Is Laser Hair Removal Supposed to Be Really Painful?

I got my first laser hair removal treatment a couple days ago on my legs, but the pain was literally almost unbearable. Is this normal or should I consider going somewhere else for treatments?

Doctor Answers (3)

New Technologies = Less Pain


The degree of pain with laser hair removal depends on the laser metrics and technology, density and thickness of your hairs, location of treatment, and the "TLC" provided by your laser technician. 

In my experience, the Lightsheer Duet technology from Lumenis yields the most effective outcome with the least amount of pain.

Bellevue Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Are laser hair removal treatments supposed to be painful?


The short answer is, possibly. It depends on the type of laser used and the care that they give you. In my office, we do laser hair removal with a very, very cold chiller that blows on the skin during the treatment. This allows the air to chill the skin and make the treatment more tolerable; it also makes the laser penetrate further and harder into the follicles because the heat from the laser is attracted to color and heat. Additionally, before any type of laser procedure we also apply a topical numbing cream in the office that sits for 10-20min to allow for even less pain. If you found the procedure that painful, I'm guessing you went to an office that had neither of these things, so there are definitely options to make your treatments more comfortable.

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Laser hair removal pain

Patients describe laser hair removal as a “snapping band” sensation during each pulse. This may be uncomfortable depending on your sensitivity. It is also important to note that the thinner, finer and lighter your hair (as is the case for patients with blonde hair or those who are later on in their treatment regimen), the more discomfort you may feel. This is because a higher setting on the laser hair removal device may be required. 

A numbing cream can be applied before your treatment to reduce discomfort. You can also take something orally. Some technologies are equipped with a cooling device as well.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.