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Important Things To Keep In Mind While Using A Lidocaine Cream

Posted on June 12 2018

Lidocaine cream, commonly known as numbing cream, is used to reduce or prevent pain before certain processes such as tattooing, piercing, laser treatment and surgical incisions. The cream works by dulling the skin, thereby blocking the nerve endings to send pain signals to the brain. 

However, it can’t be denied that numbing cream can pose several side effects if not used carefully. This is because it penetrates deeper into the skin to interact with the nerve endings. An excessive amount of a numbing cream can pose side effects if too much of the cream is absorbed through the skin.

The immediate side effects are….

  • Burning, stinging and irritation where the cream was applied
  • Swelling or redness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion, blurred vision and ringing in the ears

Severe side effects include…

  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Seizures
  • Coma and Death

(Note: All these conditions require immediate medical attention.)

FDA has also warned against the improper USE of a numbing cream—“When applied to the skin surface, they can be absorbed into the bloodstream and, if used improperly, may cause life-threatening side effects, such as irregular heartbeat, seizures, breathing difficulties, coma, or even death.”

FDA claims to receive “reports of adverse events and deaths of two women who used topical anesthetics before laser hair removal.” 

Therefore, you should be careful while using a numbing cream. Here’s how.

Choose the Numbing Cream with 5% Lidocaine:

Lidocaine is the most powerful numbing agent and tends to penetrate deeper into the skin. The safe and recommended percentage of lidocaine in a topical anesthetic is 5%. Anything less than that or more than that would be effective or safer.

Numbing creams like NumbSkin has 5% lidocaine and keeps the skin numb for a couple of hours without posing any side effects.

Clean the Skin Patch:

Make sure to clean the skin area with soap and water before applying the cream over there. Dry gently with a towel.

Apply Numbing Cream:

Apply the thick layers (as directed on the pack) of a numbing cream to your skin. It should be 1 mm thick. Rub or spread the cream as directed on the pack.

Cover the Skin with a Plastic Wrap or Cling:

Cover your skin with plastic wrap or cling film after the application of a numbing cream. It will generate the heat to potent the numbing effect. You will start experiencing numbness within 30 minutes of application. Make sure to remove the cover after 45 minutes or 1 hour. Wearing the cover for a longer time can trigger side effects. Remove the plastic wrap and wipe off the cream.



  • Don’t apply numbing cream to the broken skin as the cream can enter your bloodstream.
  • Consult your physician first if you have sensitive skin.
  • Don’t use numbing cream if you are allergic to lidocaine.
  • Don’t use numbing cream on the tongue, near eyes or inside the nose.
  • Don’t use heating pad or clothes. Instead, use only plastic cling or wrap to generate heat.
  • Avoid wearing the cream for longer.
  • Consult your physician if you are taking medication or have health condition.

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