Lidocaine is a widely used anesthetic for piercers. It can be injected but not used as a spray. When used as an oral spray for piercing, its effects last for around 20-30 minutes, making it a short-term anesthetic.
While a piercing is undoubtedly painful, most people turn to numbing agents to make the experience more bearable. Piercers have several options for numbing agents to help ease the pain.
In this blog post, we'll explore the various types of numbing agents used in piercing, the factors that affect their efficacy, the risks and safety concerns associated with their use, and some alternative pain management techniques.
What Do Piercers Use to Numb: 3 Types
To address this issue, piercers commonly use a range of numbing agents like Dr. Numb to make the piercing process as comfortable as possible for their clients. These agents can be applied topically, injected directly into the skin, or taken orally, depending on the desired effect and the client's particular needs.
Here are the three main numbing creams used in piercing, along with some essential facts and benefits about each one:
Topical Numbing Agents
These creams, sprays, or gels, like Dr. Numb, are applied directly to the skin before piercing. One typical example is lidocaine cream, which can provide most clients with fast and effective pain relief.
Topical numbing agents are easy to apply and can provide quick relief from discomfort. They are particularly effective for surface piercings or other procedures that don't require deep needle penetration.
Topical numbing agents need to be applied at least 30 minutes before the piercing to be fully effective. They may not work as well on thicker areas of skin, such as cartilage or nipples.
Injectable Numbing Agents
These medications are injected directly into the skin to relieve deeper and longer-lasting pain. Lidocaine injections are a common type of injectable numbing agent used in piercing.
Injecting numbing agents allows for more precise targeting of the pain receptors in the skin. This method can provide longer-lasting relief than topical agents, and is often necessary for more complex or sensitive piercings.
Injectable numbing agents must be administered by a trained professional and require a health history screening to ensure they are safe to use. They may cause some initial discomfort or swelling at the injection site.
Oral Numbing Agents
These medications are taken orally, usually as a lozenge or tablet, to provide a more general numbing effect throughout the body. Benzocaine lozenges are a typical example of an oral numbing agent used in piercing.
Oral numbing agents can be convenient for clients uncomfortable with needles or injections. They can provide a more generalized sense of relaxation throughout the body, which can help to reduce anxiety and pain.
Oral numbing agents can take up to 30 minutes to become effective, disadvantaging clients who want immediate pain relief. They may also cause some side effects, such as drowsiness or dizziness.
Piercer's Numbing Agents: 4 Factors that Affect Efficacy
Effective pain management is crucial in body piercings for both piercers and clients. Numbing agents can minimize discomfort and anxiety, resulting in a smoother and less traumatic experience. The efficacy of these agents may vary based on several factors.
Location of the Piercing
- Certain body areas may be more sensitive than others, making it more challenging to provide adequate pain relief.
- Areas with high nerve density, such as the nipples or genitalia, may require a more potent numbing or combination of agents.
Individual Pain Tolerance
- Pain tolerance varies from person to person, and some may require more numbing than others to achieve satisfactory results.
- Age, gender, and medical conditions may affect an individual's pain threshold.
Type of Numbing Agent Used
- Different types of numbing agents have varying degrees of efficacy and duration.
- Creams or gels applied topically may be less effective for deeper piercings than local anesthetic injections.
Adequate Application and Dose
- Proper application and dosage of numbing agents ensure effectiveness and safety.
- A licensed and experienced piercer should follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines for applying numbing agents.
Uses of Piercers to Numb: Risks and Safety Concerns
While numbing agents can help reduce the pain and discomfort of a piercing, it is essential to understand their risks and safety concerns. Below are some critical chances and safety concerns to consider:
One of the primary risks of numbing agents is the possibility of allergic reactions. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe and can be life-threatening if left untreated. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of an allergic reaction, which may include:
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Hives, itchy rash, or redness on the skin.
- Nausea or vomiting.
Allergies are not common, but they can occur. Immediately seek medical attention if you experience any of the above symptoms after using a numbing agent.
Another significant potential danger of numbing agents is nerve damage. Numbing agents work by blocking pain signals, but they can also interfere with nerve function. This can lead to a range of complications, including:
- Reduced sensation in the affected area.
- Tingling or numbness.
- Weakness or loss of control in the affected area.
The risk of nerve damage is relatively low, but it is crucial to limit the use of these agents to recommended dosages and be aware of the potential risks.
Overuse and Exceeding Recommended Doses
Finally, it is essential to remember that numbing agents should only be used as directed. Overuse or exceeding recommended doses can lead to severe complications, including:
- Respiratory depression.
Exceeding the recommended dose will not likely result in increased pain relief. Instead, it increases the risk of adverse effects without providing any additional benefits.
Piercer's Numbing Methods: 4 Alternatives
While numbing agents are commonly used to minimize discomfort during the piercing process, some individuals may prefer to explore alternative options. We will look at several alternatives to numbing agents known to relieve pain.
Distraction techniques are one of the most effective ways to take your mind off the pain of a piercing. By focusing your attention on something other than the piercing, you can reduce your anxiety and decrease the discomfort you feel. Some of the most popular distraction techniques include:
- Listening to music: Playing your favorite songs can help distract you from the sensation of the needle piercing your skin. Additionally, the rhythm of the music can promote deep breathing, which can help reduce feelings of pain and anxiety.
- Deep breathing exercises: Focusing on your breath can significantly reduce the intensity of the pain you feel during a piercing. By taking deep breaths, you can oxygenate your body and promote relaxation, both of which can help you tolerate the discomfort of the piercing.
Another option for reducing piercing pain is to use cold compresses. Applying something cold to the area can help numb the skin and reduce inflammation, minimizing discomfort. Some popular methods of using cold compresses during a piercing include:
- Ice packs: Placing an ice pack on the area of the skin where the piercing will be can help reduce inflammation and numb the area.
- Frozen peas: Another option is to take a bag of frozen peas and wrap it in a cloth. Applying this to the area before and after the piercing can help to reduce pain and swelling.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical practice that involves the insertion of needles into specific points of the body. While using needles to reduce pain may seem counter-intuitive, acupuncture is an effective pain management tool. Some benefits of using acupuncture during a piercing include:
- Minimizing anxiety: Acupuncture can promote relaxation and reduce stress, making piercing more tolerable.
- Reducing inflammation: By stimulating the body's natural healing response, acupuncture can help reduce inflammation and promote faster healing.
- Reducing pain: Many people find that acupuncture helps to block pain signals, making it an effective alternative to numbing agents.
Many herbal remedies have been used for centuries to reduce pain and promote healing. Some of the most popular options for managing piercing pain include:
- Lavender oil: Lavender oil is a natural relaxant that can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Applying a few drops of lavender oil to the area before piercing can help ease discomfort.
- Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea is known for its calming properties and promotes relaxation. Drinking a cup of chamomile tea before your piercing can ease your discomfort.
Numbing agents are a popular option for pain management during piercing procedures. Depending on the location, pain tolerance, and preference, the piercer will decide which numbing agent to use. There are also alternative pain management options that you can consider and discuss with your piercer.
While numbing agents are generally safe, it's essential to be aware of their risks. It's critical to do your research and have an open and honest discussion with your piercer before deciding on a pain management option. Ultimately, you must decide what option is best for you and what will ensure your comfort during the piercing procedure.