Most nonsurgical procedures use numbing creams because they quickly alleviate pain or discomfort. Generally applied to the area of the skin being treated, these fast-acting creams are most popularly used during laser procedures. While most people find little discomfort associated with laser treatments and compare the feeling to the snap of a rubber band, a numbing cream ensures that those who are sensitive to pain feel nothing at all.
Most numbing creams contain at least one of the following three active ingredients: benzocaine, lidocaine, or tetracaine. Alone or combined, these components absorb into the skin quickly to numb it. The most commonly used numbing cream is a TAC, or triple anesthetic cream, which consists of 20 percent benzocaine and eight percent each of lidocaine and tetracaine.
Ice and cryogenic devices are also used to reduce pain during laser treatments. Both provide a cooling sensation to the outer layers of the skin, dulling the senses. Ice is typically applied before laser treatments for minor relief, and cryogenic devices keep the skin cool throughout the entire process so that clients will have a more comfortable experience.
Any numbing method offers advantages, but numbing creams allow technicians to use higher settings on the laser, resulting in faster, more effective results.