Lidocaine numbing cream is commonly applied prior to many superficial aesthetic procedures, such as: laser, microneedle, IPL, RF, injections, fillers and others. Lidocaine numbing cream products are used to reduce or eliminate the pain caused by these procedures. The active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), lidocaine numbs the treatment area by blocking neuronal transmissions of pain going to the brain. Specifically, lidocaine and related anesthetics, such as benzocaine, tetracaine and prilocaine alter signal conduction in neurons by blocking the high energy voltage-gated Na+ channels in the neuronal cell membrane responsible for signal propagation. With sufficient blockage, the membrane of the postsynaptic neuron will not depolarize and will thus fail to transmit an action potential.
Topical lidocaine numbing cream products are not all the same in formulation. Formulation variation is a key factor in the efficacy, safety and speed to onset of action realized from one topical lidocaine numbing cream product to another. Many use one of more penetration enhancers also known as drivers while others use liposome technologies to enhance their effects.
Lidocaine cream products are supplied in both prescription and over the counter (OTC) forms. The OTC forms are typically supplied in 4% and 5% concentrations. They are most commonly supplied in multi-use tubes or jars. Recently, in rare cases, some lidocaine numbing cream products are now being supplied in single-use, sanitary packets, designed to decrease the risk of cross contamination. This unique packaging form was designed at the request of many clinicians who were concerned by the risk of using products in a manner which was not aseptic. Typically, most clinicians attempt to create an aseptic environment when preparing for their procedures. The use of lidocaine numbing cream products supplied in multi-use jars and tubes does not necessarily allow for a sanitary environment, while the use of those contained in single-use, sanitary packets can.
There are a variety of important factors to consider when determining the most appropriate topical lidocaine numbing cream product for your aesthetic procedure. Choosing with the proper care can certainly aid in creating the best clinical outcomes. Choose wisely.