Best Numbing Cream For Microneedling

While microneedling isn’t as aggressive as other cosmetic treatments, it often requires the application of numbing cream to ensure a comfortable experience. While medical offices offer prescription-based creams, people microneedling at home are stuck trying to figure out the best solution to deal with the discomfort. Our team of skin enthusiasts reviewed the best topical numbing creams and what to know about buying one over the counter.

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Best Numbing Creams

What Is The Best Numbing Cream For Microneedling?

BLT numbing cream is the best topical numbing cream to go along with microneedling. This is because it effectively penetrates the top layer of the skin to reach inside and dulls the nerve endings when applied in a timely manner.

While BLT (Benzocaine, lidocaine, tetracaine) creams are commercially available, prescription BLT creams are slightly stronger and therefore more effective. The most common formula recommended by dermatologists is 20% Benzocaine, 6% Lidocaine, and 5% Tetracaine in a Lipoderm base.

Best Over The Counter Numbing Cream For Microneedling

Over-the-counter creams often contain a smaller combination of benzocaine, tetracaine, or lidocaine, and other types of topical anesthetics. The main reason for the commercial prohibition of this compounded formulation is its high potency.

BLT cream can have potential side effects if misused and thus, must be handled carefully.  The OTC limit is 5%.

1. Editors Choice: Ebanel 5% Lidocaine Topical Numbing Cream

Pros and Cons

Maximum StrengthNeed to apply a thick layer
Works Fast 3-5 minsHighly priced for a small amount

Our Experience with Ebanel

This product is the strongest on the market available over the counter. I’ve used this product before microneedling at home. I stayed numb for at least an hour, although I had to apply more than expected. It won’t eliminate the pain completely but it made my treatment a lot more tolerable. Based on personal use, we found this to be the best numbing cream we tried.

2. Numb Master 5% Lidocaine Topical Numbing Cream

Pros and Cons

FDA ApprovedThe duration of numbness may vary
Highest % on marketTexture can be flakey

Our Experience With Numb Master

This topical anesthetic cream comes with 5% lidocaine strength. It’s one of the most powerful when it comes to over-the-counter creams. You can expect the cream to last a little under an hour even though the product claims to last around three hours. The texture wasn’t too oily but I found it to be a bit flakey.

3. LMX4 Lidocaine Pain Relief Cream

Pros and Cons

Dermatologist RecommendedNot the strongest on the market
Absorbs quicklyDo not use it on large areas of the body

Our Experience with LMX4

LMX4 Topical Anesthetic Cream comes recommended by the dermatologists at Baylor College Medicine’s Department of Dermatology. It contains 4% lidocaine and worked extremely fast. While it did make my skin feel quite numb, it didn’t totally eradicate the pain.

What Is A Numbing Cream?

Numbing Cream is a topical anesthetic that is used to help reduce the pain that occurred during Microneedling and other cosmetic treatments such as waxing, laser hair removal, botox, and filler injections. These topical creams work best for easing pain as they can be easily applied, work fast, and are effective.

There are many types of topical numbing creams that are over-the-counter(OTC) but the strongest and most effective are generally prescribed by a dermatologist.

For over-the-counter topically applicable products, the best numbing creams should have the following qualities: 

  • Works rapidly and effectively to penetrate the skin
  • From a reputable source with good reviews (Use FDA-approved)
  • Best cost-to-benefit ratio
  • Absent of flaky or oily residue
  • Safe ingredients (DMSO free and pH Safe)

What is Microneedling?

Microneedling is a popular skin rejuvenation procedure that involves puncturing the skin with tiny needles. It’s used to stimulate skin cell renewal and treat skin imperfections such as acne scars, wrinkles, and fine lines.

While this moderately invasive treatment is not reported by patients to be painful, the needles can cause some discomfort. Topical anesthetic cream or numbing cream can make the treatment more tolerable, which is why it is generally applied before the microneedling procedure.

Is Numbing Cream Necessary for Microneedling?

No, numbing cream is not necessary for microneedling. While most patients choose to use it, it all comes down to each patient’s own individual pain tolerance and the issue being treated. The numbing cream makes treatment less painful and is just applied to create a more comfortable experience.

Depending on the skin condition treated, an individual may not need numbing cream at all. Individuals using a dermaroller at home, generally use shorter needles and can do so without any discomfort.

Skin conditions like acne scars require the use of longer needles that penetrate deeper into the skin, generally resulting in more discomfort.

How Do They Numb You For Microneedling?

Numbing creams are applied topically into the treated area of the skin. A skin care professional will massage the numbing cream on the skin until the cream has disappeared. Once the cream becomes a little sticky or waxy, it signals that it has been absorbed. A hot towel is used next to take off the leftover cream, followed by rinsing the skin with an antiseptic cleanser of your choice.

How Long Do You Leave Numbing Cream On Before Microneedling?

Generally, you will want the numbing cream to set in for around ten to fifteen minutes, but this will all depend on how fast of a metabolizer the individual is. Start the microneedling process in the least sensitive, thick-skinned area like the cheeks, to test the feeling and see if your numbing cream is working to your satisfaction. After its application, the next step would be to apply a serum to begin the microneedling process.

Is Numbing Cream Safe For Microneedling?

Some over-the-counter numbing creams come with risks due to their inappropriate pH levels and chemicals. In order to keep the risk of any sort of side effects at a minimum, you should understand the risks of the enhancer chemicals associated with them. 

Your cream should have an appropriate pH level. Even a decrease or increase of a single digit above or below neutral (7) can have disastrous effects when exposed to a sensitive area, like the eyes. In fact, even a safe pH topical should be kept away from such regions just to stay on the safe side. 

While over-the-counter creams are occluded to maximize the efficiency of their anesthetic effects, they should be free of undesired enhancer chemicals. Some non-prescription numbing creams contain Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), which can cause health issues and can be absorbed very quickly through the skin barrier.

Tips For Maximum Numbing Cream Efficacy

Sometimes, it’s not the product but rather an individual’s method of utilizing it that does the trick. To make sure you utilize your numbing cream properly, you should:

1. Keep cream exposure to a minimum.

You should try to apply your topical numbing cream to only the area you believe is necessary. Generally, it is far easier to achieve an anesthetic effect in smaller areas, one at a time, than in a larger space in one go. 

Furthermore, applying the cream to a larger area also means that a lot more of it can reach your bloodstream. Of course, this won’t increase the numbing effect in any way; it’ll just increase the risk of side effects.

A good rule of thumb is to divide a large area into smaller ones to be treated throughout multiple sessions (with at least a 24-hour difference between each session).

2. Make sure you’re not allergic to it

Before applying a numbing cream to any part of your body, you should ensure that you’re not allergic to it. Exposing a minuscule amount of the cream on your hand will give you a rough idea of how your body reacts to it.

Note: Some pre-existing medical conditions can also increase pain sensitivity which might render the effects of the numbing cream useless.


Do you need numbing cream for microneedling at home?

Generally no, as microneedling treatments done at home should be administered at shorter needle depths. Some individuals still choose to use a numbing cream to minimize any chance of discomfort.

Is microneedling more effective without numbing cream?

No, there is no advantage to using numbing cream except to minimize pain during treatment.