Laser hair removal is quick, convenient and may even help you achieve permanent hair growth reduction. But if you’re considering this method of hair removal, the first question on your mind probably isn’t about its effectiveness. You’re probably wondering how much the treatments will hurt.
Does laser hair removal hurt? Yes. But how badly it hurts will depend on your own pain tolerance and a few other factors.
Why Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt?
What causes the pain anyway? First, let’s talk about what laser hair removal actually does.
During each treatment, light is beamed at your unwanted hair. The pigment absorbs the light, which damages the hair follicle.
That’s why the pain occurs. You’re damaging the hair follicle enough to actually retard future growth.
Why Do Some People Experience More Pain?
Pain tolerance varies from one person to another, and the thickness of your hair will also play a role in how much pain is experienced.
Generally, the darker and coarser your hair is, the greater the pain will be. Thick, coarse hair has more sensation. Those with thinner, lighter hair will typically experience less pain.
When treating areas with thick hair growth or where multiple hairs are growing in each follicle, you may experience more pain as well.
The good news is that most people will experience less pain over time. The first two treatments are usually the most painful, but as the hair gets thinner and finer, discomfort decreases greatly.
What Does Laser Hair Removal Feel Like?
While the experience will vary from one person to another, most people compare laser hair removal to feeling like a hot rubber band is being snapped against the skin. Those with higher pain tolerances or thinner/lighter hair may just feel a light pinch.
Those who are sensitive or have a low tolerance for pain claim that each zap creates a burning sensation.
Is There Anything You Can Do To Minimize the Pain?
A cold compress or aloe vera gel can help soothe the irritation or discomfort you feel after each treatment.
That being said, there is little else that can be done to minimize the pain. If you’re being treated at a clinic, they may apply numbing cream. If you’re using an at-home system, you will likely have to grit your teeth and bare the pain.
Finding the Right Laser
People who have particularly painful experiences with laser hair removal tend to have one thing in common: they don’t have the ideal skin tone or hair color for this treatment.
It is true that professional clinics can use a combination of lasers to treat medium and sometimes even darker skin tones. Treating light color hair is still tricky, especially if you have a lighter skin tone.
When your skin tone and hair color aren’t ideal, the treatment tends to be more painful. Either more treatments will be required, or stronger settings will need to be used.
Most people will experience some degree of pain during laser hair removal, but rarely is the pain so severe that treatment needs to be stopped. If you have fair skin and fine hair, you’ll likely only experience a light pinch with each zap. However, if you have thicker, dark hair, you may experience more pain.