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A 23-year-old male asked:

can you use emla (lidocaine and prilocaine) cream during the tattoo process?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Lonna Larsh
Family Medicine 30 years experience
Not practical: Emla (lidocaine and prilocaine) takes at least 30 minutes to work and then the anesthetic only lasts about a half hour, and the pain relief is incomplete at best. An average sized tattoo takes about 2 hours, so if you want to get your tattoo in one sitting, emla's not going to be that helpful. If you can't stand the pain of the tattoo, you probably shouldn't be getting one.
Dr. Troy Gras
Anesthesiology 21 years experience
Yes: Emla (lidocaine and prilocaine) (eutectic mixture of local anesthetics) is a mixture of 2.5% Lidocaine and 2.5% prilocaine. It is applied to the skin for topical anesthesia. If applied correctly, the cream can cause full-thickness numbness of the skin. This will make a tattoo less painful. Some tattoo artists prefer that clients not use Emla (lidocaine and prilocaine) because it increases the water content of the skin.

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Last updated Aug 28, 2015

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