Tattooing Tips

How to choose right anesthetic


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Integrating various topical anesthetics into your practice is easy to do once you understand how each anesthetic product functions. As a general rule, to enhance absorption and intensify anesthetic response for most procedures, excluding eyeliner: 1) exfoliate the skin with a foam resurfacer, 2) roll the area with a Derm Ease roller, 3) apply anesthetic, 4) roll the anesthetic into the skin, and 5) occlude the skin for 10 minutes.


super-t-logoSUPER “T”:

This triple anesthetic cream contains 2% tetracaine 4% lidocaine and 12% benzocaine and is highly effective on unbroken skin (applied before a procedure.) It is quite effective on thicker skin applications, body piercing and laser applications. Application to body areas below the neck should be applied 1-1/2 hours prior to the procedure in order to have the most effective result. It is very effective on piercing of brows, lips and navels. Put it on, roll it in, wait 10 minutes and go. It can be occluded and has a pH of 5.5, which allows penetration of the epidermis without irritation

pro-plusPRO PLUS:

This predeadening cream contains 2% tetracaine and 4% lidocaine and was recently formulated by the same pharmacist who originally produced the widely popular Prepcaine. This is very user friendly, and with a pH of 7, safe for use on all procedures. With its fast set-up, it is designed to take permanent cosmetics to the next level.

zone-1-logoZONE ONE:

This 5% lidocaine cream with a pH of 7, is safe for use around the eyes and is the anesthetic of choice for permanent makeup and deadening large areas for tattooing. This cream product is non-occlusive, although if pre-deadening areas under clothing, occlusion prevents absorption of the drug into the surrounding fabrics. Applications for body tattooing above the waist require 1 hour, and below the waist are most effective after 1-1/2 hours.


sj3-logoSJ3: This powerful liquid anesthetic is packaged in a squeeze bottle, and is for use during painful procedures. It is not a pre-deadener. This product can be used to clean the skin prior to and for removal of your pre-procedure topical anesthetics. This aids in penetrating your pre-procedure anesthetic into the dermis of the skin. Use SJ3 in this manner in place of soap or alcohol, which stop the action of your anesthetics and change the pH of your skin. It contains lidocaine, tetracaine and benzocaine and is safe for use on all procedures, EXCEPT EYELINER.

SJ3 is fast acting and powerful, yet has no burn on open skin contact. Apply it on the skin as you work and receive an anesthetic effect in 90 seconds. Unlike BLUE GEL ANESTHETIC and Zone Two, this product cannot be overused on the skin. If you need vascular constriction, use Vasocaine

blue-gel-logozone-2-logoBLUE GEL ANESTHETIC, ZONE TWO and VASOCAINE have two benefits previously unavailable: 1) the addition of a vascular constrictor which allows this gel to extend the life of your predeadener for up to two hours; and 2) a marked reduction in bruising or bleeding. These products are effective between 2-5 minutes after application. They can be can be occluded and are effective for up to two hours with one application. They are safe for use on all procedures although care should be taken to avoid getting it into the eyes or mouth. BLUE GEL ANESTHETIC revolutionized the tattoo world when it was introduced. It is designed to deaden the skin and reduce swelling and bleeding during painful procedures. It is ineffective as a pre-deadener. This product contains tetracaine and lidocaine and a vascular constrictor. ZONE TWO contains the highest level OTC of lidocaine available. It provides deep anesthesia and excellent vascular constriction in a clear gel base.Thoroughly removeBLUE GEL ANESTHETIC and Zone Two before you begin your work. Do not reapply. As you open up new areas of skin, apply Vasocaine to extend the anesthetic effect. Overuse of Blue Gel or Zone Two will result in over-saturation of the skin with the glycerin base, and produce a less than desirable final result in your tattooing or permanent makeup. So if you need backup while working, spray with SJ3 or VASOCAINE.


This 5% lidocaine spray with a vasoconstrictor is versatile and extremely effective. It is for use during painful procedures. It is ineffective as a predeadener. It is safe for use in all procedures EXCEPT EYELINER. It has no odor or perfumed additives, so there is no sensation or stinging at the time of application. After applying outlining or after the first pass on a permanent makeup procedure, simply saturate the area with Vasocaine, wait 90 seconds and you are good to go. ALWAYS REMOVE THE PRODUCT THOROUGHLY BEFORE TATTOOING. Because of the added ingredient of a vascular constrictor, you will also experience a reduction in bruising and bleeding with this product.


1. These anesthetics are for Licensed Professionals Only. Keep Out of Reach of Children.

2. Keep your anesthetics refrigerated or in a cool dark place to extend their life – temperatures above 80degrees reduce the life and effectiveness of your anesthetics. Do not use beyond expiration date.

3. Prepare the skin for using predeadeners by 1) Exfoliating the area with a Foam Resurfacer or other exfoliater; and 2) rolling the skin with a Derm Ease roller. You can re-roll the skin after application of the predeadeners to drive the anesthetic more effectively and intensely into the skin. Use Super “T”, Pro Plus and Zone One to reduce pain prior to the first pass on permanent cosmetics or your tattooing outline. Once the skin has been broken and blood flows into the area, the anesthetic effect of these predeadeners will be greatly diminished. Pro Plus and Zone One with a pH of 7, are self-occlusive and safe and effective on eyeliners, and greatly diminish discomfort on facial skin and over large areas of skin. Body tattooing is quite comfortable if the anesthetic is left in contact with the skin for at least one hour prior to tattooing above the waist, and 1-1/2 hours on large areas below the waist. Super “T” is faster acting on smaller thicker skin applications and is the predeadener of choice for Body Piercers and Laser technicians

4. Use SJ3 to clean your skin prior to the application of Super “T”, Pro Plus or Zone One, and to remove them prior to a procedure. This product is not suitable for eyeliner procedures. Used during procedures, SJ3 penetrates into the dermis and prolongs the action of the predeadener. Where speed of anesthesia and ease of use are important, just “apply and go” throughout your job with SJ3. Because there is no vascular constrictor in this product, healing of tattooing is not affected by its reuse throughout a procedure.

5. Remove your predeadeners before applying the design, stencil or landmarks for your procedure as the predeadener may remove some markings.

6. Immediately following your first pass on permanent cosmetics, or following your outline, apply Blue Gel Anesthetic or Zone Two. Occlude for five minutes before proceeding. Clear off completely before continuing your procedure and do not reapply more than one to the same area. Back up your Blue Gel Anesthetic and Zone Two with SJ3 or Vasocaine.

7. Due to the time involved in allowing predeadeners to anesthetize, may tattooists and permanent makeup technicians find it useful to exfoliate, roll the skin, apply broken skin anesthetics, roll again, wait 5 minutes, and begin work, completely doing away with predeadeners. This approach cannot be used on Eyeliner procedures.

8. When applying a lip liner, exfoliate the area, apply Super “T”, roll it in, wait five minutes, remove it and Blue Gel Anesthetic or Zone Two, roll it again, occlude for 5 minutes, and begin slowly working. You can continue to wash down with Vasocaine or SJ3 throughout the procedure. You do not want to reuse Blue Gel Anesthetic or Zone Two after the first pass.

9. When applying traditional tattooing, such as an armband or ankle bracelet, remove the predeadener, place the stencil, and apply the outline, without backtracking. After completing the outline, put a squirt of Blue Gel Anesthetic or Zone Two on your gloves and rub it into the outline, cover with plastic, wait 5 minutes or until you see the telltale white “ring”. You can now work without the bruising and pain generally associated with armbands.

10. For piercing, dip your penetrater bar into Blue Gel Anesthetic or Zone Two before inserting jewelry to reduce swelling and bleeding, and aid in the insertion of your jewelry

11. Liquid anesthetics, such as SJ3 and Vasocaine are not appropriate for eyeliner procedures.

Links to more tattoo care information:

Tattoo Aftercare: Taking Care of a Tattoo in 9 Steps

Best Tattoo Numbing Creams & Sprays 2020

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