Topical anesthesia pros and cons

Topical anesthetic pros and cons by brand

Below is an alphabetical list (NOT a ranking) of many of the more common topical pain reduction products. Many of these are made by "mom and pop" operations, so I have also narrowed these to a recommended list, discussed on the following pages:

Recommended products:

Purchasing information
Comparison
Clinical data

Disclaimer:

A pain medication which works perfectly for one consumer may not work at all for another.

I make absolutely no guarantee that any product mentioned in this section will work for you or will work better or worse for you than another product.

For details, see my  Pain management intro page.

ELA-Max:

Pro: Performs well in clinical trials
Pro: Doesn’t need to be covered with plastic
Pro: Rapid onset of anesthesia
Pro: Doesn’t require a prescription
Pro: Widely available
Con: Must be applied very generously
Con: Some find it gets runny/sticky after application
Con: Can cause redness that lasts a few hours

EMLA

Pro: Performs well in clinical trials
Pro: Might be covered on insurance
Pro: Widely available
Con: Must be applied very generously
Con: Must be covered with plastic
Con: Slow onset of anesthesia
Con: Requires a prescription
Con: Some find it loses effectiveness once uncovered
Con: Can cause skin to look white for a few hours

Ametop

Pro: Performs well in clinical trials
Pro: Doesn’t need to be covered with plastic
Pro: Rapid onset of anesthesia
Con: Must be applied very generously
Con: Not available in US
Con: Some find it gets runny/sticky after application

Betacaine:

Pro: Doesn’t need to be covered with plastic
Pro: Rapid onset of anesthesia
Pro: Doesn’t require a prescription
Con: Must be applied very generously
Con: Some find it gets runny/sticky after application
Con: Can cause redness that lasts a few hours
Con: Only available through manufacturer

Stud Spray

Pro: Good prior to waxing
Pro: Inexpensive
Pro: Rapid onset of anesthesia
Con: Doesn’t penetrate as deeply or as well as creams/gels
Con: Small bottle

Mento-kaine

Pro: Good prior to waxing
Pro: Inexpensive
Pro: Rapid onset of anesthesia
Con: Doesn’t penetrate as deeply or as well as creams/gels
Con: Irritates sensitive skin

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