Is Laser Hair Removal Painful?

I can take some pain (I gave birth!), but what can I expect from LHR?

Doctor Answers 14

Laser hair removal not too painful

The level of discomfort depends on the treated area, the texture of the hair, and skin. Darker skin people are more sensitive because they have more pigment, not just in the hair, but in their skin as well. Patients with dark and coarse hair experience more discomfort as well. After each treatment, the hair becomes lighter or thinner and the pain subsides, which makes it easier to handle the laser.

To help with the discomfort during the procedure I would recommend using a cooling device, such as Zimmer, applying a tropical anesthetic, or simply icing the area for a few minutes.

Laser Hair Removal

Hair removal lasers are equipped with a cooling device that helps reduce the discomfort and protect the top layer of skin from the heat. In addition, a topical numbing agent may be used to desensitize the treatment area. We also recommend taking an ibuprofen beforehand to help mitigate the pain. Doing so will help, particularly if you have sensitive skin.
The feeling of laser hair removal has been described as a rubber band continually snapping at the skin. Additional side effects can be redness and swelling that last anywhere from one to three days. Most patients who have had the laser hair removal procedure believe the hair-free results are well worth the feeling experienced during the procedure.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Laser Hair Removal Pain

Laser hair removal feels kind of like an elastic band snapping against your skin.  Numbing cream can be applied to improve comfort.

Laser Hair Removal Pain Level

Laser hair removal, to most people, feels like a rubberband snap against the skin. Particular areas of the body can be more sensitive, such as the underarms, bikini, and upper lip. Each person's pain tolerance can vary. Cold compresses or anesthetic creams can reduce discomfort. Some lasers have cooling devices such as cold air or a chilled tip that also helps with making the treatments more tolerable. Laser hair removal has come a long way and the treatments are usually quick enough where the pain is not much of a problem. It definitely should not be excruciating. Always let the person doing your treatment know if the pain is not tolerable.

Pain during Laser Hair Removal

Each individual has a different pain tolerance as well as each area has its own sensitivity level. There is some mild discomfort with laser hair removal as the light creates heat to destroy the hair follicle at the root. It should feel like a rubber band snap or a pin prick in the area. Be sure to express any concerns with your laser hair removal technician. Application of ice may be provided; also, a topical anesthetic such as lidocaine may be prescribed if necessary.

Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Laser Hair Removal and Pain

We use a patented cooling device for that means a more comfortable treatment and eliminates the need for topical anesthetic. The DCD, dynamic cooling device is the ONLY cooling device that provides consistent cooling from the first pulse to the last. No cooling system is safer or provides a more comfortable treatment.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 111 reviews

Laser Hair Removal

After giving birth, laser hair removal will not impress you. However, everyone will have a different degree of tolerance.

Pain is dependant on the type of laser used for hair removal

While every patient has a different pain threshold, some lasers are definitely more uncomfortable than others. The LightSheer Duet, which is a new laser that uses suction and a very large head to minimise discomfort, has been a revelation in our practice. It replaced our old LightSheer Diode 6 months ago and patients have actually written us emails thanking us for this new laser. There is minimal or no discomfort with this laser and we no longer have to use numbing creams, even on sensitive areas like the bikini line.

Some lasers that we have tested in the past, such as the Alexandrite, are far more painful for most patients. Other factors that affect discomfort are skin type, hair thickness and density, and body area treated. 

Arie Benchetrit, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
3.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Laser Hair Removal

Most patients are generally comfortable during the treatment although some indicate some discomfort. Very few have indicated pain. However, this determination is specific to the pain threshold of the patient.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Laser Hair Removal painful??

Everyone has a different degree of pain tolerance. Discomfort may be felt at time of treatment but it quickly diminishes upon completion. Mild discomfort post treatment is common.

Sofia Rubbani, MD
Tucson Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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.