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How can I deal with pain from a cosmetic treatment?

The reality is that some treatments do hurt: Lip-plumping injections, for instance, often elicit white knuckles. Fear can make it all worse, which may account for a lot of the variations in how much true pain different people feel.

If you really want to try something and you’re really painphobic, try learning some self-hypnosis techniques.

However, there are a slew of simpler ways.
  • First off, pain thresholds vary from day to day, especially in women. We’re usually most sensitive right around menstruation. So don’t schedule treatments just before and during your period.
  • When you make the appointment, ask if you can take a painkiller ahead of time. Explain that you’re sensitive and scared. The doctor may advise you to take acetaminophen half an hour prior to your visit (but not aspirin or another NSAID, as they may increase bruising).
  • When you arrive, ask about numbing agents. These can range from simple ice packs to spray anesthesia, numbing creams, lidocaine, among others. Lots of choices.
  • Embrace distractions! They can help more than you’d think. Depending on the person, I give patients a stress ball or two to squeeze, have my assistant hold their hand, use talkesthesia—telling stories, jokes, asking about jobs, kids, vacations, or anything that shifts their attention away from the treatment.

Of course, if you’re having something fairly intense done, from laser resurfacing your whole face to filling in multiple deep creases, you’re going to need more aggressive pain prevention. This might include a combo of a surface numbing cream, a local anesthetic, and a tranquilizer (often Valium or Ativan) to take the edge off. I also use low lights and soft music to make the treatment room really calming.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.