Can You Use EMLA Cream Before Eyebrow Threading?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not EMLA cream can be applied on the eyebrows prior to threading.


Is it okay to use EMLA cream on eyebrows before threading?

Asked by jude On Apr 11, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Apr 11, 2018

EMLA CREAM EYEBROWYes, it is okay to use a small amount of EMLA cream on your eyebrows before threading to numb your skin.  You should watch for side effects and be careful not to get the cream in your eyes.

EMLA cream, which is an acronym for 'Eutectic Mixture of Local Anesthetics', contains two drugs:

  • Lidocaine
  • Prilocaine

Both of lidocaine and prilocaine work in the same way to numb the skin.  

EMLA works best on normal, undamaged skin when it is applied and covered so it doesn’t dry out.  It will have the greatest numbing effect after it has been on the skin for about 1 to 2 hours and the skin will stay numb for 1 to 2 hours after the cream is removed.  However, the skin around the eyes is thinner than the skin on the rest of the body (arms and legs), so the numbing effect will likely happen sooner and not last as long.

You could apply a small amount to your eyebrows a day or two before you get the threading done to see how long it takes for the skin to become numb and how long the numbness lasts.

With EMLA, there is the possibility of it causing:

  • Skin redness
  • Irritation
  • Burning sensation
  • Mild swelling

If redness or irritation occurs, the cream should be immediately washed off and the irritation usually resolves on its own after an hour or two. 

You should be very careful not to get the cream in your eyes because it may cause significant burning and irritation.

More serious allergic reactions can rarely occur and involve severe swelling and difficulty breathing.  If a reaction like this occurs, you should seek medical attention immediately. 


  • EMLA cream is a strong numbing cream that is safe to use on the eyebrows before threading to reduce pain.
  • The cream may take minutes to hours to fully work and the numbness may last for minutes to hours.
  • You should watch for skin reactions like redness each time you apply the cream and be very careful not to get the cream in your eyes.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Hayden Gharibyar

Dr. Hayden Gharibyar is a Doctor of Pharmacy graduate from the University of Colorado. His areas of expertise include pharmacovigilance and drug safety.

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