procedure of choice). Let’s learn what makes numbing creams work, how to use them for various purposes (more than just tattoos), and what to look for while shopping. The advantages of numbing cream outweigh going without, even for people with high pain tolerance! Naturally, ask your artist or doctor about the best ways to use these. Many artists only accept numbing creams due to their utility and efficacy. A doctor (which I am not) will tell you about any medical properties that I miss in this article.
First, let’s take a look at skin numbing cream and how it applies to you. Doctors, beauticians, tattoo artists, waxers, and many more disciplines use skin numbing cream to temporarily dull the sensation of your skin. The relief lasts between thirty minutes to five hours, depending on application method and quality of the cream. It’s safe enough that many varieties are available over-the-counter and from sites like Amazon. I focus only on these over-the-counter varieties due to their availability and good reputation.
As someone interested in any form of body modification—including tattoos—numbing cream provides a way for you to minimize pain. For people with a low pain tolerance, that means you can finally ink a tattoo! For people with good pain tolerance, the numbing cream makes long sessions easier. Splitting the tattoo between different sessions due to pain hinders both you and the artist! Numbing creams also provide a practical use beyond just pain relief, but we’ll get into that later. For a focused look at numbing cream reviews, read our full article.
How Numbing Cream Works
The method of numbing depends on what ingredients the cream uses, so I only focus on Lidocaine creams, for now. Once applied to the skin, it soaks through the thin layer of dermis and blocks the nerve endings it touches. Because of this, any pain that these nerves experience never relays to the brain. As far as your brain knows, you only feel a little pressure in the area! Even that only occurs because the body senses pressure differently than it does pain. As for sensitive skin, look up the main ingredient of the cream, rather than the active ingredient. If petroleum jelly normally irritates your skin, look to tattoo sprays for a different version of the same ingredient—mineral oil. We talk more about the science of numbing cream on this page.
Since numbing cream only serves that purpose and the effect fades as soon as the cream washes away, doctors and artists consider numbing creams very safe. A few side-effects exist with improper care, though. First of all, using too much on a large part of your body—such as on your whole back—risks a nerve blockage far beneath your skin. Your nerves relay more information than pain, so that poses a hazardous risk. Similarly, applying Lidocaine to a deep and profusely bleeding wound may cause it to circulate to other parts of the body. Shallow wounds like tattoos, piercings, waxing, and other skin modifications pose no risk.
How to Use Numbing Cream
Obviously, following the directions of your numbing cream yields the best results. However, many of them fail to mention some tips and tricks that help during beauty routines. For tattoos, apply it ahead of time—whatever the brand recommends. Then, seal it up in saran wrap. This prevents the cream from evaporating and prolongs its effect. You can easily remove the wrap and rinse off the skin before your tattoo session, or you could slowly peel it off during the tattoo session to ensure the absolute maximum effect!
Numbing Cream in a Hospital
In a medical environment, numbing cream relieves the sensation of inserting an IV. During small skin surgeries, it saves the patient a lot of stress. Use it before incising or draining a skin cyst or abscess to reduce discomfort. Removing sensitive parts of the skin such as skin tags, warts, moles, and strange growths all benefit from the use of numbing cream. It helps absolve the patient of that invasive feeling that occurs with any surgery. Apply a thin layer to the affected area and wipe it away after thirty minutes or so. Usually, your surgeon will help you with application, but doing it at home proves cheaper if you live in America.
Numbing Cream for Beauty
For general beauty applications, any painful procedure benefits from the use of numbing cream. Abrasion therapy and dermatherapy both create small pinpricks in your skin. Since the skin breaks and it feels sort of uncomfortable, the numbing cream works wonders. It also helps in the event of a sunburn—even moreso than aloe vera! Perhaps its most useful application involves waxing. Apply it ahead of time, wash it off just before your waxer begins, and enjoy a pain-free hair removal session!
Special Numbing Cream Instructions
In all situations, ensure that your artist, waxer, surgeon, doctor, or beautician knows that you used numbing cream. They sometimes gauge their efficacy based on client reactions. In example, waxers adjust their technique depending on their clients’ pain tolerance. If they know you withstand anything they throw at you, then your session goes by much faster! A doctor may also give you precise directions on how to use your numbing cream.
Best Numbing Cream for Tattoos
The best numbing cream for tattoos contain a high amount of active ingredients (usually a dose of lidocaine) and lasts for a significant amount of time. For large tattoos, you want one that lasts at least three hours. The majority of over-the-counter numbing creams last for about that long, but you can prolong the effects by using the techniques I mentioned in the usage section.
To ensure that it lasts for the duration of your session, check how long it takes for it to work. Some require thirty minutes to truly dull your nerves, while others only need minutes. Even in the event that your numbing cream ‘wears off,’ your nerves still remain dull for several more hours. At most, the final parts of your tattoo process feel like uncomfortable prodding.
Furthermore, numbing creams contain one more advantage for beauty techniques like tattoo art. Certain creams constitute as a ‘glide’—something which aids in the inking process of your tattoo. As your artist fills in your ink and pigment, the glide helps them make smooth movements over your tattoo. Of course, your artists need to wear medical gloves to prevent the cream from affecting themselves, but otherwise it aids them in their work. Naturally, creams with a thicker consistency work better. They keep the gun steady and smooth without too much slipping around.
Tattoo Numbing Cream Reviews
Now that we know all about numbing cream, let’s talk about the specific advantages of each over-the-counter brand. I compare the price, efficacy, duration, production method, and reputation to give you the most balanced numbing cream reviews available. On top of that, each product here is FDA compliant, which means they follow all safety protocols. Use this list of reviews to choose which one suits you best!
HUSH anesthetic – Tattoo Numbing Gel
This stuff contains no epinephrine, ensuring many more people enjoy the beneficial properties of the numbing cream without some extra side effects. Since they developed it specifically for use during a tattoo, it serves as an excellent glide alongside its normal function. It only lasts for two hours, but that’s more than enough to cover small tattoos. In the odd event that it wears off, applying more proves no problem for artist and client alike. This numbing cream also works for tattoo removal, waxing, laser hair removal, piercings, and small surgeries. Due to its efficacy, we wrote a very detailed review of Hush Anesthetic on a page of its own.
Numb 520 offers a large amount of relief thanks to its 5% lidocaine content. As you already know, lidocaine directly relieves pain from the skin when applied by dulling your nerves. Designed for the most sensitive areas of your body, it works on all kinds of ailments—including body modification! Your permanent makeup, tattoo sleeve, Brazilian wax, and more go by in a flash when you use this stuff. It also helps with the post-tattoo itch!
Apply this numbing gel about twenty minutes ahead of time to enjoy the maximum benefits. This works much more quickly than other types of anesthetic cream, so if you want to stock up your own store, I recommend using this one. It contains reduced amounts of oil, so simply water and paper towels removes the gel before a procedure. As with all numbing products, using plastic wrap over the product prolongs its efficacy. This 1 oz. bottle easily covers the area of a half sleeve.
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HUSH Anesthetic – Tattoo Numbing Spray (NEW FORMULA)
When you want to apply something quickly and effectively—or simply need to reach your back—a spray helps you with that. Believe it or not, HUSH Anesthetic makes this tattoo numbing spray with a more effective formula than their cream. To be precise, the droplets easily penetrate the area and only take ten minutes or so to take effect. It lasts for four hours, does not affect the ink, and even works during the healing process. Even for non-tattoo uses, it helps relieve pain and itching in an area. Since HUSH works so well, we go over the brand’s pros and cons in a dedicated page.
Perhaps the most famous on this list, artists around the world combine Vasocaine numbing spray with creams to effectively eliminate pain. Of course, I don’t mean stacking the effects on top of one another—rather, you use a cream beforehand and use the Vasocaine spray once the tattoo process begins. It’s worth noting, however, that Vasocaine numbing spray works for wounds of all kinds. They made it for typical pain relief, so use it for bumps, scratches, scrapes, burns, and similar stuff when you need it. Naturally, permanent makeup, laser removal, and waxing all benefit from Vasocaine numbing spray as well. We review a few other types of numbing spray here, if neither of these two resonate with you.
Out of all the creams, I recommend using HUSH anesthetic numbing cream. Among the sprays, I see the most success with Vasocaine numbing spray. However, judge each one for yourself and find what suits you most—especially since they all work!
Artists and Tattoo Numbing Spray
As long as the numbing cream you use complies with FDA regulations, your artist should have no problem with the numbing cream or spray. The only issue they present is the possibility of numbing your own artist’s fingers! Tell them ahead of time so that they procure the appropriate gloves for the procedure. Honestly, though, since creams must be applied ahead of time, it would take hours before your artist is even affected by it, even without any sort of protection. Since the creams provide the beneficial effect of a tattoo glide, they bring more to the table than they take away.
If your artist still dislikes the idea of topical numbing cream, ask them about alternative numbing products. In example, tattoo numbing spray applies easily both during and after the process, leaves your ink untouched, and helps you through the painful process. Since spray only applies a thin layer of numbing product, your artist need not worry about its effects on themselves or their work. A tattoo numbing spray functions solely as pain relief for you! All of the things I listed work for tattoo artists I’ve met—and their clients—so hopefully these testimonies help sway any old-school artist you run into!
Topical Numbing Cream
Ultimately, the case for numbing cream contains dozens of reasons to use it. As always, ask your artist and doctor about whether it’s right for you and spot test the cream on a small area ahead of time. This avoids complications, allergic reactions, and bad side effects! Along with that, follow all other instructions provided with the cream. Numbing cream opens up the door to a wide range of body modification.
From waxing to tattoos, permanent makeup to piercings, and laser hair removal to surgery, topical numbing cream offers a huge amount of uses. If you wanted to go through any of these procedures but abstained due to the threat of pain, then give this stuff a try. All of them work, plus, it helps you take control of your body and use it the way you want! Enjoy!
To many newbs taking their first look at setting up shop, a tattoo power supply might seem inconsequential to your plans. Just go with whatever comes with the gun, right? They’re all the same, right? That couldn’t be farther from the truth, and any pro who found this site and is looking on how to find the best tattoo power supply system knows it.
I want to talk about the basics of tattoo power supply, what features you’ll want in your power supply, how to find the best tattoo power supply out there, and review a couple power supply units to show you what some outstanding products look like. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what sort of power supply to pair with your tattoo machine! Use this as a guide for setting up your tattoo shop or just learning how to use your tattoo gun.
Best Tattoo Power Supply in 2018 Overview
Where to get it
TattooWorld OTW-P008-3R Dual Digital LCD Tattoo Machine Power Supply
While using your digital power supply, it helps quite a bit to use a foot pedal to control your voltage. Since your cycle speed, stroke, and power are all intertwined, you need full control of your power supply at all times. By using a foot pedal for any of your digital tattoo power supplies, you can adjust your tattoo gun power supply without letting go of your tattoo machine. This speeds up your tattoo session dramatically and makes the inking process feel much more natural.
One major factor in choosing to use a foot pedal is its versatility. Just like a tattoo bed or specialized tattoo chair helps you make your client comfortable, your foot pedal makes your job feel much more natural and completely changes your experience. Moving different parts of your body also helps keep you from getting sore.
What to Expect in the Best Tattoo Power Supply
When the quality of your tattoo session relies entirely on the power supply for tattoo guns that you choose, you have to carefully assess all your options. The best tattoo power supply is compatible with multiple types of cables, allows the use of both rotary and coil machines, accommodates more than one tattoo gun at the same time, and gives you full control over your voltage.
Secondary attributes you should look for are foot pedal compatibility, LED power readouts, multiple forms of power control, surge protection, the ability to endure long sessions without overheating, and a color that appeals to you. Since customizing your power supply afterwards to suit your design tastes can have disastrous consequences regarding temperature and sterilization, you want to stick to a design you enjoy from the get-go.
This might all seem like a lot of features to look for…and that would be because it is. However, you do not want to skimp out on your power supply. Nothing causes your stomach to drop more than losing power while in the middle of inking someone. Losing control because of power fluctuations also sucks and affects the quality of your tattoo. An overheating power supply risks damaging itself over time and speeds up the whole power failure thing. You want to look for the very best tattoo power supply units out there, and I review a few below this priced in an affordable manner.
Tattoo Power Supply Reviews
Before you grab the first tattoo power supply Amazon throws at you, take a look at these reviews. Similar to reading reviews for the tattoo machine Amazon tries to sell you, setting aside a moment to check the quality of your power supply saves you a huge hassle down the road. Expensive tattoo power supplies start at over $450. These ones are all under $100, but still very reliable. If you are using these for a tattoo store, consider stocking some tattoo-specific lotion, numbing cream, and sunscreen to help your clients out.
TattooWorld OTW-P008-3R Dual Digital LCD Tattoo Machine Power Supply
Available in both black and red, this Dual Digital LCD power supply offers the best of both worlds. First, it allows you to change between powering your liner and shader with the flip of a switch. Second, it offers many different ways to control the voltage of your machines. You may use a foot pedal to adjust it with a hands-off approach (incredibly useful for while you’re working) or use the dials to adjust the specific levels of each machine. A clip-on cord lets you quickly and easily adjust your machine. The voltage controls on the back of the machine offer further customization.
It lasts for as long as you take care of it. People who block the vents or paint over the supply to make it match their shop have it fizzle out in a few weeks, while people who use it as intended have it working for years. Considering its price, that’s a pretty long lifetime. It is available in three different styles: compact, standard, and advanced. If you find yourself frequenting tattoo conventions, the compact version helps you make your machines mobile. For hobbyists, any version will do. For pros, stick to the advanced version.
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Dragonhawk Airfoil Tattoo Power Supply for Tattoo Machine
This power supply outputs a whopping 16V, which is plenty of power for any tattoo gun. Use the power supply dial to adjust the power easily. The digital display gives you a precise reading on just how much power you’re using, allowing you to give consistent strokes with your tattoo machine. Since it’s compatible with all RCA cords and clip cords, any tattoo gun out there will work with it. The biggest advantage of this type orf power supply is its ability to precisely change power (something you don’t get easily with foot pedal-based power supplies).
Of course, for people who hate foot pedals, that also proves to be an excellent pro of this power supply. You don’t need one! The Dragonhawk Airfoil power supply also detects power surges and mitigates damage to the power supply, ensuring that a sudden lightning strike won’t fry your shop’s equipment. This would be a poor review if I didn’t mention the aesthetic of the power supply. It looks wicked cool. That’s all I have to say about it!
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Dragonhawk Lcd Dual Tattoo Machine Gun Power Supply
As its name implies, the Dragonhawk LCD Dual Tattoo Machine Gun Power Supply allows you to use one power supply to manage two of your tattoo guns. While it doesn’t power two guns at once, it allows you to quickly and efficiently switch between your shader and your liner as you work. During extended tattoo sessions, this versatility is an absolute must. It works for both rotary and coil tattoo machines without making you jump through hoops.
It also automatically regulates its heat so that you can use it for long sessions (something I’ll refer to as ‘anti-fatigue’ features from now on). Anti-fatigue is also a necessity for any tattoos that take longer than an hour. Crappy power supplies will heat up after about three hours and fizz out, but this one keeps going strong for as long as you need it. The LCD display gives you a fast and accurate power reading so that you can gracefully manipulate the strokes of your tattoo gun. Its small size allows you to carry it around wherever you need to tattoo people. It is available in gold, pink, and black, letting you match it to your style perfectly.
Out of all the power supplies I review here, this one has the most utility. It is also a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it. First of all, it allows you to switch seamlessly between shader and liner at the press of a button. You can control it with a foot pedal, a clip-on cord, or the power supply itself. It shows you exactly how many volts (or amps) you are using, down to a tenth of a volt or hundredth of an amp. It even displays an accurate cycle speed! While the machine is clearly not built by native English speakers (tattoo isn’t even spelled correctly, for crying out loud), it gets the job done exceptionally well.
As for long term viability, it lasts a few years at least. It works with both rotary and coil machines, so don’t worry about compatibility issues. You can position it on anything using the included suction cups. My personal favorite part of this power supply is how easy it is to sanitize. It has a flat surface with no hidden bumps to deep clean. You can even cover it with a phone protector to save yourself some trouble.
The biggest downside is that it has no off switch. After it is on and unused for a significant amount of time, it enters sleep mode, but in the meantime it’s a waste of power. This is the best power supply at an affordable price—if you want something better, prepare to save up a few hundred dollars.
Now that you have your tattoo power supply box, you can finally put it to use! To start with, let’s talk about how to hook up a tattoo gun. You can learn about the details here, but the gist of it is to make sure all of your cables are compatible with your tattoo machine power supply, plug them into the properly labeled holes, and make sure the wires are not in the way of your work. Use a foot pedal to adjust the voltage of your power supply without interrupting work.
Learn which power settings work best for your particular tastes—this varies from person to person! Hook up both your liner and shader to the machine and get used to switching between them. Unlike tattoo machines, you will need an expert to help you out if you want to make adjustments. Avoid doing anything like painting it or placing stickers on it—this causes the machine to overheat. Not only will this make it fizzle out during long sessions, but it risks doing permanent damage to the internal components. Learn the best way to sterilize your power supply and all the cables connected to it, and voila! You’ve mastered the whole tattoo power supply thing.
Last Word on Tattoo Power Supplies
Hopefully this helped you learn about the intricacies of power supplies. It might seem simple at first glance, but mastering the use of this equipment is nearly as essential as learning how to set up your tattoo gun. Even if you don’t pick one of the power supplies I listed, this information will help you find one that perfectly matches your needs. Finally, before you go, remember why you came here in the first place. It’s not just about a box that shoots electricity into your tattoo gun. It’s about finding something that gives you and your client a smooth and comfortable experience. As long as you keep the quality of your work in mind, then you can’t go wrong!
You might recognize the brand name Aquaphor from common OTC creams. It may even confuse you that we would ever recommend diaper rash cream for tattoos! Well, the best tattoo aftercare looks at the efficacy of ingredients, and I promise that Aquaphor is the #1 recommended brand from tattoo artists everywhere. But seriously—don’t take my word for it. Your tattoo artist will straight up tell you after your session to grab some. But why does this stuff work so well for tattoos, and how on earth does it work, anyways? Is Aquaphor really safe for tattoos? Let’s go over everything you need to know about Aquaphor for tattoos!
Baby Aquaphor for Tattoos
Whether you use baby Aquaphor for tattoos or another type of specialty ointment, Aquaphor on new tattoo work helps your skin recover quickly. It works by sealing in your tattoo with a humectant. This humectant attracts water to the area and retains it, moisturizing your skin instantly. It also contains several vitamins and fatty acids that absorb directly into the skin to speed up your healing process.
Why do artists recommend this so often? Its efficacy, combined with its affordability, makes this the go-to aftercare ointment. This little pack has enough for a large tattoo healing period. If you’re an artist, you can buy them in bulk for cheap, but everyone else still benefits from having it on hand. Even without a healing tattoo, it works great for cuts, burns, rashes, chapped lips, dry skin, and other small topical wounds. Some people even use it for eczema and radiation treatments! Before you consider more unique uses, though, consult your doctor. There could be more powerful and appropriate prescription stuff.
Because it’s very oily and creamy, I don’t recommend it as a general moisturizer. It is only meant for use on topical wounds. You can wash any smears out of your clothes, but you still want to keep the area with Aquaphor as open as possible. One of the best parts about Aquaphor is its healing speed. You can see the effects of using it within a day, even for minor wounds. It lasts forever, works for all sorts of ailments, and generally feels like a lifesaver whenever you use it. Aquaphor is truly one of the best inventions of man! Because of its formula, it is as scentless as an aftercare product comes. You won’t smell it unless you put it right under your nose.
But, since we’re talking about tattoo use, let’s look at some instructions specific to tattoo aftercare. Aquaphor doesn’t exactly come with instructions for using Aquaphor on tattoos, after all. Your tattoo goes through three major healing phases. Your first three days have a pussy and bleeding open wound where your tattoo will be. Ink falls out, blood gets on everything, and it’s generally messy everywhere. Try to air out your tattoo during this process and clean it out with specialized tattoo antibiotics (regular antibiotics contain chemicals hazardous to your tattoo ink).
Once your tattoo begins to seal, it enters the second stage of healing. Apply Aquaphor liberally once per day or whenever the area feels dry. A thin layer of Aquaphor that you apply throughout the day seems to work best. As long as your tattoo scabs or flakes, you can continue to use Aquaphor to your benefit. It helps soothe itching along with providing materials for your tattoo to heal. You may stop when the tattoo completely seals. You will know it’s done when the tattoo appears faded—this means that you only have to wait for the scar tissue to get replaced naturally by your body!
During this third stage, you can continue using Aquaphor, but I recommend other lotions that work specifically as moisturizers (rather than healing ointments). After six weeks of this, your tattoo will brighten to its fully saturated colors or vivid lines, and your tattoo healing process is over!
Is Aquaphor Healing Ointment Good for Tattoos?
We already know about the healing effects of Aquaphor in general, but does using Aquaphor on tattoo work actually help better than other types of aftercare lotion? Is Aquaphor good for tattoos? I’m not about to go on the record saying this is the best option for tattoo care. It works great and probably constitutes the best thing easily accessible at stores nearby. Artists swear by it and the ingredients are all compatible with tattoo ink, ensuring that your colors stay perfect. It is not just good for tattoos, it is great! Just not as good as the specialty tattoo lotion products.
The only things holding Aquaphor back are its oily ingredients. These ingredients are incredibly common and appear in hand soap, shampoo, body wash, makeup, and all sorts of cosmetic products. And—while derived or processed from ingredients found within the earth—they are hardly organic. I’m not about to appeal to the ethical or vegan issue of these ingredients. That’s a decision you can make on your own. However, I will say that mineral oil, petrolatum, and lanolin will sometimes irritate people with sensitive skin.
Despite this, its solid formula makes it the most accessible healing ointment for tattoos and one of the fastest acting tattoo healing ointments out there! You can’t go wrong with it. Let’s go into more of the details so that you have a full understanding of how Aquaphor works and whether it’s right for you.
Aquaphor’s list of ingredients is tried and true, though if you’re looking for something organic or vegan, you’ll want to look elsewhere. These are the main components of Aquaphor:
Bisabolol – An anti-inflammatory extracted from Chamomile.
Ceresin – A fine wax made from the greasy stone Ozokerite.
Glycerin – Moisturizer and humectant that helps the surface stay moist by attracting water from the air.
Lanolin Alcohol – A processed type of wool wax that helps with skin smoothing by directly providing certain nutrients.
Mineral Oil – Basically what it says. Refined from crude oil.
Panthenol – Pro-vitamin B5 that absorbs into the body and attracts water from the air to the site.
Petrolatum – The carrier and gel-like substance that makes up the majority of Aquaphor. It helps contain moisture.
While all of these ingredients are quite inconspicuous—and common in many beauty products—you will still want to spot test this to see if your skin doesn’t like an ingredient. People with sensitive skin can react to Petrolatum and Lanolin, while people with bad allergies can react to Bisabolol. When in doubt, ask a doctor. The vast majority of people (I’m guessing 99.999%) will be fine.
Why Aquaphor Works for Tattoos
So, why would you use Aquaphor over other types of soaps? After all, you can find dozens (if not, hundreds) of varieties of soap at nearby supermarkets. Surely one of them would work for tattoos, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and you would be wise to inspect the ingredients of any soap that you use on a healing wound. Many soaps work by breaking down foreign bodies so that they can be rinsed or washed away easily. Ink is included in these foreign ingredients and washes away as easily as a kid’s marker while your tattoo is still healing. The permanence of your tattoo relies on the large size of your tattoo particles, so breaking it down with common soaps has a disastrous effect.
Aquaphor avoids ingredients that harm tattoo ink, rendering it safe for tattoo use. Soaps which include rubbing alcohol, aloe vera, fragrance, witch hazel, and any sort of exfoliant will damage your tattoo. Most antibiotics will break down ink, so unless it is specifically designed for tattoo use, avoid anything labeled as an antibiotic. Antibiotics work great to keep you healthy, but not so good for keeping your tattoo looking crisp. This is why good aftercare is so essential for tattoos.
Aquaphor Side Effects
For the general population, Aquaphor carries no side effects. You can use it quite safely. However, as with all beauty products, spot test it beforehand. As I mentioned before, people with sensitive skin and allergies may react to select ingredients within Aquaphor. One skin reaction from Aquaphor can make the skin look white or soggy from moisture or cause other changes in the color and texture of the skin. This is indicative of infection.
To recognize an allergic reaction, look for rashing, itching, swelling, dizziness, and trouble breathing. Some people may also feel their tongue and throat swelling, even though they didn’t use it anywhere close to their mouth. When you see any of these negative side effects from Aquaphor, contact your doctor as soon as you can. If the symptoms continue to worsen, you will need emergency treatment. Even if they dissipate, your doctor will want to know about your allergy to this very common medicine. The ingredients within it are quite cosmopolitan, so it helps your doctor avoid prescribing other creams with similar ingredients.
Does Aquaphor Pull Ink Out of Tattoos
Some people report using Aquaphor and tattoo ink coming off at the same time. Since this is an incredibly important concern, I wanted to dedicate a section to addressing it. Tattoos naturally leak ink, plasma, pus, and dead skin as they heal. Only the ink at the bottom layer of your dermis sticks, while every other layer of ink sheds out. In fact, more ink sheds from your tattoo than you actually retain!
Because of this colorful mess of gunk and blood, many people believe that their tattoo is losing ink specifically because of Aquaphor. Thankfully, I can assure you that this is just part of the natural healing process, and nothing to worry about! Using tattoo sunscreen helps prevent your tattoo colors from leeching over time.
Aquaphor vs A&D for Tattoos
Using tattoo aftercare Aquaphor treatments seems to have better results than A&D, although the difference is slim. They have similar ingredients and treat all of the same ailments. I prefer Aquaphor over A&D because it feels better on the skin and doesn’t feel as greasy afterwards. Plus, it’s a little more affordable and you can find it in stores more often. You also need less Aquaphor for treating a tattoo compared to A&D. Just a thin layer of Aquaphor every few hours will help you through the healing process.
The bottom line is that they perform similarly and are both recommended by tattoo artists around the world. If you can only find one in your area, don’t worry about it—just make sure you take care of your tattoo! If you have enough time to plan ahead, grab Aquaphor wherever you find it, whether that’s a store or the web.
The Final Say on Aquaphor for Tattoos
Aquaphor and tattoo aftercare go hand in hand, and any tattoo artist will tell you that. It’s true that specialized tattoo lotions perform better, but sometimes, you just can’t find any of those when you need it. Tattoo numbing cream for that itchy healing sensation also isn’t an option unless you order ahead of time! Aquaphor is versatile, easy to acquire, and maybe even something you already have in the medicine cabinet.
Hopefully this article gave you a little piece of mind—and piece of knowledge—about using Aquaphor on tattoos during the healing stage. Even if you choose not to use Aquaphor, you now know enough about tattoo aftercare to safely choose a healing ointment for yourself. So take care of yourself, your body, and your tattoo! As always, thanks for reading!
Watercolor tattoos look spectacular, although not all artists know how to create them. It takes a special skill set to create realistic watercolor designs that also look clear and age well. For fans of watercolor tattoos, the lack of artists proves a problem when seeking out these beautiful tattoos. I included some special tattooing tips and tricks for those artists in this watercolor tattoo gallery so that, hopefully, that problem disappears with time!
As a huge fan of watercolor tattoos myself, I know all the ins and outs of this style. It certainly has its weaknesses, but the pros outweigh the cons here. Check out these beautiful watercolor tattoos and learn about the technique behind them! Perhaps you will also fall in love with this beautiful inking style!
Watercolor Tattoo Technique
Want to learn how to make watercolor tattoos look spectacular? Looking to see the color tattoo techniques that bring them to life? Thankfully, any artist aware of basic tattoo shading techniques can quickly graduate to the watercolor style.
Before you begin making watercolor tattoos, practice using your pigments on mixed media paper to create basic watercolor images and designs. Pay close attention to how the colors blend, since this represents the most appealing aspect of watercolor tattoos. Once you understand how your pigments react to each other, downgrade to regular watercolors to save some money. Any brand works. This practice helps you learn how to make crisp outlines where necessary and master the colors along with the texture.
Moving on to tattoos, go ahead and water down your pigments before application. Make sure the water is perfectly sterile, of course. Apply the ink in layers, starting with very light doses of color and adding more pigment where necessary. Build up your ink into a realistic watercolor design, using all of your normal tattoo shading techniques to pull it all together.
In order to make the tattoo resilient against time, pay close attention to the brightness and contrast of your tattoos. Where the colors must remain distinguished, use different amounts of thin black ink to create a tiny amount of contrast. Though hard to see, the small amount of black ink remains visible as the tattoo ages. This makes any touchups easier and more spaced out! Plus, extra contrast in designs look pleasing to the human eye. Experiment with it!
Are Watercolor Tattoos Permanent?
To be honest, watercolor tattoos fade. Just like every other colored tattoo, colored ink fades quickly and an aged watercolor tattoo’s pattern may disappear entirely. This, of course, is the hallmark of a bad watercolor tattoo. In the previous section, I mentioned that brightness and contrast determine how long your tattoo lasts—and all of that plays a part in the fading process. With different amounts of ink to absorb light, separate blocks of color fade at different speeds. With sharply contrasting colors, even an area with no black ink still looks distinguished as it fades.
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Watercolor tattoos receive a bad rap because they fade noticeably within a decade. People often see that and believe that the style of tattoo is at fault, rather than their artist, activity, or simply the passage of time. All tattoos fade—even plain black outlines—but many steps delay the process. Our tattoo aftercare articles go over the details of that!
Watercolor Tattoos Pros and Cons
Still on the edge about watercolor tattoos? Admittedly, the new trend of watercolor tattoos leaves much to the imagination—especially concerning how well they age. Maybe this list of pros and cons helps form a decision for you!
They Look Spectacular
Emulates Watercolor Art
Easy to Cover Up or Touch Up
Requires Specialized Artist
Fast Tattoo Aging
“But wait!” you might say. “It says ‘ages well’ in the pros, but ‘fast tattoo aging’ in the cons! Which is it?!” Strange as it might sound, some types of aging work well for tattoo art. Ink naturally migrates around your skin, resulting in a blurry look over time. But for some tattoos, including watercolor tattoos, that blurry look is exactly what you want.
Watercolor tattoos naturally blend colors on day one—a little bit of blend later on barely registers! With tiny touchups, your tattoo looks spectacular. However, the blurry lines of a black ink tattoo don’t add to its design. So, in a way, you trade the typical ‘blurry’ look of old tattoos for a ‘faded’ look—but touch ups fix one of these better than the other!
Watercolor Tattoo Designs
A watercolor tattoo flower emulates the beautiful pigments of the real thing. Combined with a black outline, the flower looks spectacular and lasts for decades. As more and more artists learn to work with the watercolor tattoo style, the watercolor tattoo design scene explodes. I prefer watercolor tattoos that utilize negative space—in other words, the areas without ink—in their design. However, abstract swatches of paint, combined with black lines to tie the piece together, also look spectacular. Watercolor tattoos push the boundaries of the medium, but they also pay homage to the wide spectrum of watercolor art. Accordingly, watercolor tattoo designs show incredible diversity!
Watercolor Tattoo F.A.Q.
Since many questions surround the new trend of watercolor tattoos, I answer the most commonly asked questions here! If this article still leaves your question unanswered, go ahead and ask your question in the comments section, and we will quickly add a section for it.
Are watercolor tattoos more expensive?
Before we think about water color tattoo prices, let’s consider another question: how much do small tattoos cost, anyways? The price varies depending on location, cost of living, and style. All of the same rules apply for watercolor tattoos. Some artists may offer fairly inexpensive watercolor tattoos—that is to say, comparable prices to traditionally colored tattoos. On the other hand, some artists charge a fortune. A lot of work goes into making these tattoos look great, so not every artist enjoys making them. On top of that, since watercolor tattoos quickly fade, some artists charge a high entry price to ensure you can spare the cash for touch ups later down the line. Weird, I know. But that’s economics.
Do watercolor tattoos hurt more?
Thankfully, watercolor tattoos hurt no more than regular tattoos. However, since a watercolor tattoo takes more time, you will need to endure the pain for a little longer. The location of your tattoo drastically affects the pain you experience, so look up which locations hurt the least if you worry about pain. Or, you can consider applying a topical anesthetic beforehand.
Do watercolor tattoos take longer?
Yes! While some artists finish watercolor tattoos with lightning speed precision, high quality watercolor tattoos usually take many layers of color and a large amount of time. Think of it this way: a solid ink color takes 100% of the ink, with no dilution. Artists usually start with 10% ink concentrations and work their way up from there. They ink each layer carefully to create a cohesive picture, occasionally adding different inks to increase the contrast. Of course, the wait is worth it!
Watercolor Tattoos: Art from Pigment
In the end, lasting watercolor tattoos fall down to two things: artist knowledge and client knowledge. An artist masterfully creates a tattoo resilient to age, while a client wears sunscreen frequently and receives touchups when necessary. As long as both people know what to do, a watercolor tattoo lasts for ages longer than a regular black and white design. On top of that, watercolor tattoos look spectacular, and allow for many complex colors and ideas to flow together in a single design. I highly recommend receiving at least one of this wonderful type of tattoo. Watercolor tattoos cement the relationship between body art and high art, showing the world just what kind of style you live your life in!