DISCLAIMER: Check local rules and regulations regarding topical anesthetics before you use any numbing product on any client.
Whether you use a derma roller, derma stamp or a dermapen, microneedling requires breaking the surface of the skin. How deep into the skin the needles go determines how much discomfort is caused, and deep microneedling can be quite painful.
That’s why numbing creams are often used to numb the area before any needling happens. But which ones?
PMUHub has picked out a list of top-quality, well-known, reliable numbing products to ease your clients’ discomfort during microneedling.
Here’s what the industry lists as the best numbing cream for microneedling!
What Is the Best Numbing Cream for Microneedling?
Here’s a comprehensive overview of our top 5 choices of best numbing cream for skin needling:
1. Zensa: Best Numbing Cream for Microneedling All Around
Zensa numbing cream is loved by permanent makeup artists far and wide, and for good reasons. It has a powerful formula with 5% lidocaine content.
According to a large portion of the beauty industry, Zensa is the best face numbing cream for microneedling and PMU treatments.
It’s not greasy, doesn’t stick, and doesn’t leave a film on the skin. Its creamy consistency makes it easy to apply and easy to remove once the numbing kicks in.
Zensa’s effect can last for up to 3 hours, depending on the client’s skin. If that’s not enough, this product can be used for both primary and secondary numbing, so the effect can be prolonged as necessary.
Just remember to cover it with cling film when you’re pre-numbing to get the maximum effects.
• Good for both pre-numbing and extending the effect
• On the pricier side
2. Numpot Gold: Best Soothing Numbing Cream
A tried-and-true formula developed with doctors, the Numpot Gold by PainStoppers is a truly unique topical anesthetic:
- It’s strong
- It can be used around the eyes
- It does not contain epinephrine, which if important in a numbing cream for microneedling
- It nourishes and moisturizes
- This provides relief to needled skin even after the numbing effect wears off.
It’s a rich, thicker formula, so it’s more like a balm, which you may or may not like. Consistency aside, it’s effective and works relatively fast.
• Safe for use around eyes
• Moisturizing and nourishing properties
• You may or may not like the thicker consistency
3. DOTC Blue: Best Numbing Cream with Multiple Numbing Agents
Lidocaine is the go-to numbing agent in numbing creams for microneedling and similar cosmetic/dermatological procedures, but some clients won’t respond to it as much as others.
So it’s always good to have something that contains multiple numbing agents on hand.
The DOTC Blue by PainStoppers contains 3% Lidocaine and 2% Tetracaine.
It’s a great alternative to Numpot. It’s also creamy and comes in a pot, but the addition of Tetracaine may lead to a longer numbing effect, as one study suggests.
• Contains Lidocaine and Tetracaine
• Not a huge amount of product
4. Ebanel NUMB520: Best Numbing Cream for Dermapen
The Ebanel NUMB520 Topical Numbing Cream is recommended by artists who appreciate a fast-acting, mess-free topical anesthetic. This numbing cream is water-based, so it leaves no greasy traces and makes for easy cleanup.
Ebanel Numb520 takes effect in a mere 2-3 minutes. The numbing peaks about 20-25 minutes after application and lasts for up to 3 hours.
To achieve maximum duration, apply it in a dense layer and cover with plastic wrap.
This numbing cream is a great choice for dermapen treatments. Since the dermapen is a highly precise tool, it’s often used on the face. As such, you want a numbing agent that acts fast, is odor-free and feels lightweight on the sensitive facial skin.
Ebanel Numb520 provides all that.
• Non-greasy and lightweight
• No-mess application
• Some reviews claim it doesn’t work that well
5. Dr. Numb: Best Numbing Cream for Dermarolling
The Dr. Numb topical anesthetic cream stands out because it’s applied by rubbing it into the skin, as opposed to dabbing it on.
Apply it in two layers and cover with plastic wrap for maximum absorption and the strongest effect.
This numbing cream starts working after about 15 minutes and peaks after sitting for about 45 minutes. It remains in effect for anywhere between 2 and 4 hours.
The notably long numbing time makes this the best numbing cream for dermarolling, which is typically considered as somewhat more unpleasant than dermapen treatments.
• Silky texture
• You need a larger amount since it’s applied in 2 layers; you may use it up quickly
6. Numb Master: Best Numbing Cream for Skin Needling in General
Yet another strong formula with 5% lidocaine content, Numb Master also contains Vitamin E, lecithin, and aloe vera. It’s also paraben-free.
This makes it more soothing than most, so it’s suitable for any area of the body, even on people with sensitive skin. It acts fast, peaks 20-25 minutes after application, and lasts a decent time period (up to 2 hours).
One notable asset of Numb Master is that it also relieves redness, irritation, and itching.
• Relieves irritation
• The numbing doesn’t last that long
7. Medinumb: Best Face Numbing Cream for Microneedling
Medinumb topical numbing cream is formulated specifically to be gentle, so it’s ideally suited for microneedling procedures done on the face. It features a unique combination of aloe vera, jojoba, and tea tree extract for extra nourishment and moisturization.
Unlike the other topical anesthetics on this list, Medinumb’s lidocaine content stands at 4%. For this reason it peaks a bit slower, about 30-45 minutes after application, though the numbing starts within minutes.
• Gentle and soothing formula
• Nourishing and moisturizing
• Lower Lidocaine content than some other creams (4%)
• Takes longer to work
Some Basic Info About Microneedling Numbing Cream
Microneedling numbing cream is a topical anesthetic applied to the face or body, in the specific area that will be treated.
The active ingredient (a.k.a. numbing agent) sinks into the skin and numbs the nerves in the area. That way no sensation of pain is triggered in the brain centers. The numbing agent is typically lidocaine.
The cream is left to sit for a certain time which depends on the overall sensitivity and thickness of the skin in the treated area:
- 15-20 minutes on the face
- 20-30 minutes on the body
- 30-40 minutes on the scalp
While topical anesthetics in the form of cream are the most common, there are also numbing products in the form of gel.
Image source: Instagram @zensaskin
The best numbing cream for microneedling is one without epinephrine.
This ingredient is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it causes blood vessels to shrink, which is desirable if you’re tattooing or doing PMU, but a problem for microneedling.
One of the benefits of microneedling is increasing blood flow to the area, which aids the recovery process and collagen production.
So you don’t want to restrict or diminish it.
When You Should Use Numbing Cream on Your Microneedling Clients
Not every microneedling treatment requires numbing. If you’re not going deep, like with nanoneedling or with a short-pinned dermaroller, there’s really no need for topical anesthesia. The pins might feel scratchy, but there shouldn’t be any pain.
So using numbing while going so shallow is unnecessary exposure to numbing agents.
But doing deeper microneedling can be quite uncomfortable. The needles go deeper into the skin, where nerve endings are located.
A good numbing cream reduces the sensations of scratching and stinging that the procedure might cause. It helps to keep your client relaxed.
Pain is a subjective category and not everyone perceives it in the same way, so different clients will react differently to the same treatment. Still, if you know you’ll be going deep into the skin, numb them up.
They’ll appreciate your effort to eliminate their discomfort and give them the best experience possible.
Microneedling is done as an at-home treatment more and more often, and while non-experts shouldn’t do anything invasive and should stick to gentle derma rollers, people are still getting over-the-counter dermapens and using them on their own.
If you’re one of those people and you’re wondering whether you can use numbing cream for DIY microneedling, we have to warn you that you shouldn’t be going so deep as to need numbing in the first place.
If you feel pain worse than just scratchy, stingy discomfort, it means you’re going deep into the skin and you’re risking doing damage with potentially permanent consequences, like scarring.
So instead of recommending you use an over-the-counter numbing, we’ll advise you to rethink your microneedling routine. Either stick to gentle DIY dermarolling, or get a professional treatment.
Final Thoughts on Best Numbing Cream for Microneedling
You’ll need to experiment a little to find the best numbing cream for skin needling treatments in your salon, but these products will hopefully make your exploration a bit easier.
Generally speaking, look for formulas with high lidocaine content (5% is the highest possible) and potentially some extra nourishing ingredients.
Water-based products absorb into the skin better and make for easier cleanup than thicker ones, but thicker textures provide moisturization.
No matter which numbing cream you use, remember to keep it tightly closed, store it properly, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. This is extremely important for the health and safety of your clients.