How Long Does Numbing Cream Last?


If you are planning to get a tattoo, have a microneedling treatment, or a bikini wax, you may dread those procedures because of how painful they are known to be. However, there is good news. You do not need to suffer from the pain as they involve puncturing the outer layer of your skin, which will irritate the nerves and then cause you pain. You can block out most of the pain through numbing cream. It does not mean that you won’t feel some irritation after these procedures, but the numbing cream will block out most of the pain. Therefore, there is no need to suffer. Let’s talk more about what else you can use numbing cream for, how numbing cream works, the different types, and how long it lasts, as well as other things you need to expect with it.

In What Situations Do You Require Numbing Cream?

You will need numbing cream for various situations where you will feel pain. Examples of situations where you will need numbing cream are when you have dermal fillers, permanent makeup, waxing, tattooing, piercing, laser hair removal, and skin treatments. If you are extremely sensitive, you can request it for injections and bloodwork too, but most people don’t require numbing cream for that because it is not something that can cause too much pain. Instead, your practitioner will apply numbing cream before and after the procedure. Let’s now talk more about how numbing cream works so you understand how it can block pain.

How Does Numbing Cream Work?

You experience pain when something pierces your skin or causes friction, such as what you have with waxing, because the sodium channels in your nerves that cause you to feel pain send pain signals to your brain. Therefore, the numbing cream has anesthetic effects, whereas it will block the sodium channels in your nerves, and that is why you will not feel pain when you undergo any of these procedures. The more invasive the procedure, the more potent the numbing cream will have to be so it can block out all of the pain that you could feel. That is why when you have a highly invasive surgical procedure. You need to go under a general anesthetic.

That is because numbing cream alone does not have the properties to block the sodium channels in your nerves when it comes to more invasive surgeries. The less invasive the procedure, the less potent the anesthetic can be, which is why numbing cream is perfect for those with mildly invasive work. Likewise, that is why it is ideal for getting tattooed, having permanent makeup, piercings, waxing, and anything else that can deliver pain on the same level. Now, let’s talk about how long numbing cream lasts.

What Is The Length Of Time Numbing Cream’s Effects Will Last?

When you are having any of those procedures, you will need to have the application of numbing cream twice. You will need it once before and another time after. You will need it before because you want your skin to be numb before the practitioner begins to poke and prick it or wax it, and you will need it again after to help minimize the discomfort when your skin heals.

Therefore, your practitioner will likely apply the numbing cream to your skin from a half-hour to one hour before the procedure, as it depends on the invasiveness and timeframe of how long the procedure will last. That is because the effects of the numbing cream will stay on your skin for up to two hours after application.

That is why you will need another application after the procedure because otherwise, you will experience the pain once your skin is in the early stages of healing. In some cases, numbing cream can last up to five hours if you require a potent type if you have a long tattooing session where you are having a large portion of your body inked. However, on average, numbing cream lasts for around two hours after each application. Now, let’s talk about the different types of numbing cream.

What Are The Different Types Of Numbing Cream?

You have various brands of numbing cream, but they contain different ingredients. For example, some numbing creams have lidocaine, prilocaine, which is often with lidocaine, and tetracaine. Lidocaine is the most common ingredient used for skin numbing cream among practitioners, and other medical professionals use it too for mild procedures.

Lidocaine is a local anesthetic, and it comes in various forms as it comes in throat sprays, mouth gels, and suppositories. The ingredient takes very little time to take effect, but you do not want to put it on damaged skin, so practitioners need to be cautious while applying it after procedures. Nevertheless, it is safe to use unless you are allergic to it or your doctor does not want you to take it for another medical reason.

Prilocaine is also a topical anesthetic similar to lidocaine, and frequently the two ingredients go together in various numbing creams to provide a more potent effect. You can get numbing cream with these ingredients OTC, or your doctor can prescribe it to you, depending on why you need it.

Another typical local anesthetic is tetracaine. However, it is different from prilocaine and lidocaine because it is an ester-like anesthetic. This one is typically for the eyes, nose, and mouth and not used for the skin. Eyedrops have tetracaine. There are tetracaine lollipops that your medical practitioner will give you after mouth work or surgery involving the mouth. Those are the most common types of numbing agents. You will not often find numbing cream with tetracaine when keeping the skin numb from those standard procedures.


Suppose you have a mildly invasive procedure such as getting a tattoo, microneedling‘, waxing, laser hair removal, and having permanent makeup. In that case, you will require a numbing cream to block out the pain. Most numbing creams contain lidocaine if you use them for these procedures, and they typically last for up to two hours after application but can last as long as five hours, depending on the potency of the numbing cream. The chances are that your dermatologist will prescribe you these creams, but you can also get them OTC if you do waxing or laser hair removal at home.