Does Topical Numbing Affect Laser Hair Removal Results?

I read an article that since it affects the blood vessels and surrounding area, you do not get as good of results. I have had it both ways with significant time in between and feel like it is true for me, and makes sense, but I also used different types of lasers. I would like to know what other doctors think. I also do not feel it really helped with comfort that much, more of a mental thing.

Doctor Answers 6

Numbing Cream and Laser Hair Removal

Thank you for your question. I prefer to avoid the numbing creams for a number of reasons.  Firstly, the cream is white, and this is typically a barrier to light absorption if not all of it is removed.  Secondly, the systemic absorption is a concern if used on a large enough area of the body.  On the upper lip, no problem and very safe.  However, entire legs should never be done, and there have been reports of death. Make certain you are being supervised by a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon during your series for best results and safe treatments. I hope this helps.

Bay Area Dermatologist
3.9 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Laser hair removal and numbing cream

The numbing cream may constrict blood vessels but the lasers used for hair removal target pigment, not blood vessels, so the cream does not affect the results of the laser.  Make sure you do not apply numbing cream to large areas since it can be absorbed and cause problems.  The LightSheer DUET laser has a vacuum that pulls up the skin just before the pulse.  It is more effective for hair removal and more comfortable so numbing cream is not necessary.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Numbing cream for laser hair removal treatments

We routinely use topical numbing cream for laser hair removal treatments without any reduction in efficacy. Some numbing creams are much more effective than others so make sure you are getting one that really works. We use a topical anesthetic ointment containing Lidocaine, Prilocaine and Phenylephrine which works well if you give it enough time before your treatment. However, it should not be used on larger areas and should only be applied in the doctor's office.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Topical Numbing Cream and Laser Hair Removal

The numbing cream should not influence the effectiveness of your procedure.  However the type of laser that is used is definitely important.  Please go to a reputable Dermatologist or other health care provider for your treatment.

Sheri G. Feldman, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Topical anesthesia and laser hair removal

Laser hair removal works by targeting pigment in the hair and has nothing to do with blood flow.  Topical anesthesia does not negatively impact the treatment at all.  Be sure you are seeing an MD if you are not getting the results you anticipate.  

Jacqueline Calkin, MD
Sacramento Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Numbing cream for laser hair removal

Numbing cream should not affect the efficacy of the laser hair removal treatment. Laser targets the pigment in the hair root and even small amount of blood vessel constriction from the numbing cream does not reduce the efficacy.  Make sure you go to a reputable laser hair removal clinic supervised by a physician such as dermatologist.

Anatoli Freiman, MD, FRCPC, Toronto Dermatology Centre

Anatoli Freiman, MD
Toronto Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.