Do Lip Fillers Hurt With Numbing Cream – Pain Management

Medically Reviewed
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aurora Kalmanson on
Written by Fillers Editorial Team, plastic surgery specialists.

When it comes to enhancing one’s appearance with lip fillers, a common concern is the associated pain. Fortunately, the use of numbing cream significantly reduces the discomfort during the procedure.

While the lips are inherently sensitive, numbing agents such as lidocaine or a dental block can be applied beforehand, minimizing any sharp sensations to a mild pinch or sting. Additionally, many lip fillers contain lidocaine to further ease the process. Post-treatment, some minor swelling and tenderness can occur, but these effects are generally manageable. The goal is to provide a comfortable experience, leading to the luscious lips you desire without the deterrence of pain.

Numbing Cream for Lip Fillers

The use of numbing cream has revolutionized the experience of receiving lip fillers by significantly reducing the associated discomfort. This very important pre-treatment step helps ensure a more comfortable process for patients.

How Numbing Cream Works

Active Ingredients (Lidocaine, Benzocaine, Tetracaine): The effectiveness of numbing creams comes from their active ingredients, most notably lidocaine, benzocaine, and tetracaine. These agents work by temporarily blocking the nerve signals in the area where the cream is applied. Lidocaine is particularly favored for its rapid onset and effectiveness. Benzocaine and tetracaine complement the numbing effect, each with its unique properties, contributing to a more comprehensive approach to pain management. When combined, these ingredients provide a powerful and efficient way to numb the lips before proceeding with fillers, facilitating a nearly pain-free experience for most patients.

Mechanism of Action: The primary mechanism of action of numbing creams, which are key to pain management during lip fillers, lies in their ability to block neuronal signal transmission. Active anesthetic components such as lidocaine, benzocaine, and tetracaine act on the nerve endings and along the nerve pathways to hinder the conduction of pain signals. By doing so, they prevent the brain from perceiving the sensations typically associated with needle injections. Lidocaine, for instance, stabilizes the neuronal membrane by inhibiting the ionic fluxes required for the initiation and conduction of impulses, thereby creating an anesthetic effect. This blockade does not last indefinitely but provides sufficient numbing during the crucial phases of lip enhancement procedures.

Benefits of Using Numbing Cream for Lip Fillers

Reduced Pain and Discomfort During Injections: The significant reduction in pain and discomfort is one of the foremost benefits of using numbing cream for lip filler injections. By dulling the nerve endings in the lips, numbing creams help patients undergo the cosmetic procedure with little to no pain, making it a much more bearable experience. Without the distraction of discomfort, patients are better able to relax, and the reduced anxiety often contributes to a smoother overall procedure. This benefit is particularly advantageous for those with low pain thresholds or those who harbor a fear of needles.

Improved Patient Comfort and Experience: Beyond simply mitigating physical discomfort, the application of numbing cream before lip fillers enhances the overall patient experience. With pain substantially diminished, patients can feel more at ease and assured about the procedure. A positive experience not only contributes to greater patient satisfaction but also encourages sticking to follow-up sessions where necessary and fosters trust in the practitioner’s care. Anesthetic creams thus serve to improve not only the procedural outcome but also the psychological comfort of patients seeking cosmetic enhancements.

Types of Numbing Creams Used for Lip Fillers

Topical Anesthetic Creams: Topical anesthetic creams form the cornerstone of pre-procedural numbing strategies in aesthetic practices. These creams are designed to be applied directly onto the skin and are formulated to penetrate through to the dermal layers where lip filler needles will be inserted. The creams are generally composed of a combination of anesthetics for optimal numbing, which can include lidocaine, tetracaine, or benzocaine, among others. These anesthetics in the creams provide temporary loss of sensation, allowing for a comfortable and painless treatment experience.

Dental Nerve Blocks: An alternative to topical creams, dental nerve blocks offer profound lip numbing through injections of anesthetic solutions. These localized blocks target the specific nerves that transmit sensation from the lips, delivering an immediate loss of sensation over the entire mouth area. Dental blocks are particularly effective for individuals who may not achieve the desired level of numbness from creams alone. Despite the initial discomfort associated with receiving the anesthetic injection, the duration and depth of numbness achieved make this method a suitable option for more extensive lip filler treatments.

Application and Onset Time of Numbing Cream

Pre-Treatment Application: The application of numbing cream is a crucial preparatory step in the lip filler process. The cream is typically applied generously across the lip area approximately 20 to 30 minutes before the procedure. The exact timing can vary based on the specific product used, as some formulations may require a longer period to take full effect. To ensure the cream penetrates the skin effectively, it is usually covered with a plastic wrap, which aids in heat retention and enhances absorption. It’s vital for patients to adhere to the specified timing, as applying the cream too late could result in insufficient numbing during the early stages of the treatment.

Duration of Numbness: After application, numbing creams can maintain their effect for roughly 30 minutes to a few hours, allowing ample time for most lip filler procedures to be completed with minimal discomfort. The duration of numbness varies based on the strength and formulation of the anesthetic cream and the individual patient’s skin characteristics. To maintain optimal comfort, clinicians may manage the timing of the filler injections to coincide with the peak effect of the numbing cream, ensuring that the sensation remains minimized throughout the entire treatment.

Pre-Treatment Recommendations for Reducing Pain and Bruising

Avoiding Blood Thinners (Alcohol, Ibuprofen, etc.): To mitigate bruising and bleeding risks associated with lip fillers, patients are advised to avoid consuming blood-thinning substances such as alcohol, ibuprofen, aspirin, and certain herbal supplements for at least one week before the procedure. These agents can increase the tendency to bleed, which not only elevates the potential for bruising but may also lead to more pronounced swelling. By steering clear of these substances, the blood’s clotting ability remains intact, thereby reducing the chances of these unwanted side effects. Practitioners typically provide a complete list of substances to avoid ahead of time, reinforcing the importance of this step in pre-procedure care.

Timing of Treatment (Avoiding Menstrual Cycle): The timing of a lip filler appointment can be very important in managing discomfort and sensitivity. For many individuals, pain tolerance is influenced by hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle, with a lower threshold reported in the days leading up to and during menstruation. Scheduling the lip filler treatment outside of this time frame can be beneficial in minimizing pain perception and also managing inflammation. Moreover, some may experience increased swelling or bruising during their menstrual cycle, so picking a date outside of this period can help in achieving a more comfortable and effective treatment outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal to feel pain during lip filler injections?

Some discomfort during lip filler injections is normal, but it is typically well-managed with numbing creams and precise injection techniques.

How long does the numbness from numbing cream last?

Numbness from numbing cream usually lasts for about 30 minutes to a few hours after application, depending on the product used.

Can I apply numbing cream myself before the treatment?

Numbing cream should ideally be applied by your practitioner to ensure proper coverage and timing before the procedure.

Are there any risks or side effects associated with numbing cream?

Side effects from numbing cream are rare but can include allergic reactions or skin irritation. Always ensure it's applied as advised by a healthcare professional.

Are there any alternatives to numbing cream for reducing pain during lip fillers?

Other alternatives include ice, vibration anesthesia, dental nerve blocks, and using fillers that contain lidocaine.


Lip fillers, with appropriate pain management strategies in place, can be a well-tolerated cosmetic procedure aimed at enhancing lip volume and shape. By carefully following pre- and post-treatment recommendations, using numbing cream, and selecting an experienced practitioner, patients can maximize comfort and satisfaction with their results. Although individual experiences may vary, most patients find the procedure to be worthwhile, with manageable discomfort and temporary side effects. With ongoing advancements in technique and products, the field of lip fillers continues to offer promising options for those seeking aesthetic improvements.

Was this article helpful?



Cohen, J. L., & Gold, M. H. (2014). Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of a lidocaine and tetracaine (7%/7%) cream for induction of local dermal anesthesia for facial soft tissue augmentation with hyaluronic Acid.

Smith, L., & Cockerham, K. (2011). Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers: can adjunctive lidocaine improve patient satisfaction without decreasing efficacy or duration?

Dr. Aurora Kalmanson

Always Consult a Medical Specialist

The information provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as personalized medical advice. It's crucial to understand that while we are medical professionals, the insights and advice we provide are based on general research and studies. They are not tailored to individual health needs or conditions. Thus, it is essential to consult directly with a healthcare provider who can offer personalized medical advice relevant to your specific situation.