Lidocaine cream offers essential comfort to people who can’t stand pain. Lots of modern beauty and surgical procedures involve pain, so Lidocaine helps assuage the fears of many. Although the saying goes, ‘No pain, no gain,’ there’s no reason to go through extra pain when you don’t have to. Like all chemical compounds, Lidocaine cream causes several side-effects and reacts differently depending on the situation. As the internet gradually expands to meet the needs of everyone, Lidocaine cream proves more available by the day. Naturally, lots of people need it! Today, I talk all about how to correctly use Lidocaine cream for all sorts of situations.
The Best Lidocaine Cream, Ointment and Spray in 2018
|Product Name||Type||Where to get it|
|HUSH anesthetic Tattoo Numbing||Gel|
|Numb Master 5% Topical Anesthetic||Cream|
|UberNumb Numbing Spray||Spray|
|Vasocaine Numbing Spray||Spray|
|Penetrex Pain Relief||Cream|
|Biofreeze Pain Relief 360 Spray||Spray|
To start with, it works for any skin-based pain. Permanent makeup and tattoos both penetrate the skin, making Lidocaine effective and relieving. Laser hair removal and waxing sting the nerves long after the procedure, but Lidocaine lessens the effects. Furthermore, tattoo removal and aftercare both benefit from the use of a numbing cream. Even without a penchant for skin care or body art, Lidocaine cream takes away the bite of burns, scratches, scrapes, and cuts you receive from everyday life. Well, if you’re as clumsy as me, anyways.
Don’t have time for the whole article and only in need of a product recommendation? We got you covered; here is our best product pick for lidocaine creams!
What is Lidocaine?
Topical Lidocaine cream contains a concentrated amount of Lidocaine along with ‘carrier’ ingredients. The carrier ingredients usually consist of petroleum jelly, natural oils, and any vitamins unique to the formula. The Lidocaine cream targets your nerves and dulls sensations on your skin. At most, you feel slight pressure in the area. Among all the over-the-counter pain relievers, Lidocaine offers the best option for non-regular use. It also contains no epinephrine or addictive compounds that encourage repeated use—which is the main reason you can just order it off the net!
Certain methods exist to prolong the duration of its effects, which I talk about at length later on. The stuff is completely safe when you follow the directions provided, although you should use caution when using it for the first time, just like all beauty products. To ensure its efficacy and avoid allergic reactions, test it on a small patch of skin ahead of time. Some anesthetic creams only work once your skin is broken, so consider using a dermaroller or needle to emulate this, or it feels the same as any other time. If you prefer sprays over creams, pain relief options still exist for you!
How Does Lidocaine Work?
On its own, Lidocaine blocks the nerves of your skin from the rest of your body. In other words, the nerves go radio silent—and your brain has no idea whether the area experiences pain or not! This effect occurs because it alters the signal carried by neurons. The voltage-gated Na+ channels normally send out all the necessary signals, but with enough Lidocaine, it will not translate the Na+ into a recognizable depolarized neuron. As such, the message never gets sent, nor does your skin save it for later. Since nerves send the brain a constant status update, any sensations they translate happen in real-time, creating an effective way to temporarily blot out pain without any permanent effects.
Combined with other chemicals and pain relievers, Lidocaine only becomes more potent. Adding a bit of adrenaline helps circulate Lidocaine through the body, and doctors can even inject certain types of lidocaine intravenously to treat some heart conditions. However, I only talk about the safer versions of Lidocaine that deserve a place in your medicine cabinet alongside your cold medicine. On top of that, I only recommend topical Lidocaine in any situation, simply because it keeps the effect contained exactly where you want it. Sprays use more permeable ingredients since they need to take effect immediately. You can read more about that here.
Lidocaine and Tattoos
So, is Lidocaine cream good for tattoo ink? Does it influence the tattoo at all? Of course! I would never recommend using it if it affected the tattoo in any way. Of course, certain precautions should be used to make sure that your tattoo is in pristine condition for your artist. When you use a Lidocaine cream, wait until your skin absorbs the cream. After that, rinse it off, and all of its effects stay in place. Since Lidocaine cream targets the nerves—and nothing else—any potential effects on your tattoo washes away along with the cream! The same applies to Lidocaine spray. We go into much more detail in our numbing cream page, plus we compare and contrast creams and sprays!
Of course, some Lidocaine creams work great during the actual tattoo process. They keep your tattoo ink untouched by only using ink-safe ingredients. Certain things like petroleum jelly or alcohol negatively affect tattoo healing and tattoo ink. On the other hand, lots of natural and organic ingredients contain essential vitamins that actually help the skin heal. On top of that, they provide a smooth glide for tattoo artists. Continuing to use Lidocaine creams like this throughout your healing process certainly eases the discomfort and itching of a healing tattoo. I advise using it no more than necessary, though.
Lidocaine Cream and You
Let’s talk about how to use Lidocaine cream for your tattoos! To ensure your safety, go ahead and spot test the Lidocaine cream. Like all other topical products—and especially like beauty products—it may contain an ingredient that disagrees with your skin. While it’s incredibly unlikely that your skin reacts negatively to Lidocaine itself, ingredients like aloe vera or pine oil extract could trigger more common allergies. Not all Lidocaine creams contain those ingredients, but they make for good examples. Once you establish that the Lidocaine cream works well on your skin, move on to the next step.
Before you go in for your tattoo appointment, apply a thin layer of Lidocaine cream to the area you plan on numbing. Since each cream works on a different timeframe, use the directions on the package to determine the best time to apply. Usually, thirty minutes before the appointment works well. Some people choose to keep the cream on for even longer, but remember that the cream loses its effect over time if not replenished. Along with unique times for each cream, some creams only work on open skin. This means that your skin already needs small puncture wounds that help your body absorb the cream. A dermaroller easily solves this problem.
Once you apply the cream, use plastic wrap to seal the area. If your artist allows anesthetic cream during the session, let your artist remove the plastic wrap as they go along. The wrap helps seal in the cream and makes it more effective. In turn, this prolongs the effect of the cream. For tattoo artists who dislike anesthetic cream, rinse it off using warm water and a washcloth. Dry it off as thoroughly as possible, and voila! You enjoy a pain-free tattoo session or skin procedure!
Lidocaine Cream and Your Artist
It’s important to think about the perspective of your artist, doctor, surgeon, or beautician before you use Lidocaine cream. Most of these professions require perfect precision in order to perform their job, so anesthetic cream naturally hinders them when it touches their fingers. However, the cream holds other benefits that make the risk well worth it, and many methods exist to mitigate the risk of numbness in the first place! If your artist or beautician still insists on abstaining from numbing cream, wash it off before the procedure. If your surgeon or doctor recommends otherwise, then listen to them. We also talk about the full benefits of numbing cream for clients and artists on this page.
To start with, your artist needs to use surgical gloves. They probably do already—touching someone’s blood creates a huge health hazard, and everyone avoids it as best as they can. Surgical gloves prevent both blood and numbing product from permeating through, leaving their fingers nice and safe. In effect, artists easily negate the one disadvantage of numbing cream by following proper procedures. As mentioned before, plenty of other beneficial effects make numbing cream attractive to artists. It works as a glide for tattoo artists and beauticians, ensuring their work looks smooth. Furthermore, it prevents you from flinching during your procedure and gives them more confidence in their movement.
Pain Relief Revolution
Lidocaine cream only entered the tattoo scene recently. Before the internet, obtaining some proved difficult without a doctor’s prescription. Although over-the-counter products have existed for over a decade, few stores stocked them. Large companies might stock them in one or two stores, while they were virtually absent in rural areas. Now, anything you want sits at your fingertips. While finding Lidocaine cream once proved impossible, buying it now takes just a few clicks and a few days of waiting.
Of course, its newfound popularity means that the tattoo scene still needs to adjust to the concept of pain relief and anesthetic creams. When they invented the tattoo gun, the tattoo scene exploded with artists and clients quickly followed suit. Inversely, Lidocaine cream increases the number of clients for artists. It opens up a whole new world to people with low pain tolerance that always dreamed about modifying their bodies. Like all new things—and just like the tattoo gun—the waves of the pain relief revolution still rock the scene. With time, artists, beauticians, surgeons, doctors, and clients alike learn the huge benefits of Lidocaine cream.
Other Ways to Use Lidocaine Ointment
I already mentioned a few other ways to use Lidocaine in passing, but this list helps reiterate why you need some in your medicine cabinet. I find that it works best for cuts and scrapes in sensitive areas. In example, I dab just a little bit on top of a papercut when I need to draw or type. That lets me use my fingers without that stinging sensation everytime I touch a key or adjust my tablet pen! Burns, scrapes, blisters, and cuts also benefit from Lidocaine cream.
For some people, daily uses of Lidocaine cream includes treating eczema, insect bites, itching, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and certain types of swelling. As for major applications—things that make you stock it in the first place—look no further than the body modification industry. When people think ‘body modification,’ they imagine forked tongues, chiseled teeth, and crazy piercings. While all of that counts, the realm of body modification also includes tattoos, permanent makeup, mole removal, cyst removal, waxing, hair removal, normal piercings, and all sorts of skin care.
At the same time, all of these procedures represent at least thirty minutes of pain. Lidocaine cream serves to relieve that pain in all of these situations and serves as an alternative to more expensive anesthetics. Simply keeping it around saves you a ton of trouble in the future!
Lidocaine Cream and Lidocaine Ointment Products
To get us started in the world of Lidocaine ointment products, let’s look at the most popular and trusted products out there. Many of these products are not meant exclusively for tattoo procedures–which actually serves as a benefit! You can use the extra cream as the need arises. Nonetheless, these topical lidocaine creams are just as effective at easing tattoo pain as they are at easing joint pain. Take a look and see if any of them stick out at you! For a more detailed look at tattoo numbing creams, check this page out.
This stuff lasts for a full 90 minutes before the effects start to wane. The formula minimizes the itching and swollen skin that happens as your nerves start to reawaken. The company offers a nice warranty, so if you spot check before your tattoo and find that it doesn’t fulfill your expectations, you can return it easily. It provides enough for large tattoos—about 20 inches squared. It works for tattoos, piercings, and even waxing! Even tattoo pain in bony areas, such as your collarbone and ribcage, fades away with this stuff.
Numb Master 5% Topical Anesthetic Lidocaine Cream
This gel lasts for only an hour, but sets in instantly. Simply apply it before your procedure and feel it work in minutes. Of course, the optimum point is in the middle of its effect duration—at about 25 minutes. As an artist, keeping some of this on hand for people who seem wishy-washy about anesthetics helps mitigate the risk of lengthened or postponed sessions. Follow the explicit directions provided with the lidocaine numbing cream for the best (and safest) results.
Numb 520 (1.35oz / 38g) 5% Lidocaine
Originally meant for pains in the butt (no, really), this topical anesthetic cream doubles as a way to treat small cuts, tattoo pain, and small skin procedures. In other words, any sort of external skin pain. It also helps with the itching that happens when your tattoo dries out or scabs. Since itching poses a bit of a risk to fresh tattoos, I highly recommend picking this one due to its anti-itch properties. Use this before the skin is punctured for best results.
UberNumb (2 oz) 5% Lidocaine Pain Relief Cream
This tattoo pain relief cream helps numb your nerves before, during, and after a tattoo session. It takes only 20 minutes to reach the maximum effect, then goes on to work just as well for the next two hours. It also contains several vitamins essential to healing skin and moisturizers to relieve itching—perfect for use on fresh tattoos!
To finish off our Lidocaine product reviews, let’s focus on the OTC Lidocaine sprays available to you. While many spray products prove less effective than their cream and ointment counterparts, Lidocaine spray actually helps you apply an even layer of appropriate depth, and thus makes it that much more effective! I highly recommend grabbing one if you are an artist that has to work with indecisive or hyper sensitive clients, since they take effect quickly and save the two of you from scheduling another session or even canceling the tattoo entirely! For a wider range of pain relief sprays, check out all the reviews here.
UberNumb Numbing Spray
Unlike many of the numbing creams and sprays on this list, UberNumb Numbing Spray is completely made in the USA. It sets in just 20 minutes after application and lasts for two hours. It is water based, so it leaves no oily texture behind and helps avoid issues with sensitive skin. It contains the largest amount of pain relief permitted by the FDA in over-the-counter anesthetics—5%. Once you apply it, rub it in with a paper towel until it takes effect (without wiping it off, of course). You do not need to break the skin for it to work.
Vasocaine Numbing Spray
One of the most highly recommended sprays out there, Vasocaine Numbing Spray provides long-lasting relief that starts very quickly after application. Despite what many other reviews say, it does not work well on open wounds, so apply it ahead of time and sparingly during the procedure. If you need it to relieve tattoo healing pain once you get home from your session, you need to wait until the second stage of healing before applying. Despite this, it works spectacularly! It even staves off the pain of full sleeves and large back tattoos. Just spray it, wait a minute, and enjoy your pain-free procedure.
HUSH Lidocaine Products
Now that you know all about Lidocaine cream, I want to recommend two types of Lidocaine product that work great. The same company makes both of them, so it’s no wonder they both work spectacularly. Without further ado, let’s go over the recommendations!
Lidocaine Cream: HUSH anesthetic – Tattoo Numbing Gel
Hush Anesthetic Cream uses Lidocaine as its active ingredient. I recommend it because it works great even during and after procedures. It also uses an FDA compliant formula, ensuring the best standards for your skin. Since you can apply it during the tattoo process, it also provides a few extra benefits. You relax more and your artist stretches your skin out more easily. The numbness lasts for two hours and then gradually wears away. It usually takes six hours for your feeling to completely return—and by then, you already sport a wonderful tattoo or body piercing! As with all numbing creams, this works best if covered up until the moment you use it. I talk about more tattoo numbing creams here.
Lidocaine Spray: HUSH anesthetic – Tattoo Numbing Spray
Similar to their Tattoo Numbing Gel, Hush Anesthetic Tattoo Numbing Spray works during the tattoo process. Unlike the gel, it applies quickly and easily. In exchange for a little less efficacy, you gain a lot of convenience. Since you can apply as needed, you easily avoid the one downside. The moment you feel a tingle, just ask your artist to spray a little more on! For artists who dislike the texture of a liquid surface and spend a lot of time wiping up blood, the thin layer of spray prevents distraction. If you are interested in learning more about numbing sprays, check this article out.
Lidocaine-free Pain Relief
As I already mentioned, Lidocaine does inflict a few side effects. Your skin itches while your numbing gel wears off. It almost feels like your limbs are waking back up from falling asleep. The risk for people with heart conditions, skin conditions, and nerve conditions are nothing to scoff at, either. On top of that, some people react poorly to the ingredients often paired with Lidocaine. These products help you take your mind off the pain without worrying about those side effects. I cover a few more of these on our general Tattoo Numbing page.
Penetrex Pain Relief Cream
This formula avoids Lidocaine by using Vitamin B6, Boswellia Serrata, Arnica, Glucosamine, and several other clinically proven ingredients that assist with skin pain. It contains no parabens (which risk inflicting irritation in people with sensitive skin), the medical scent fades away quickly, and to top things off, they avoided animal testing during the creation of this product. That makes it slightly more vegan-friendly, although a few animal-derived ingredients went into the making, so it’s not quite perfect for vegans.
On top of its use with skin treatments, it also works well for temporary pain, like sprained ankles, torn muscles, wart removal, and nerve disorders. As always, ask a doctor before you use something like this. It boasts fewer side-effects than Lidocaine (basically, just the rare allergic reaction), but it never hurts to play it safe!
Biofreeze Pain Relief 360 Spray
Like Penetrex, this spray contains lots of natural and proven pain-relieving ingredients. Camphor, Aloe, Green Tea, Burdock Root, Vitamin E, and lots more ingredients both minimize your pain and speed up the healing process with its nutritional support. Two versions exist—one that uses color to indicate how well you applied it, and another one with no dye included. If your tattoo is in color, you will obviously want the latter. Otherwise, stick to the green stuff—it helps you know exactly when you have the right amount on your skin. It treats common chronic pain conditions, such as sore muscles and arthritis. As with all medications—even OTC pain relievers—you want to ask your doctor about using it ahead of time and do a spot test.
Commonly Asked Questions About Lidocaine Cream
To make sure you understand the uses, methods, and risks of lidocaine over-the-counter pain relief, I put together a lidocaine cream F.A.Q. for you! Feel free to ask some of your own questions and I will add them in. The more information about this stuff, the better!
What do you use Lidocaine cream for?
Lidocaine cream is used to sooth topical pain. This includes tattoo work, skin surgeries, small burns, cuts, blisters, warts, hemorrhoids, and quite a bit more. Because it has no addictive properties, it is preferred over a few other types of pain relief, and doctors feel safe selling lidocaine cream otc. Its broad range of uses also makes it an excellent addition to any home first aid kit or medicine cabinet. For general tattoo aftercare, it makes up only one component of your routine.
Is Lidocaine cream over the counter?
Absolutely! A few large supermarkets carry Lidocaine cream, but I find that the online brands work better and cost less. As I explained before, its relatively small side effects compared to its use makes it safe to sell lidocaine cream otc. However, I highly recommend consulting a doctor if this is your first time using it (or at least spot testing). Because the very rare side effects can be serious, you want to follow their directions to the letter and ensure you take all precautions necessary.
What is Lidocaine 5% ointment used for?
The more potent types of lidocaine are used for piercings, tattoos, surgeries, large burns, large cuts, and other skin afflictions that cause medium to severe pain. For mild pain, it’s usually best to tough it out if possible or stick with lower potency pain relief. I go into more detail on the topic here.
Can you buy over the counter lidocaine?
Yes, although some stores require you to consult a pharmacist before you purchase. The same stores usually put the powerful allergy pills and sleeping pills behind the shelf, too. Still, they are available for anyone to purchase!
What is the use of Lidocaine spray?
Like lidocaine creams and ointments, Lidocaine sprays offer fast pain relief. Sometimes, they even offer soothing effects at a faster rate! Sprays have the advantage of applying and setting quickly, making them ideal for tattoo artists who want to spray as they work. By using limited amounts at a time, you also reduce the risk of side effects (of course, ask your doctor and artist about whether the spray works best for you).
Can you swallow viscous Lidocaine?
For the love of God, don’t even purchase it if you intend to swallow it. If you feel interior pain, please take yourself to the emergency room and have them diagnose you with an issue. Inner pain can be a symptom of more serious conditions, and Lidocaine products do not offer relief. It circulates the substance very quickly through the body, exposing far more nerves to its numbing effects and posing a huge risk. Even in clinical settings, doctors never orally prescribe Lidocaine–especially due to its toxic effects. Lidocaine is meant to be used topically, and only doctors know the safe way to administer it in any other fashion. It must be diluted by special chemicals to even function inside the body properly, so don’t even think about it!
What are the possible side effects of lidocaine?
As with all medications, lidocaine cream does have potentially serious side effects. This is why you should always seek a doctor’s opinion before using medicine, especially if you have sensitive skin, heart disease, autoimmune disorder, or are a pregnant woman. People with heart conditions—even those with pacemakers—need to steer clear of lidocaine products. Beta-blocker drugs also cause issues when used consecutively. Because the topical agent targets nerves, a whole host of side effects occur related to them, especially when used improperly or with an underlying condition.
Other side effects include high blood pressure, swelling, dizziness, numbness (naturally), headaches, constripation, nausea, vomiting, and having your extremities ‘fall asleep.’ More serious side effects include seizures, allergic reactions, methemoglobinemia, heart arrhythmia, and a very bad fever. The risk of side effects increases dramatically when used intravenously, and although the serious side effects are rare, you should always consult your doctor when using a new medical product and spot test once you receive their confirmation.
Can you use lidocaine as a topical?
Yes—in fact, that’s what I recommend! Any other way should only be executed by a doctor, due to the danger of lidocaine when used inside the body. Follow the instructions of the lidocaine brand that you choose to a T so that you avoid serious side effects and gain the full benefit of the topical agent during your procedure, whatever it might be.
The only exception to using it as a topical agent is in the case of children. Do not apply this agent to young children. The FDA has found that infants and children below four years of age exhibit severe side effects more commonly than adults.
Is lidocaine an aspirin?
Lidocaine is not an aspirin and will not address issues like headaches, stomach aches, cramps, fevers, toothaches, illness, arthritis, or other interior pain and discomfort. Even if things become seriously painful, do not use lidocaine as a temporary stay until you reach the hospital, and do not substitute aspirin with it. If you feel like you have slurred speech, pain or weakness on one side, or vision changes, then consult a doctor immediately rather than take either of these. If you have experienced continuous pain over a period of days, or if you find that your seemingly innocuous pain intensifies over the days, then that also calls for the advice of a doctor.
Aspirin and lidocaine cream use completely different methods to treat pain and are not interchangeable in function. More than anything, I want to dissuade you from taking or using lidocaine as you would aspirin. The only lidocaine otc is in the form of cream which should be used topically, and this is for a very good reason. The side effects change and intensify drastically when used internally, plus the pain will not go away. Always consult a doctor with any medical questions you might have about lidocaine cream, aspirin, and whether one of these is right for you.
Take the Leap—Try Lidocaine Cream for Pain Relief
In the end, I’m not a doctor. But I am certain that these over-the-counter, FDA-compliant pain relief creams and sprays work. But don’t take my word for it—ask your artist and doctor about it! They will recognize InkDoneRight’s recommended Lidocaine cream and spray and likely recommend it themselves. Rather than sit on the fence, wondering whether or not this tattoo or that piercing is worth the pain, simply give Lidocaine a try. In all honestly, it opens up a world of body modification and will help you conquer your fear of pain. Use this opportunity to truly own your body and everything in it. Shape it how you like and show the world the inner beauty you contained this whole time!