Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt?

If you have friends who have gotten laser hair removal, you’ve probably heard their stories about it, ranging from ‘it didn’t hurt that much’ to ‘childbirth was less painful than that!’ But you know from hearing how your friends talk about having to wait in line at the bank – “It was torture!” – that different people have different levels of tolerance for pain and discomfort. That same rule applies tremendously to laser hair removal.

Some people will experience little pinches and describe them as excruciating pain, and others undergo the same procedure, experience the same little pinches, and will tell you they didn’t feel any pain at all.

If you’re considering laser hair removal treatments, remember that having them done by a board-certified dermatologist will always be the safest method, and that dermatologists offer the highest-quality numbing cream for your treatment areas. Before you’ll get laser treatment on your body, that zone will get an application of effective numbing crème that takes the sting out of the laser pulses that remove unwanted hair from your face or body.

Keep in mind, though, that numbing crème can only be used on certain parts of the body prior to laser hair removal treatments. Anesthetic cream is a medication, and is only safe to use on your lip area, bikini area and underarm area. It is not advised, and may be very dangerous, to apply numbing anesthetic cream to your chest, back or legs. So, if you wish to have those areas lasered, you will likely need to undergo laser hair removal treatments without the benefit of numbing crème. If you have a high pain tolerance level, that won’t be a problem for you. Talk to your dermatologist to find out the best ways to minimize pain in areas where topical anesthetic crème cannot be applied.

Most patients describe the sensations experienced during laser hair removal treatment as little pinches, or like snapping a rubber band against your skin. It’s entirely tolerable, and most patients say it hurts far less than waxing, especially in the more sensitive areas of the body like the bikini line.

Again, a key to a more comfortable laser hair removal process is a quality technician who applies the correct amount of numbing cream, and can turn down the strength of the laser if you feel you’re experiencing too much discomfort. A qualified laser hair removal technician will have your comfort level in mind while zapping away your unwanted hair, and in contrast, if you were to get waxed, there’s no dialing down the pain you’re experiencing during that hair removal process. You just have to bear the agony of that type of hair removal method.

Some areas of the body are more sensitive than others, of course, so take that into consideration as well. For instance, laser hair removal may be a bit more painful on areas like the back and the face, and the armpit area is also likely a more sensitive area. The abdomen is generally a less painful area to treat. Talk to your dermatologist about which areas of the body are likely to be more painful, and if your skin tone can also cause you a bit more discomfort. Some patients with darker skin say that they experience a bit more pain from laser hair removal treatments, but again, that may also be a personal pain tolerance issue. Your doctor can help you assess your ideal laser hair removal plan according to which areas of your body are more sensitive than others.

Many patients say that laser hair removal is worth the discomfort to end up with smooth, hair-free skin and freedom from painful waxing and plucking on a frequent basis.


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