Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Tattoo Experience and Review of Ink-Eeze Numbing Cream & Dr. Numb Review

I was the never the type of person who wanted a tattoo. I could never think of anything I wanted on me permanently to endure the pain that comes with getting one. I was bombarded with seeing… er, um… mindless tattoos on people since childhood- kool-aid packets, various fruits, names of boyfriends who no longer mattered and faded bears paws done with bad artistry. Don’t take that previous sentence as a judgment. People should get whatever they want on them, it’s their bodies. For me, however, I LOVE my skin, and I saw no reason to “write graffiti on the side of the temple,” as my one friend so “endearingly” likens getting a tattoo to.

That is until my cousin, who was much like a brother to me, was murdered. Murdered in cold freaking blood. I know when many people die, they could have been horrible little savages, and their families would be like “*cue tears* ____ was so good. ___ never hurt anyone. All those records of felonious assault, burglary, and weapons charges were just mistakes on behalf of the ‘justice’ department.” But, Vince really was an awesome person, guys. You should have heard how his own principal spoke about him. One comment of his that stuck out to me was when he said, “Vince was the kind of kid you’d want 1,500 of in your school. His parents can rest assured that even when they weren’t there to be watching, he was making them proud.” My babe, who was way taller than me might I add, was a great guy. He was humble, peaceful, loved God and was an awesome athlete. Also, he was hilarious as all hell. Haha. He didn’t know it, but I was so looking forward to moving back from Asia and finally getting to spend time with him and the rest of the family. So, when he was taken from me before I got to do that, the pain truly was (is) unbearable. Without delving into too much personal detail (yes, yes I’m aware that’s what a blog is for), I will say that I started to want a tattoo for him, for myself, soon after. But, being the over-analyst that I am, I decided to wait until I could be sure it wasn’t just grief/guilt/etc that was causing my desire for the tattoo. I wanted it to be something I really wanted to be on me forever, and something that would make me think of him and smile (I had enough to reminisce and shed tears over).
Once I had a design chosen, I began researching tattoo forums and websites to get more information on what I should look for in a good artist and on what I could do to make the tattoo more tolerable (and thus deliver a better outcome because I wouldn’t be moving all around). I never knew that the same concept of using numbing cream for laser hair removal (and other medical procedures) was now being used for tattoos and piercings. Though I’m not sure how effective such a cream would be for a piercing, due to the layers of skin involved, I thought about the science behind it and decided a numbing cream for a tattoo was quite plausible. Through the forums, I discovered that many people  had a negative view of numbing creams- “Tattoos are SUPPOSED to be painful, that’s how you earn them!” “As an artist, I refuse to tattoo people with a numbing agent, it changes the skin texture and all the ink comes out after.” “People who eve think of the words ‘numbing cream’ are pussies.” LOL! In the midst of all that negativity, I found a few forums, one main one being Mike DeVries’ (Mdtattoos), where they actually civilly discussed the pros and cons of various creams. After weeks of research, I decided to purchase Ink-Eeze numbing cream- a blend of 3 strong numbing agents (Benzocaine 20%, Lidocaine 4%, & Tetracaine 2%), developed by tattoo artists; and Dr. Numb (recommended by my artist)- basically just 5% lidocaine. It no longer contains the prilocaine that the original formula had.

Ink-Eeze is available (Here), but I got mine from (Here) for $10 cheaper. It was authentic and came with a verifiable lot # and expiration date. I bought my Dr. Numb from the official site (Dr. Numb). *Quick important note here- after researching, I decided that purchasing Dr. Numb from Amazon or Ebay would NOT be smart. It is expensive from the official site, but I used a discount code from right on the site to get 35% off. And many of the creams sold in other places are counterfeit.*
Anyway, I wanted to be prepared, so my plan was to purchase both and test them prior to getting my tattoo. I also purchased the Black Label numbing spray from Ink-eeze (for use during the tattoo).  I started my testing once all my products came in the mail. Shipping from both NeedleJig and Dr. Numb were pretty quick. Both products require that, 60-90 minutes prior to your tattoo, you rub in one thick layer on the desired area and then put another thin layer on top of that. Then, you have to wrap said area tightly with saran wrap, in a way that lets in as little air as possible. Well, I did just that. I wrapped my left side with the same surface area of the tattoo with Ink-Eeze, and my left forearm with Dr. Numb. I secured the saran wrap with surgical tape at the advice of a renowned Miami tat artist and waited the suggested time. I was happy when they both had worked once I removed the saran wrap. I allowed my family to use a safety pin to poke me in both areas- I felt nothing. I pinched both areas and was really pleased to not feel it. Unfortunately, both started wearing off in about 15 minutes, but lingered for about 30 minutes. This worried me, but I told myself, “Well Shar, you didn’t apply a super thick layer (in an effort to have cream left to get tattooed with) and you do metabolize drugs really quickly (ie. I always need an extra shot of lidocaine at the dentist).” I decided to go with Ink-Eeze for my tattoo, because it didn’t have a ton of reviews, but the ones it did have were positive for the most part. And, a few world-renowned artists that I actually got in contact with via e-mail, said it was the only they would use, should a client want numbing cream. Dr. Numb has a TON of reviews, but many are not really positive. On the tattoo forums, many artists reported that they used Dr. Numb and it made the skin “leathery and un-tattoo-able,” and some reported that it made the ink come out of a tattoo after they used it or that the healing process was much worse after.

                I followed the same strategy on the day of my tattoo as I did when I tested Ink-Eeze. I wrapped myself 70 minutes prior, but had it on much longer, because when I got to his shop, my artist was still drawing out my tattoo. Once I hit the 2 hour mark, I applied more Ink-EEze and even a little Dr. Numb in one area and re-wrapped myself. The tattoo was started about 50 minutes after my re-application. My artists said the skin was a little different but far from “un-tattoo-able.” I can proudly say, I didn’t feel a THING! He did the entire outline without me knowing it… then all hell broke loose. Lol the cream QUICKLY began wearing off, and I. could feel. EVERYTHING. I literally screamed. Luckily I had 2 of my sisters there and one of my brothers to hold my hands and laugh at my turmoil ( -_- ). Guys, it HURT. I mean I felt every single pierce of the shading. Now, I’m told that where I got it partially contributed to how much pain I felt. Also, probably being numb during the outline, didn’t allow any endorphins to flow in the beginning. But, even near the end of the tattoo, the parts that hurt, HURT. All that ish about “Oh, it stops hurting after a while because your body’s own endorphins kick in, is a LIE!” For me, anyway. Lol. I will admit, that some parts felt amazingly good, and some even tickled (I detest being tickled, but it was better than feeling like grumpy kitty was dragging his claws over a first degree burn). But yea, the numbing cream completely wore off after the outline. So I got a good maaayyybe 15 or 20 minutes out of it? I’m going to say 15. 

At the 1 hour mark (give or take), I requested that we use the Ink-Eeze Black Label Numbing Spray. He agreed and sprayed it on. We waited the allotted time. Yea… it did NADA. I still felt everything. At that point I just resolved myself to the fact that tattoos hurt, and I would just have to deal. 
Here's my tattoo right after finishing

Here it is up close

                I am happy to report that my tattoo looked fine right after, there was no excessive bleeding and healing has been a breeze. I was instructed to keep it covered for a couple hours after and then to let it breathe. My artist also told me to wash it 2-3 times a day and apply Aquaphor 3 times a day as well, and no baths (this was the hardest part for me, as I’m a bubble bathaholic). I followed his instructions to a T, and my tattoo looks great. It didn’t lose all the ink; it’s vibrant; and I had no scarring while it healed. It started off with the peri-skin around the tat being red and a little puffy (as is to be expected after allowing several needles to tear into your skin lol), and then it peeled in certain places. It itched a little as well, but nothing that using the Aquaphor didn’t help. I also used regular, unscented Eucerin lotion on it, when I needed something that wasn’t petrolatum-based for fashion reasons.

Here it is with Aquaphor on it after about a week. The Phoenix was peeling more so there's a lot of Aquaphor on it.

                In conclusion, I say that both of these creams work, but definitely will NOT last you through an entire tattoo session. Mine was close to 2 hours and it didn’t even make it half way. If you are getting a small tattoo done, it will be really awesome for you, and you won’t feel it. If you are getting a larger one and really want to be numb the entire time, you will have to break it up into sessions I suppose. 

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the Black Label Numbing Spray from Ink-Eeze. It did not work at all. Didn’t numb and didn’t even take the edge off.
I am actually planning to get more detail added to my tattoo soon and perhaps even another tattoo. Maybe I’m secretly a masochist. :-)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Quantum Entanglement: Physics Gets Me...

It's truly a shame that I'm not naturally good at Physics; that I don't naturally understand Physics. Because, Physics truly does get me. I'm currently reading Michio Kaku's Physics of the Impossible. It discusses how the laws of quantum theory actually could allow for inventions that make up the stuff of science fiction movies and T.V. programs. When discussing Einstein's EPR experiment, he discusses a concept that so adequately describes what I wish everyone could see, understand. I call it the ripple effect; movies refer to it as the "Butterfly Effect"; Physics calls it "Quantum Entanglement." I'd like to get back to my book, so I'll type the excerpt out for you, and bid you adieu:

"...two electrons are 'entangled,' that is, their wave functions beat in unison, their wave functions are connected by an invisible "thread" or umbilical cord. Whatever happens to one automatically has an effect on the other. (This means, in some sense, that what happens to us automatically affects things instantaneously in distant corners of the universe...)..."

I see so much beauty in this concept. Growing up, I was told we're all God's children, all connected in love, each our "brother's keeper."  And, I love when science coincides with my other beliefs (please don't ask what they are). We're connected at an atomic level, bound together by the waves of our electrons. Maybe if people would realize this, that every decision we make, truly does impact another life, a little of the hate in this world, could be replaced with a little love. <3

I hope this made some science nerd out there, other than me, smile. It's not often I get a moment like this, and they truly serve to remind me why I studied science in school (why I'm continuing to study it, in fact). It's majestic... even if it does put me on the brink of insanity more often than not.

 I take no credit for the photos: and