With the increasing medical technologies, small surgical procedures have become quite common. Be it a minor surgery or a filler injection, skin procedures like these require the skin to be prepped and numbed before. Numbing cream come in very handy in such situations.
Numbing cream are applicable medications, and they function like a local anesthetic. On application, they reduce pain sensitivity in the body so that the procedures can be done with lesser pain. These creams can be bought over the counter and can be used before injections, fillers, tattoos and even piercings.
Ingredients in Numbing Creams
Numbing cream are made up of safe and tested chemicals that are proven to block the nerve signals in the body, hence, reducing pain. Belonging to a group of medicines that are called local anesthetics, such numbing creams are made up of substances like prilocaine and lidocaine. These are the active ingredients that work on numbing the skin’s surface for a little while.
Other ingredients in numbing creams could be Pramoxine, Benzocaine, Dibucaine, etc.
Some numbing creams can be easily bought from a pharmacy without a prescription while some others may require a prescription from a doctor. This is because some numbing creams are stronger in the concentration of these chemicals than others. Over the counter, lidocaine medications are mostly unapproved by administrations due to their side effects.
How to Use a Numbing Cream for Skin
Always follow the guidance of your physician before using a numbing cream. Make sure that you apply only so much of what is required and only in the area needed. Also, note that these medications actively work during a specific period only and so, your healthcare provider will also indicate when to apply the cream and for how long you are supposed to keep it.
Do not apply more than required as this could cause an overdose of the anesthesia, leading to negative effects. Generally, the smallest amount of the cream works well, depending on the area of the procedure.
Do not apply numbing cream on wounded, swollen, cracked, scraped or red skin. Also, make sure that you are not allergic to the ingredients of the cream by performing a patch test. Take a very tiny amount of the numbing cream that you are about to use and apply it on your skin and leave it for a while. Check for any allergic reactions. Before using the cream on a child, consult with a pediatrician.
Now that you are ready to use the numbing cream for skin, wash the area with soap and water and blot with a soft cloth.
Follow the instructions given by your healthcare provider or you may read any instructions given with the cream. Do not apply it with your fingers. The cream will get your fingers numb as well unless that’s the aim.
After application, leave it for a while. It will take time to show the effects. Numbing cream is usually applied 30-60 minutes before the procedure.
Cover the area where the cream has been applied. The cream may immediately stop showing its effects once wiped off. Covering the cream will also enhance its efficiency.
After use, you can store the numbing cream away from moisture and heat, at room temperature. These creams are not supposed to be used on pets.
Functioning of Numbing Creams
There are three types of active numbing agents in a numbing cream.
Nerve Deadeners are the most used agents, for example, Lidocaine. They block the nerves from picking up the pain signals. A good numbing cream should go deep into the skin to provide this numbing effect as tattoo needles also penetrate deep into the layers of the skin.
Nerve Blockers are a little different than nerve deadeners. They do not block the nerves directly, but they block the signals from reaching the brain. This results in reduced sensations of pain being recognized by the brain. Examples of nerve blockers include Benzocaine.
Vasoconstrictors are the most powerful numbing agents. They constrict the blood vessels which results in reduced bleeding while getting a tattoo. However, using these in higher quantities can cause a lack of oxygen in the body and irregular heartbeat. The combination of these three numbing agents creates a good formula that is the most effective for numbing the skin.
Side Effects of Numbing Cream
Post application, some people may feel a tingling or burning sensation. Some may also experience redness or swelling. However, these side effects are not very serious as the benefit of the numbing cream is much better than the little side effects.
There are rare chances of any serious side effects, like blisters, dizziness, irregular breathing and heartbeat, pale or grey skin, etc. In such cases, rush to a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
Too much of the product absorption by your skin can lead to serious problems like rapid heartbeat, respiratory failure or even coma.
People allergic to lidocaine or those who have methemoglobinemia or heart conditions are not advised to use the cream.
Using a Numbing Cream before getting a Tattoo
Tattoos can be very painful, especially in areas where there is less flesh. If you have a low tolerance for pain, you may want to use a numbing cream before the tattoo. And they do work!
Apply the numbing cream on your skin where you are planning to get your tattoo roughly 30-40 minutes before your appointment. Cover and leave it and before the tattoo procedure, wash the area properly with soap and water. The pain won’t be eliminated, but it can get reduced to a great amount. This will make your tattoo experience less painful and more fun.
Tattoo-numbing creams work. With the right dosage and prescription, these creams can do wonders. The tattoo will not be affected by the anesthetic cream and vice versa. There are just some general precautions one should take before using these creams, but they are totally safe to use without a prescription as well. After all, tattoos should not be a torturous experience.