In the United States of America, the use of anesthetics by injection or in high potency formulas is regulated by the Food Drug Administration (FDA) and is restricted to health care professionals such as medical doctors, dentists and nurses.
Numbing creams or topicals are the “anesthetics” available to permanent makeup and tattooing professionals in the USA. They are considered over the counter (OTC) by the FDA. These OTC numbing creams have a maximum potency of 5% lidocaine, tetracaine, benzocaine or prilocaine, and they come in a cream, ointment or gel form.
The benefits of using these topicals are powerful when they are applied to a small area before and/or during the procedure. Numbing creams provide for a safe and comfortable experience with little to no pain or discomfort to the person receiving the tattooing or cosmetic procedure.
One interesting aspect we have seen through the years, is that very often beginning artists, or artists trained in other countries, look for more concentrated topicals with the intent of providing more pain control for their clients. However, it is a misconception that a stronger numbing cream will offer more pain control in permanent makeup. Also, there is the risk of side effects when using more concentrated topicals, including the fact that too much numbing cream can negatively affect the consistency of the skin prior to beginning the procedure.
There are many skilled permanent makeup artists who developed such good hand techniques, that they apply almost no numbing cream in their clients and are still able to obtain great results.
Topicals like Microcaine, DOTC Blue Gel, Numpot, Zensa, Tag#45, Ultraduration, Face and Body are some of the favorites in our industry today. And they work safely and effectively either combined or separately to provide pain control.
If you are unsure about which options of topicals are the right ones for you, please let us know and we will be glad to help you.