Topical anesthetics have been used in electrolysis for many years. Although they provide varying degrees of anesthesia, their main hurdle to is the skin barrier. Our skin has a great protective function tending to limit the amount of many chemicals(drugs) from passing through it. The most common topical anesthetics used in electrolysis are: *Lidocaine, *Benzocaine, *Tetracaine, *Prilocaine and Pramoxine.
Topical anesthetics are absorbed very well from mucous surfaces explaining the rapid and significant anesthesia obtained when they are applied to the mucous surface of the upper lip. On normal dry skin, absorption is decreased resulting in less anesthesia. More recently a prescription-only topical anesthetic called EMLA(lidocaine and prilocaine) has become available which is quite effective although not inexpensive.