If you’re like many women (and a lot of men, too!), you’re used to unpleasant beauty regimens that leave your skin poked, prodded, plucked and painful.
That’s why you probably assume laser hair removal hurts, too. While there is some mild discomfort with the procedure, the truth is laser hair removal isn’t all that bad. In fact, many people say waxing unwanted hair hurts much, much more.
What is Laser Hair Removal?
The process permanently reduces the number of hairs on your face, legs, bikini line, arms, neck, chest or anywhere else you have unwanted hair. A laser is directed on your skin for milliseconds at a time and a harmless beam of light passes through your skin.
The light beam converts to heat which is absorbed by the melanin in your hair follicles and shaft. The heat inhibits future hair growth.
Laser hair removal isn’t a one-time thing though. It takes multiple sessions over the course of several weeks or months to stop the hair-growing process.
That’s why some people worry about the pain component. If it hurts a lot, they know they won’t want to come back for additional treatments.
So does laser hair removal hurt? Really?
People who have had laser hair removal say it’s not all that painful. The laser feels akin to a rubber band being flipped against your skin. It’s a mild discomfort that goes away quickly.
Your skin won’t throb for hours after your sessions. As with just about anything, there are exceptions. The laser hair removal process can be a bit different for people with either very light hair or with a darker skin tone.
In these cases, the laser’s beam must be turned up to a higher level. This can cause some increased discomfort if you fall into one of these categories.
Can you alleviate the discomfort?
If you have extremely sensitive skin or your hair requires the laser be used at a higher level, you do have some options to minimize discomfort. Consider these options to keep your laser hair removal sessions as comfortable as possible:
- Take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen an hour before your appointment.
- Use a topical cream that contains lidocaine and/or other medications that numb your skin. These are usually available at the clinic or medispa where you’re having your laser hair removal conducted. Remember to apply the cream about 30 minutes before your appointment for maximum effectiveness.
- For ladies, don’t schedule your appointment during your menstrual cycle. The hormones in your body make your skin extra sensitive during this week, and you could experience added discomfort.
- Ask the technician to try a lower setting or to let your skin cool a bit between laser pulses.
Laser hair removal is a great way to remove unwanted body hair, and it’s not as painful as you might think. However, if you do experience discomfort, there are steps you can take to dull the sensation.