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
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 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
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Laser hair removal pain

Laser hair removal feels kind of like an elastic band snapping against your skin. You may have had a higher intensity. Do you have any lasting redness or burns? If yes, then the device was set too strong. If not, then it was probably set at the right level to achieve results. If you see a reduction in your hair, I think it should be okay to continue there, however you should express your discomfort to your technician. Numbing cream can be applied to improve comfort.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 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.