My tattoo artist applied lidocaine numbing cream on my skin before I got my tattoo. I was afraid of the pain, but the cream helped a lot. He even gave me the rest of the cream to apply at home for a few days. It definitely helped me get through those first days when my tattoo hurt the most.
Some people say that pain is part of the process, but I don't agree. I enjoy tattoos, but not the pain. I'm going to ask for lidocaine before my next tattoo as well.