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You know the saying: beauty is pain. While this is often true, you don’t always have to endure all beauty treatments – even things like waxing. To avoid painful events during waxing, many people choose to use topical products such as numbing creams or numbing sprays to ease the pain. While it will not completely eliminate the pain, topical numbing creams can certainly help make the experience more bearable.

Wax strips, hard waxes, and sugar waxes all have relatively similar pain levels. A number of other factors can determine how much your wax will hurt, including the thickness of your hair and, of course, your personal pain tolerance. While topical products like numbing cream will help, if you wish to use it as a hack before your next wax, you should learn more before you apply it from head to toe.

Numbing Cream: Is topical numbing cream safe to use on my skin?
Generally, yes, but you should still be cautious. According to dermatologist Shari Sperling, M.D., the risks of using these products may outweigh the benefits. “There have been reports of people using them for longer periods of time on larger areas, which has led to systemic absorption,” she says. But that’s not the only thing that makes it a bit of a gamble. Dr. Spurling says you should always be able to feel the temperature of the wax, especially if you’re waxing yourself.

“You want to be able to feel the heat of the wax,” she says. “If it’s too hot, it could burn you.” In general, you should avoid using them on larger areas of the body, such as the bikini area. If you do use them, Dr. Sperling recommends applying them 30 minutes before waxing and then rinsing them off immediately.

Numbing creams: Do numbing creams really work?
Numbing creams do work and can reduce pain during waxing, but you shouldn’t get into the habit of using them regularly, especially for something as small as tweezers. “I don’t recommend using one for plucking because the pain is usually not severe enough for you to need a numbing cream,” says Dr. Sperling.

Whether you’re waxing yourself at home or dreading going to an appointment, Dr. Sperling recommends two numbing products for some pain relief, Lidocane Plus pain cream ($15) and Aspercreme lidocaine pain cream ($12) .

You can also try Equate Pain Cream ($5) and Biofreeze Pain Cream ($12).


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