Since there are so many choices, how do you know which is the best topical numbing cream?
Some ways to know which is the best topical numbing cream include:
In order for one to be better than the other, the best topical numbing cream has to be effective. In order for one to be effective it has to be concentrated at a rate that provides enough of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) to do the job. The best topical numbing cream also has to allow the API to penetrate the skin where it affects the nerves that transmit pain sensations. In order to penetrate the skin, the best topical numbing cream has to include ingredients that perform this action. There are currently a handful of ingredients that are well-known among chemists that safely and temporarily assist API’s in penetrating the skin effectively. These ingredients temporarily alter the protective barrier layer of the skin, called the stratum corneum, without causing damage. Once in the skin, the API, lidocaine, can effectively perform its job. This job is blocking the neuronal (relating to nerves) impulses that transmit sensations of pain, burn and itch to the brain. By blocking these neuronal impulses, lidocaine numbs the localized treatment area.
While the primary goal of a topical numbing cream (anesthetic) is to numb the treatment area, it is also very important that is has a good safety profile – meaning that it is safe to use. Some topical anesthetics are dosed so high that they pose a serious health risk to the user. The United Stated Food and Drug Administration, combined with most state’s health departments, recommend using a topical anesthetic that provides adequate efficacy while also not posing a health risk. They go on to recommend only using enough to get the job done. Further, you should only use a cream with an API concentration (percentage) that is enough to be effective but not so high it poses a risk. The FDA states that for the use on human skin, the API of a topical lidocaine product not be higher than 4% concentration. For ano-rectal use (for hemorrhoids) the US FDA suggests as high as 5% concentration. The FDA suggests that anything higher may pose a serious health risk. There are some prescription topical anesthetics that are higher and/or a combination of two API’s. These are most often only used in the clinical setting where the doctor is very closely monitoring health factors such as heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels. For OTC use, the best topical numbing cream provides only a safe and effective concentration of lidocaine or lidocaine HCl.
Another safety factor is sanitary packaging of the best topical numbing cream. When a lidocaine cream is packaged in multi-use jars, it creates the highest risk for cross-contamination. This term means that there is a risk that germs, microbes or other contaminating material can get into the jar each time you or someone else uses it. When this happens, there is a risk of serious health risks, such as passing on a pathogenic (illness causing) condition from using the product. Multi-use tubes, since they are packaged in closed containers, have a risk, but less than the open container jars. Single-use, sanitary packets that are manufactured in a FDA approved and monitored facility will naturally have the lowest risk of cross-contamination since the product is only used once and then discarded.
When comparing products, side-by-side,based on price, check the price per gram (mL by volume). Some containers are larger than others. Do NOT be fooled by slightly lower prices that are lower priced due to less product. This is a marketing trick used by some marketers to fool unsuspecting buyers. The best topical numbing cream will provide the best effect, safely and for a comparatively fair market price and high value.