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What Is Numbing Spray?

By Jillian O Keeffe
Updated May 17, 2024
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Many different types of numbing spray are available, and they can be used in a variety of applications. Some sprays contain strong anesthetics like benzocaine and others merely contain herbal products. Situations where a numbing spray may be useful range from simple procedures like waxing up to medical problems like burns or poison oak rash. If a numbing spray contains a drug, then serious side effects may occur, especially if the product instructions are not followed carefully.

The simplest form of numbing spray contains only natural products. The manufacturers of this type of spray typically market it toward people who wish to numb the skin before beauty treatments like waxing. Example ingredients include the essences of peppermint, aloe vera and patchouli.

Some products for the waxing market may contain controlled anesthetic medications. Lidocaine is one of these anesthetic ingredients. A typical lidocaine concentration in the bottle is about four percent. Generally, the person sprays the product onto the skin to be waxed and waits a few minutes for the spray to numb the area.

Those with medical problems may also be able to soothe skin with numbing sprays. Products for medical use typically use ingredients like benzocaine or lidocaine. These are drugs that usually offer a more significant anesthetic capability.

Conditions that may benefit from numbing sprays are generally skin conditions. These include temporary issues like sunburn and poison oak irritation. Rashes from poison sumac, poison ivy and local irritation from insect bites may also be less painful after using a numbing spray, as can mild cuts. Symptoms from more severe skin problems such as burns or hemorrhoids may also be soothed by these sprays.

Anesthetic medications carry side effects, even though they are not ingested or injected. The risk of these adverse reactions still exists. A user can inadvertently apply too high a dose on his or her skin, if the area of skin application is too large, or if more than the recommended dose is applied. Drugs that a person applies on the skin can move through the skin barrier and into the body as well.

Possible lidocaine side effects include mental confusion, vision issues and irregular heartbeats. With benzocaine, a spray user can experience dizziness, difficulty breathing and other serious issues. Numbing sprays may also be dangerous if someone sprays them into the mouth, throat or eyes, and can even cause a lethal condition where the body cannot circulate enough oxygen. Potentially lethal allergic reactions, though rare, can also occur.

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Discussion Comments

By Ocelot60 — On Dec 19, 2014

@raynbow- Since some people have difficulties swallowing pills, there is an oral numbing spray to make this task easier. This product is usually available in a variety of pleasant flavors like orange and cherry.

Basically you spray this type of numbing spray in your throat to help pills slide down more easily. Just make sure that you never use a numbing spray in your throat or mouth that is not specifically labeled for this purpose.

By Spotiche5 — On Dec 18, 2014

@raynbow- I think that you are referring to numbing spray thatis specifically formulated for sore throats. This type of spray is clearly labeled, and sold in a totally different department than numbing sprays for the skin. Usually you can find it in the cold remedy isle of a pharmacy, grocery, or retail store.

By Raynbow — On Dec 17, 2014

I can understand that numbing sprays that are meant to be used on the skin can cause serious reactions if sprayed in the mouth, but aren't there some numbing sprays made for this purpose?

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