Discomfort & Pain with Laser Hair Removal


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Discomfort caused by laser hair removal is very individual and varies from person to person. Most people who have laser hair removal treatment find the process less painful than other forms of hair removal such as electrolysis and many people feel no pain at all. You can experience some mild discomfort though. This is due to the fact that hair follicles are surrounded by nerve endings, which are stimulated by the laser and are responsible for you feeling pain.

Factors Affecting Pain with Laser Hair Removal

There are many different ways of describing what laser hair removal treatment feels like. One way to describe the sensation is to say that it is like an elastic band being snapped against the skin.

The size of the area you are having treated can also affect whether you feel any pain or discomfort. You tend to feel less discomfort if you are having a small area treated; this can be much more easily tolerated than if you were having treatment on larger areas.

Your skin and hair type can also affect the level of discomfort you may feel. If you have darker skin, you have more pigment in both the skin and the hair than those with light skin. Since the lasers are attracted to the pigment in the skin, you are more likely to feel discomfort. Those with darker and coarser hair can also suffer more discomfort.

The pain from laser hair removal usually disappears not long after your treatment session finishes. In general the pain should become more tolerable and should diminish with each treatment you undergo.

Most people find laser hair removal pain easy to tolerate, but there are options open to you if you think you will find the treatment too uncomfortable. You should speak to your practitioner to discuss pain relief and have a plan in place for your treatment. 

Methods of Controlling Any Discomfort

There are many different pain relief methods which you can use to relieve any pain or discomfort felt with laser hair removal treatment. These include:

  • Anaesthetic creams
  • Painkillers
  • Cooling during treatment
  • Ice before treatment
  • Cooling after treatment

Anaesthetic creams are commonly used to help deal with the discomfort of laser treatment. EMLA is an example of such a cream. The creams are normally applied around 30 minutes before the start of treatment to allow them to take effect before the process begins.

Oral painkillers can be taken shortly before the start of a laser hair removal treatment and will help to take the edge off of any feelings of pain or discomfort you may feel.

Ice can be used before the start of treatment to help pain relief. Using this just before you have laser hair removal treatment will numb the area and make any discomfort easier to handle. 

Cooling devices and systems are used after or during your treatment. These will cool the skin, helping to minimise any discomfort.

Also, if you find that the pain during treatment is intolerable, your practitioner can lower the laser setting being used. This should make the pain more tolerable for you, but could affect the results that you get. 


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