What I think of tattoo numbing creams and gels (and my review of ‘Hush’)

This month I got my new under-boob tattoo finished! For the final session on this piece I used a tattoo numbing cream from a company called Hush and wanted to share this experience with you all.

Watch my new video above and read the Q&A below with my tattooist Hannya Jayne who talks about why she uses, and loves, this particular product.

Lots of disclaimers in the video including… this is not a sponsored post but genuine experience and opinion!

Hush numbing gels

Hush gel, spray and soap

About the products

The product I am reviewing is Hush’s ‘main’ product, their O.G… the Gel (which you apply to the skin an hour before it’s ‘broken’). The company also sell (and Hannya also used) their Soap and Spray which help numb the area during the tattoo process (they last for less time / appear to be less strong) once the skin has been broken.

Want to know more about Hannya? She tattoos at O’ Happy Dagger Tattoo in Amersham and there’s lots of lovely information about what she does on her website.

Me and the lovely Hannya

Me and the lovely Hannya

Interview with my tattooist

Thanks for answering some questions to help inform our followers! Firstly, tell us why you use Hush products?

I’ve started recommending Hush products after searching for a topical anesthetic company who were informative about the ingredients used in the products. I am very careful about what products I use when tattooing so it was important for me to be educated about the ingredients and ethics of the company.

Photo: Hannya Jayne

Photo: Hannya Jayne

Do you prefer this particular numbing cream over others?

The majority of other numbing creams contain epinephrine or otherwise known as adrenaline to us in the UK. Adrenaline is produced during ‘fight or flight response’. Many of us who have been tattooed or had dentist visits, blood tests, etc. will be familiar with this response. It’s when you feel shaky and anxious and experience increased sweating and even an increased heart-rate. These symptoms are due to adrenaline production.

Hush products do not contain epinephrine/adrenaline. They embrace natural remedies to aid with looking after the skin during the tattooing process by using ingredients such as aloe vera. This was something I appreciate as I have personal interest in natural remedies.

Sun and moon sternum tattoo by Hannya Jayne

Sun and moon sternum tattoo by Hannya Jayne

Thanks for recommending this gel for our particular session. Here is where you can tell everyone what a wuss I was!

Beccy sat very well through the various sessions we had done on her sternum tattoo. Due to the nature of the design being so intricate I had suggested using Hush numbing cream for the final session. I knew I would be able to get more done in a session as I would be assured that I wasn’t hurting her. I find I naturally slow down or try to do smaller sections at a time when someone is in pain.

Whether it was due to journalistic curiosity or my insistent facial expressions Beccy was excited to use Hush products on her last session on her sternum tattoo. I feel the session went so much smoother as both Beccy and myself were so much more relaxed throughout and I was able to work at my usual pace safe in the knowledge I wasn’t hurting Beccy.

Hush numbing gels

My review of Hush gel in the video at the top of the page

Do you think numbing creams can be used on every tattoo or should they be saved for ‘the biggies’?!

This is a tricky question to answer! Personally, I was always proud that I sat through and endured the tattoos that I have. I enjoyed the respect from others and the confidence in myself that I gained through mental discipline when in pain.

Witnessing the explosion of tattooing culture into mainstream media over the last 10-15 years and the subsequent increase in tattooed celebrities and individuals, there has been a huge increase of topical anesthetics in the form of numbing creams. This is largely due to tattooing being seen as more of a fashion statement to some, a statement they wish not to suffer through. As a tattooist I am increasingly asked more and more about numbing creams.

Hannya's work station in Amersham

Hannya’s work station in Amersham

From a professional standpoint, I do recommend numbing creams for particular areas or large scale pieces, or if a customer is seriously concerned about the discomfort/pain associated with getting tattooed. From a tattooist’s point of view, it makes a huge difference if a customer is relaxed when getting tattooed. It is possible to get a lot more tattooing done in a shorter space of time, the lining is consistent and accurate, even the saturation of colour in the skin improves when the customer is breathing regularly and muscles are relaxed.

I’ve often compared tattooing someone who is in pain and moving around to trying to tattoo whilst riding in a rodeo. For this reason alone numbing creams can be invaluable to both the customer and tattooist alike.

Hush numbing gels

Hush anesthetic gel

Any tips for people looking to use something like Hush?

Obviously there are many similar products to Hush on the market. I recommend Hush as they’re open and honest about the ingredients and all of their products are cruelty-free and vegan. They also come with instructions which is important as many other brands don’t often include this and people then don’t put enough cream on.

All of the tattoos I’ve done with a customer using Hush products have healed wonderfully with no loss of colour, which is something most people are rightly concerned about when using numbing creams.

Photo: Hannya Jayne

Photo: Hannya Jayne

My own review

Hush appears to be a particularly popular company in the tattooing community worldwide as they seems to be completely transparent about what’s in their products and why. They have an extremely informative website in contrast to many other tattoo supply sites and you receive in-depth instructions when you purchase the product (side note, I bought direct from Hush (USA) not from a UK supplier). Hush has a community of sponsored artists which are well-respected in the industry which helps in confirming that those who do recommend them know their shit!

In terms of numbing potential, I was really happy with all of the three products – they did the job and I was so thankful to be able to sit for a long tattooing session. Without the numbing help, I probably wouldn’t have been able to make-it.

Read more about Hush products online.

Sun and moon sternum tattoo by Hannya Jayne

Sun and moon sternum tattoo by Hannya Jayne

Update Saturday 15th April 2017

I’ve done a bit of market research this week on various online shops and it’s amazing how much stuff you can buy easily that advertises itself as legit but isn’t necessarily ‘medically-approved’* and doesn’t come with instructions or lists of ingredients.

Bottom line, as explained in my vlog, don’t go buying and using ANY tattoo numbing products without guidance and advice from your professional tattooist.

*difficult to define in the tattoo industry, I know – a much larger conversation for another day!

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