Cosmetic procedures such as laser hair removal or ear piercing sometimes can be very painful. Numbing gels temporarily desensitise skin and make the process more comfortable. Also called topical anaesthetics, these gels also relieve muscle pain. Though widely available in chemists’ shops, numbing gels are simple to make at home. They use herbs and spices with analgesic – pain relieving – properties.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Aloe vera plant
- Cutting board
- Cup for measuring
- 1 500 mg Vitamin C tablet per 60 millilitres (¼ cup) of gel
- 1 400 IU Vitamin E capsule per 60 ml (¼ cup) of gel
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, sweet paprika, or turmeric per 60 ml (¼ cup) of gel
- 1 tablespoon
- 1 fork
- Container with lid
Cut off a large aloe vera leaf close to the base of the plant. Lay it on a cutting board and use the knife to slice it lengthways in half. Use the tablespoon to scrape away the gel inside the leaf. Scoop up the gel and place it in the cup to measure the amount. Place the gel into the container.
Determine the amount of vitamins C and E to mix with the gel. Use the proportions of one 500 mg vitamin C tablet and one 400 IU vitamin E capsule per 60 ml (¼ cup) of gel. Use the side of the knife to crush the vitamin C tablet. Use the fork to mix the powder with the gel in the container. Squeeze the vitamin E oil from the capsule and mix that with the gel. Stir well until everything mixes uniformly and no clumps remain. The vitamins act to stabilise the gel.
Use this gel for gentle pain relief. Apply every six or seven hours to the affected area. It soothes the pain and can regenerate the skin. Continue to the next step to make a stronger numbing gel.
Stir in a ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper per 60 ml (¼ cup) of gel for a stronger numbing mixture. Blend the mixture until it is completely smooth. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin that can relieve muscle pain, flavour food, and act as an anti-fungal agent.
Test a little of the gel on the forearm skin for signs of irritation. Some people are allergic to capsaicin. Dilute with more aloe vera gel if it feels too strong. Substitute the same proportion of sweet paprika powder or turmeric into the aloe vera gel for a cooler numbing. Sweet paprika has a lower concentration of capsaicin. Turmeric contains curcumin that can also relieve pain. Screw on the container lid and store the gel in the fridge.
Tips and warnings
- Buy prepared aloe vera gel from chemists or health food shops. Ensure that the gel is clear as colorants may irritate the skin.
- Avoid applying the gel to an open wound or sore. Stop using the gel immediately if a rash appears.
- Add eight drops of peppermint or eucalyptus essential oils to 60 ml (¼-cup) of aloe vera gel and mix well for a medium strength numbing gel.
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