Common over-the-counter numbing creams include methyl salicylate, lidocaine, benzocaine and tetracaine. The main ingredient in popular muscle rubs, methyl salicylate contains heating and cooling agents that warm and cool aching muscles. Lidocaine, benzocaine and tetracaine are topical numbing agents commonly used by doctors and dentists during procedures.
While lidocaine and other similar numbing agents are available over the counter, they are not as strong as those administered by health professionals. Popular creams with these ingredients are used to treat bumps and irritation caused by shaving and other hair removal methods. Since the overuse of numbing agents pose severe health consequences, CNNhealth advises they should be used sparingly.