Benzocaine vs. lidocaine

I noticed in the topical pain reduction page most the products use lidocaine.

Looking at products at the local stores, all the products have benzocaine

What is the difference and which is better for pain reduction?



Benzocaine is usually found in products for sunburn and sore gums. Lidocaine is usually hard to find in over-the-counter products, because it is much stronger and causes anesthesia deeper in the skin.

For hair removal, a benzocaine product probably won’t cut it. It acts fast, but the relief is superficial and short.

Creative Technologies created a topical over the counter pain reliever with a 4% lidocaine encapsualated in lipisomes for the Sona Laser Centers. The lipisomes deliver the lidocaine through the barrier of the skin and we have found it to be the most effective pain reliever on the market. Creative just began marketing the topical under the name Sonacaine through laser hair removal centers around the country.

For an over-the-counter product, I recommmend asking your pharmacist about ELA-Max by Ferndale Laboratories. Very effectuve for many, although pain is a highly subjective issue and results cannot be guaramnjteed.

Can we buy Sonacaine anywhere?

If one gives the name of the product and the company that makes it, your local drug store can order it, if they don’t carry it already.

You may want to get quotes from many stores however, because the cost of these products will vary wildly. I have found LMX prices to rang from $90 to $150 in the same city for a product that I could provide for my clients for less than that by ordering it for them.

EM LA Available in market is very good surface anesthesia & can be used two hours before actual procedure.It is really effective,provided you rub it well. Practically does not have any local side effects except in few cases

i don’t want to double post, but i already made a thread in the wrong section about the same topic.

so would lidocaine 4% be more effective than benzocaine 20%?

thanks in advance.

If used in too great of quantities lidocaine can be fatal. What are you using it for and what are you having done. Medical professionals have access to preperations we do not.

My experience with OTC, it has to stay wet not dry out. It is gone in 2 hours

These products only work well if they can penetrate low enough in the hair follicle where the bundle of nerves are that surround the follicle. It’s a crapshoot for some who try topical anesthetic’s.

The newer generation of professional epilators offer pretty darn comfortable/tolerable levels that will still devastate the hair growing tissue so that one really doesn’t need topicals at all when being treated.


I have been using Emla which is lidocaine 2.5% and prilocaine 2.5%. I found that if you apply it for an hour with the occlusion layer of saran wrap it does work.
It is messy though so you need to wipe it off well with
paper towels prior to your electrolyis treatment. I find the numbing effect wears off after about an hour.

Once someone recommended a specially compounded mixture which had much stronger concentrations of anesthetics. It was thick and sticky and did not get absorbed as readily into the skin as Emla. The Emla actually worked better.

I agree with not using extra strong compounds over too large a body area, since some deaths have occurred by doing that.