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Getting Pain Relief for Beauty Treatments


07 November 2018

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Pain Relief for Beauty Treatments

Pain Relief For Beauty Treatments

Modern beauty treatments provide visible results. But these treatments may be quite uncomfortable, or even painful. Therefore it may be necessary to provide some pain relief using topical numbing treatments such as numbing creams, anaesthetic sprays and gels. These products can help reduce the pain and discomfort you may feel during your beauty treatments.

Do Numbing Creams and Topical Anaesthetics Work?

Yes, they do. Numbing creams and topical anaesthetics contain anaesthetics and can be applied directly to the skin to provide quick pain relief.
Numbing cream can be used for:

  • Waxing
  • Electrolysis
  • Permanent Makeup
  • Skin Treatments
  • Skin Needling
  • Cosmetic Tattooing

Numbing Cream Basics

As we are each unique in our skin tone, type and genetics, there is no one miracle cure numbing cream that is guaranteed to work for everyone. We also tolerate pain differently and have different pain thresholds. You may also find that numbing creams may wear off quicker for some than for others, and of course, some parts of the body are more sensitive than others. However, a little trial and error can help you find what works for you.

How Do Numbing Creams Work?

Numbing creams contain a local anaesthetic that is applied directly to the skin. The numbing cream works by quickly penetrating the dermis and epidermis of the skin and blocking pain signals from reaching the brain via active anaesthetic agents. In other words, they numb the area they’ve been applied to. In general, a numbing cream can last up to two hours. Side effects caused by local anaesthesia are very uncommon making them a safe method of reducing pain.

Where Do You Buy Numbing Creams?

Numbing creams can be purchased over the counter at most pharmacies. If you need something stronger, a prescription from your doctor will be needed.

Tattoo artists and beauty clinics are not authorised to sell or supply topical anaesthetics (Scheduled Medicines) to the public. The use and supply of numbing creams is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia.

Choosing a Numbing Cream

With a wide variety of numbing creams available on the market, it can be hard to choose which one will work best for you. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

Look at the active ingredient (the main ingredient that will be supplying pain relief).
Each numbing cream will have different active ingredients, which inhibit pain in different ways. One of the most common key ingredients, 5% Lidocaine, for example, is a local anaesthetic and cardiac depressant that deadens the nerve endings, stopping pain transmitters from sending pain signals to the brain. Tetracaine or benzocaine, on the other hand, have nerve blockers and will reduce or soften the pain. Epinephrine is less commonly found. It is a vasoconstrictor. It causes the blood vessels to tighten, minimising swelling and bleeding and slowing down the absorption of the topical anaesthetic or cream.

Look at the concentration of the active ingredient.
This will vary, however, as a rule, Lidocaine is usually only 5% while Benzocaine can be up to 20%.

Look out for harmful ingredients.
While the bigger brands are generally oil-free, sulphate-free and paraben-free, there may be some ingredients that are harmful to the skin. Read the fine print, or check with your pharmacist to ensure the cream you use is safe.

The strongest over-the-counter preparation available is 5%, which we found has been unsuccessful in helping to reduce pain. However, 10% preparations can be made for you and purchased from compounding pharmacists. The best formula we have used has approximately 5% tetracaine, 5% lignocaine and 0.1% adrenaline/epinephrine. The epinephrine is used to reduce blood flow to the area which keeps inflammation and bleeding to a minimum. The ingredients at these levels seem to offer the best pain relief for the optimum time-frame during our procedures.

Recommended for:

  • Electrolysis on the top lip (come in for a patch test first as you may be able to tolerate)
  • Skin needling can be performed without numbing, no need for adrenaline/epinephrine but the skin will be very red
  • Cosmetic tattooing – compulsory, as you need to be relaxed and completely still

This is a pharmacy medicine and has to be purchased in your name and prepared for you by the pharmacist. Please follow the advice of the pharmacist. It can be applied in the salon.

How To Use Your Numbing Cream

To achieve the best results with your numbing cream, we recommend:

Step 1

Ensure the area to be treated is thoroughly cleaned and dried using an unscented paraben-free soap.

Step 2

Apply a generous amount of your numbing cream to the treatment area (make sure you cover the entire area).

Step 3

Once rubbed in, apply a second thin layer of the cream over the area.

Step 4

Wait between 25 to 45 minutes (or longer depending on the cream) and test the area. You should feel pressure, but no pain.

Step 5

Wash off the cream right before treatment.

Remember to only use the numbing cream for what it is intended for and in accordance with the instructions supplied. Please let us know if you are going to be using a numbing preparation for your treatment.

Our goal is to help you look and feel beautiful. We perform all our treatments in a private room with relaxing, soothing music and scents. Contact us today to chat about your beauty challenges.