Emla/Ela max - duration? effectiveness? availability?

Hi again all,

Just wondering ,with ela max or emla, how long they can leave an area like the shoulders or upper back numb for, after removing the cream? I need something to work for THE 2-3 hour multi-probe galvanic sessionS thaT I have ( which I find absolutely unbearably painful), and need something that could keep me numb or significantly lower the pain for the 2-3 hours or so after it is wiped off./…

Is this achievable with either of these products? and what is the best way to go about the whole approach to applying it and removing it ?

also … Doubt I can get a prescriptiOn for EMLA , AND WOULD NOT BE REAL keen to go to a doctor and explain why,etc. ,as well as all the preparatory effort that goes with it but am keen on Ela max ( assuming it would be suitable for the conditions I have described ?)

also : Does anyone know anything about the availability of Ela-max 4 or 5 in australia ? and where best to find it? cost , etc?

thanks in advance to anyone that can offer some solutions to my terrible pain issue with galvanic…

Hi Mrhanky, I do use 16 needle galvanic in my practice along with thermolysis and the blend. The modality depends upon what the client wants or needs. The discomfort is nothing of the pain level you describe. Infact, very little if any discomfort is reported. Could your electrologist make any adjustments to the level of treatment? Perhaps reducing the galvanic and increasing the time? I find for any modality some clients can only tolerate a certain length of time for each treatment. Instead of long treatments, we meet more frequently. Galvanic is very effective. I also like flash thermolysis on male backs. The setting is high but just a fraction of a second. The treatment goes quickly and is tolerable. Before my clients use any numbing cream, I make every effort to find a setting that is comfortable for them but still effective for hair destruction. Those who use creams like both the Emla and Ela Max 5%. I believe Emla must be covered, but Ela Max does not need covering. Many have prescription coverage for drugs and therefore the Emla is quite reasonable to purchase with a precription from a doctor. If you are going to do 3 hour appointments, I might suggest that you apply to the area you can reach. Then before treatment begins ask the electrologist if she will apply the area she will get to next. Or begin without any cream and have electrologist apply cream to area she thinks she can remove. You conserve cream also. Check the internet for Ela Max. I have found it as effective as Emla. Also, I hear of clients taking Advil or prescription pain medication before treatment. We cannot suggest, but they figure it out. If you can stick with the galvanic you will be happy with the results. But, the other modalities work and I would therefore suggest trying several other electrologists if possible. Hope this helps a bit.

Before you resort to the messy undertaking and expense of topicals, would it be possible for your practioner to adjust and balance the intensity and timing settings? This may solve your pain issue.

ElaMax, L-M-X, Ela-Max, all the same product (sort of like Charles, Charlie, Chuck). It comes in 4% or 5% dosages of lidocaine. I would recommend 5%. LMX contains tiny microscopic fats that help to deliver the lidocaine to the nerve endings. You do not need to cover this topical with plastic wrap like you do for EMLA. You can cover it though, so your’re not messing up your clothes or car seat. Prior to applying ElaMax, use only a mild soap (baby soap) and water to clean the area. DO NOT USE ALCOHOL OR ACETONE as they will strip away the natural oil on the skin that is needed to help ElaMAx penetrate the top, tough layer of skin. The medication gets below to the nerves surrounding each hair follicle faster than EMLA. Apply a small amount of cream and massage it gently into the area. Next, apply a thicker layer, so you can not see the surface of the skin. If the cream starts to dry out before work begins, apply a little more cream. It starts to work in 15-30 minutes, however,in some people,it may take a little longer. Duration of numbing is shorter than EMLA, so leave the stuff on an area until you are actually ready to work in that area.

You can contact Ferdale Laboratories in Michigan (USA) at
1-888-548-0900 or sales@ferndalelabs.com

Internet sales www.dermstore.com or www.dermadoctor.com

You can ask your pharmacist for help, too. I don’t know why this product wouldn’t be available down under.

EMLA: You need a thick layer of EMLA, too. Do not spread it out. Just make sure you can’t see the skin surface. Gently place plastic wrap over the medicine. Let it absorb for one hour, two hours if the proceedure is really painful. Duration of effective skin anesthesia will be a least 1 hour after you remove the plastic. It is a good idea to apply to a few separate areas so you can peel off the plastic when you actually start work on a specific area. Keeping the wrap over areas that can’t be worked on immediately, keeps it from metabolizing away, so therefore, numbing is more effective.

AstraZeneca makes the product. Their website is www.astrazeneca-us.com

You can try www.GetCanandianDrugs.com to order EMLA without a prescription???

Good prices on both products varies from $40-$60 for larger tubes.

Some clients have used EMLA and Elamax together at different intervals of time during treatment. Not sure if I like this idea. This stuff is absorbed into the main body stream gradually and it’s only logical not to over do it, especially on larger surface areas.

Some clients get full benefit and some don’t. Be sure to apply it correctly for maximum help. Little details matter,so follow the directions exactly!

Again, ask if some fine-tuning can be done by your practioner, so you you can just go in and start work without all this hoopla.


Thanks very much for your prompt response Dee.
and while Im on it… thanks for all your rapid responses to all the questions that I come up with… It is greatly aPPRECIATED and means a lot to me, not to mention that your assistance and perspective ( as well as the great and fine detail that you go into ) really goes a long way - not only in helping me, but also others that read various posts.

love your stuff,


Hi- I see that some people have posted suggesting that your electrologist can lower the strength- this is good advice, but I believe that for some people, electrolysis i always painful. I am one of these people! (I am amazed at the patients who do 2 hour session without anything!) As low strength as my electrologist goes, I wouldn’t be able to do it wouthout EMLA. Depending on the area I put it on 1 to 2 hours beforehand (bikini, 2 hours; arms- 1-1/2 hours). It does wear off but the pain is still bearable.
As far as being embarraced to ask for a prescription- I imagine the pain of electrolysis is more painful than the embaracement of asking.

My local Costco store (pharmacy) ordered the L-M-X 4% for me. It cost around $25 for a 15 gram tube. In Michigan, you don’t have to be a Costco member to use the pharmacy. My electrologist says fair skinned redheads have the least tolerance to pain. I’m a fair brunette. With the L-M-X on an hour prior, I can handle a 1/2 hour of her doing my eyebrows with minor discomfort. A 1/2 hour of my upper lip is tolerable, but still painful.

I agree 100% that there are people out there who, no matter what they do to numb the pain, are going to feel it - no matter what. Ive used different topicals from my electrologist, as well as what I think she said was some sort of novacaine type gel which dentists use to numb before the insert needles (on the inside of the mouth when she does my lip area) - have taken advil ahead of time, and used a topical my dermatologist gave me (topicaine) to prepare for a laser treatment (not laser for hair - different facial issue), and have also had the heat turned down - it still just plain stings. But, overall, I continually tell myself it IS worth it, just grin and bear it. I have found that if I bring a small towel with me, and basically wring it the whole time, it helps a bit with focus - kind of a mind over matter type thing maybe, but, it helps me anyway. I am not one to succumb to pain, but, Ive got to admit on this one, it hurts! Im really envious of those many people out there that say this doesnt hurt!

If you are having problems with sensation, please make sure that you do everything you can to eliminate things that increase sensitivity.

Eliminate things like caffine, and smoking, be sure to eat right and get good restful sleep, and keep yourself hydrated. Most Americans are dehydrated and malnourished.

All these things make one have a higher sensitivity, while requiring the electrologist to use higher settings on top of the hightened sensitivity.

some great input and advice coming in all over the place…

james: I already have a very healthy diet, carry water with me all the time anyway, never have caffeine or sugar on days of my treatments, have already gone down many increments in the galvanic machine settings , and STILL- the pain is immense , so bad … that every time I wonder how I will bring myself to return in 1 or 2 weeks again , for the same torture.

and I also make sure I get a decent sleep the night before, (although not entirely restful, due to anxiety of thinking about the next day’s treatment)…

surely there is some other alternatiove to this terrible pain - its really torturous



Well Hank, if all that is true, you are my ideal client. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />
I would say that you may want to check out the other practitioners in your area. You would be surprised at the difference a change in technique, machine, and/or skill can make.
I even know of people using the same Electrolysis Machines that I use, who, because they don’t use them the same way don’t have the same lack of sensation that my clients report. This I know from first hand experience. I have clients who have seen other people, and I have had treatment by some who have the same machine, but don’t follow the same techniques.

You really have to see as many people as you can find in your area before settling down with the best one in your area, or deciding to travel for better results.

After all, wouldn’t it be worth it to travel if your travel electrologist got more done, while you slept through your treatments? You would also get finished sooner because you would get more done in a shorter time and all hair would be treated in proper phase.