Info hub

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about Emla and more.

Info hub

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about Emla and more.

Emla Cream

For topical anaesthesia of the skin. Always read the label.

About Emla

What is Emla Cream?

Emla is a numbing cream, also known as a topical anaesthetic.

What is Emla numbing cream used for?

Emla can be used to numb the skin before medical needle procedures, tattoo application or removal, and certain cosmetic procedures involving needles or lasers. Emla is suitable to be used by adults and children of any age, from full term birth.

When should Emla be applied and how long does the numbing last?

Emla needs to be applied about an hour in advance of the procedure to allow its numbing effect to work. If using Emla on your face, numbing may occur more quickly (approx. 30-60 mins). After Emla cream is removed, numbing usually lasts for at least 2 hours (this time may be shorter if using Emla on your face).

What does Emla contain?

Emla contains two active ingredients, lidocaine and prilocaine, both of which are numbing substances. These active ingredients create Emla’s numbing effect. Emla also contains macrogolglycerol hydroxystearate, carbomer 974P, sodium hydroxide and purified water.

Does Emla have side effects?

Like all medicines, Emla can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. A mild reaction (paleness or redness of the skin, slight puffiness, initial burning or itching) may occur on the area on which Emla is used. This is normal and will disappear in a short while. Before using Emla, always check the Patient Information Leaflet and follow the instructions provided. If you experience any troublesome or unusual effects while you are using Emla, stop using it and check with your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible.

Side effects should be reported. Reporting forms and information can be found at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard. Side effects can also be reported to Aspen Medical Information. Contact us via email: aspenmedinfo@professionalinformation.co.uk or by telephone: 01748 828391.

UK-LIDP-00022. April 2020

UK-LIDP-00022. April 2020

Emla & Tattoos

Can I use Emla to numb the skin before a tattoo?

Yes. Emla is indicated for use prior to needle procedures. This includes tattoos, which are applied to the skin with needles. Please note, Emla should be applied about an hour in advance of your procedure.

Can I use Emla to numb the skin before removing a tattoo?

Yes. Emla is indicated for use prior to laser procedures. This includes laser procedures used to remove tattoos.

I’m planning a large tattoo, how much Emla should I use?

The 30g tube is suitable for numbing larger areas of skin. You should not use more than 60g of Emla (or two 30g tubes) during one tattoo session.

My tattoo is likely to take several hours to apply, how long will Emla last?

Emla’s numbing effect usually lasts at least 2 hours, so bear this in mind if you are planning a large/intricate tattoo or have a longer tattoo appointment. Remember, Emla usually takes about 1 hour to get to work, so make sure you apply it in advance. Emla can be left on the skin for up to 5 hours.

Can I reapply Emla during my tattoo session?

Emla should always be applied about 1 hour in advance of your tattoo session. Emla should never be applied to broken skin (i.e. to areas where needles have already pierced the skin).

My tattoo is going to cover quite a large area of skin, what sort of dressing should I use?

Cover Emla cream with an air-tight, water-tight dressing or plastic wrap, so the active ingredients absorb into the skin and do not get wiped off. If the area to be numbed is too large for a dressing, some people cover the skin with cling film.

Will using Emla affect the application of my tattoo in any way?

Emla is used by many people to numb the skin before tattoo application. Check in advance with your tattooist if you have any concerns.

My pharmacist is not sure if Emla should be used for tattoos, what should I do?

Emla is available without prescription from the pharmacy counter in-store or from UK-registered online pharmacies. Pharmacists must oversee all purchases of Emla and apply their own professional judgment as to the suitability of the medicine for each person. In general, Emla is indicated for use prior to needle or laser procedures. Tattoo application and removal are just examples of the needle or laser procedures that Emla may be used for.

I’m having difficulty obtaining Emla in-store from a pharmacy, where else can I buy it?

You can have Emla delivered to your door by buying online from the UK-registered pharmacies listed on our website – visit www.emla.co.uk/where-to-buy/

UK-LIDP-00055. April 2020

UK-LIDP-00055. April 2020

Emla & Cosmetic Procedures

Can I use Emla to numb the skin before a cosmetic procedure?

Yes. Emla is for use prior to cosmetic procedures that involve needles or lasers. This includes procedures such as cosmetic injections, microblading, microneedling and laser hair removal.

I’m having a cosmetic procedure on my face, when should I apply Emla?

Emla usually takes about an hour to get to work, but it may be quicker (approx. 30-60 mins) on the face.

Will my practitioner give me the option to apply Emla in the clinic or should I apply it at home?

This may vary depending on the procedure and the clinic. If you know you want to use Emla, it is worth checking with your practitioner in advance of your appointment.

How long does Emla’s numbing effect last?

Emla's numbing effect usually lasts at least 2 hours, so bear this in mind if you have a longer cosmetic appointment. The numbing effect can be a shorter duration when used on the face.

I’m about to have a laser hair removal procedure on my legs, how much Emla should I use?

The 30g tube is suitable for numbing larger areas of skin. You should not use more than 60g of Emla (or two 30g tubes) during one laser hair removal session.

What sort of dressing should I use to cover Emla before a cosmetic procedure?

Cover Emla cream with an air-tight, water-tight dressing or plastic wrap, so the active ingredients absorb into the skin and do not get wiped off. If the area to be numbed is too large for a dressing, some people cover the skin with cling film.

Is it ok to use Emla around the eye area?

Do not use Emla in or near the eyes. You can use Emla in the general vicinity of the eyes, but you must avoid getting Emla in your eyes as it may irritate. If this happens, immediately rinse well with lukewarm water or salt solution and be careful to protect your eye until feeling returns.

Is it OK to use Emla around the mouth?

Emla can be applied to the skin around the mouth and the skin of the lips. Please note Emla should not be applied in the mouth and should not be swallowed.

My pharmacist is not sure if Emla should be used for cosmetic procedures, what should I do?

Emla is available without prescription from the pharmacy counter in-store or from UK-registered online pharmacies. Pharmacists must oversee all purchases of Emla and apply their own professional judgment as to the suitability of the medicine for each person. In general, Emla is for use prior to needle or laser procedures, including use on the face. Cosmetic procedures such as cosmetic injections, microblading, micro-needling and laser hair removal are just examples of the needle or laser procedures that Emla may be used for. If in doubt, check with your practitioner before use.

I’m having difficulty obtaining Emla in-store from a pharmacy, where else can I buy it?

You can have Emla delivered to your door by buying online from the UK-registered pharmacies listed on our website – visit www.emla.co.uk/where-to-buy/

UK-LIDP-00057. April 2020

UK-LIDP-00057. April 2020

Emla & Medical Procedures

What medical needle procedures is Emla used for?

Medical needle procedures include injections, childhood immunisations, vaccinations, blood tests or cannula (drip) insertion e.g. for dialysis or intravenous treatment.

Can Emla be used before minor skin surgeries?

Emla has been used before a range of minor skin surgeries including removal of warts and mollusca, and for skin biopsies. However, as procedures vary, it is best to discuss with your Doctor first.

Can Emla be used before all medical injections?

Emla has been used for over 20 years in the UK prior to the injection of many different medicines. However, please discuss with your Doctor or Pharmacist if you are concerned about a specific medicine.

Does Emla cream affect the effectiveness of vaccines?

Clinical studies involving a range of different vaccines (including measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diptheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, haemophilus influenzae B, hepatitis B) have examined whether using Emla impacts the effectiveness of childhood immunisations. The studies consistently showed that Emla did not reduce the protection achieved from any of the vaccines tested, nor did it affect the speed or extent of the immunity provided by vaccines.

Can Emla help with my fear of needles?

Emla Cream eases the pain of needle procedures by numbing the skin. By acting to reduce needle pain, Emla Cream may make it easier for people with needle fears and phobias to overcome their anxiety when facing needle procedures.

UK-LIDP-00054. April 2020

UK-LIDP-00054. April 2020

Emla & Children

What is the correct dose / amount of Emla for my child?

The amount of Emla to use varies according to the age of your child and the procedure they are undergoing. Please check the Patient Information Leaflet and follow the instructions provided for the age of your child.

For how long should I leave Emla on my child’s skin?

The length of time varies according to the age of your child and the procedure they are undergoing. Please check the Patient Information Leaflet and follow the instructions provided for the age of your child. If your child is less than one year old, the cream should not be left on for more than an hour.

How do I measure the correct dose / amount of Emla?

Emla is measured in grams. Two grams of cream is approximately half of a five gram tube.

Can I use Emla Cream on more than one area of the skin?

Yes, Emla can be applied to multiple areas of skin, so long as you do not exceed the maximum total amount of cream and area of coverage specified for the age of your child in the Patient Information Leaflet.

UK-LIDP-00053. April 2020

UK-LIDP-00053. April 2020

Buying Genuine Numbing Cream

Where can I buy Emla?

Emla can be bought without a prescription in pharmacy stores & from UK-registered online pharmacies.

What is the difference between Emla and other numbing creams advertised online?

Emla numbing cream is licensed as a medicine by the UK regulatory authority for sale in the UK. All online pharmacy links from the Emla.co.uk website will take you to legitimate UK registered pharmacies who will supply genuine Emla.

Unfortunately, there are many unlicensed and fake medicines advertised for sale online to UK customers and numbing creams are no exception. Such products are sometimes sold through online retailers who are not UK registered pharmacies or may be found through search engines. The adverts or websites may look authentic but are often not legitimate.

Why should I be concerned about fake or unlicensed numbing creams?

Unlicensed products or fake medicines are not regulated so there are no checks in place to assess the safety of manufacturing, what they contain nor to control the claims they make. Such products might contain too much or too little active ingredients, may not even state what the active ingredients are, or could contain no active ingredients, all of which could be harmful to your health. Always make sure that you buy a numbing cream that is licensed for sale in the UK.

What is the difference between a licensed and unlicensed product?

By UK law, before a medicine can be marketed it must be granted a licence by the UK medicines regulator, the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency). The MHRA has specially trained medicines assessors who review all the evidence for the product and will only grant a licence once satisfied that the medicine meets high standards of safety, quality and efficacy. The MHRA also inspect the factory where the medicine is to be made to make sure that supplies will be of a high standard. Monitoring by the MHRA continues throughout the time that the licensed medicine is available.

In contrast, unlicensed products will not have been evaluated by the regulator, no checks will have been made on the factories where they are made and there is no guarantee of which ingredients they contain. Such products could be poor quality at best or dangerous to your health at worst.

Do all numbing creams need to be licensed as medicines?

Yes, the MHRA defines that all topical anaesthetics which are applied to numb the sensation of pain (e.g. lidocaine and prilocaine) prior to carrying out medical and nonmedical procedures (including cosmetic and tattoo procedures) are legally categorised as medicines and need to be registered as such.

How can I tell if a product is legitimate?

Numbing creams contain active ingredients which need to be assessed to meet the quality and efficacy standards needed to be licensed as a medicine from the UK regulatory authority. Legitimate products will meet the following criteria;

  • A Product Licence number is on the box and tube
  • A Patient Information Leaflet is inside the box
  • The manufacturer’s address / contact details are on the box and in the Patient Information Leaflet and these details are traceable
  • An expiry date and batch / lot number is printed on the box and tube

Products bought from UK-registered online pharmacies or recognised pharmacy stores will be legitimate. If any product does not meet the criteria above it may be unlicenced or fake.

How can I tell if a product is unlicensed or fake?

Fake / unregulated products are often missing key information and may have substandard packaging. If you have bought it from a UK-registered Pharmacy online or in-store, then it will be fine. Fake or unregulated products are often missing the key information listed in the question above this one, or they may have substandard packaging or spelling errors.

Why does Emla have to be bought from a pharmacy?

Emla is legally categorised as a 'Pharmacy Medicine'. Therefore, it can only be sold without prescription from pharmacy stores or UK-registered online pharmacies. This is because the active ingredients in Emla require the involvement of a pharmacist in the authorisation of sale. If you choose to buy Emla in a UK pharmacy store you will be asked a few questions to ensure it is suitable for you and if you choose to buy online you will need to complete a short questionnaire.

How can I buy numbing cream safely online?

If you’re buying online, you should only purchase numbing cream via a UK-registered online pharmacy. You can also look for the voluntary internet pharmacy logo shown below - this can usually be found in the footer of their webpage. All online pharmacy links from the Emla.co.uk website will take you to legitimate UK registered pharmacies.

 

UK-LIDP-00056. April 2020

UK-LIDP-00056. April 2020

UK-LIDP-04-20-00001. April 2020