How to Minimize Pain During Laser Hair Removal?

I had laser hair removal in the past and it HURT!  I'm fearful of pain from my next laser treatment.

Doctor Answers 19

How to Minimize Pain During 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.

New York Dermatologist
4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Laser Hair Removal Discomfort

A numbing cream can be applied before your treatment to reduce discomfort. You can also take something orally. 

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

Pain during Laser Hair Removal

It is a good idea to let your laser hair provider know you experienced so much discomfort during your previous treatment.  Your provider can apply ice or a topical numbing cream to help decrease the discomfort of the treatment.  The newer lasers on the market, such as the Ellman, allow for almost "pain free" laser hair removal.  By treating a larger area in a shorter amount of time, the individual "snaps" many expect from previous laser hair removal procedures are decreased.  

Kent V. Hasen, MD
Naples Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Reducing pain during laser hair removal

An easy way to reduce discomfort is to apply cold packs to the area prior to treating it. Many lasers also have built in devices to increase comfort during the procedure such as a chilled tip or a zimmer cooler that blows cold air onto the skin. Another alternative is to apply an anesthetic numbing cream (only recommended for small areas and on intact skin. Do not apply to mucous membranes) at least 20 minutes prior to your procedure.

Hope this helps.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Minimize Pain During Laser Hair Removal

You can use a lidocaine cream. GentleLase's proprietary Dynamic Cooling Device (DCD) cools and protects the surrounding tissue, which greatly reduces the chance of pain, discoloration, or damage to the skin.

Jhonny Salomon, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

To minimize pain you can use topical anesthetics and ice.

The Lightsheer Duet laser that we use in our office is less painful than any other lasers on the marker and most of our patients do not need numbing cream or icing prior to the procedure. Most topical anesthetics take 45 minutes to an hour to numb the skin and are not recommended to be applied on large areas. Patient’s safety is most important and choosing a laser that is tolerable without any numbing creams might be a better option.

Gregory Turowski, MD, PhD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Cooling Diminishes Laser Hair Removal Pain

There are several ways to minimize pain with laser hair removal.  I recommend you make sure you do not come in if your are premenstrual. That will exaggerate the pain.  I also have in my office we a few techniques that help with reducing the pain as well.   You also want to consider what type of laser is being used. We use the Candela Gentelase laser which pulses a cold spray before each pulse of energy is delivered.  Patients find that this really adds a soothing effect for the pain.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Minimizing Pain During the Laser Hair Removal

Pain tolerance varies from client to client. One fact that can cause extra sensitivity are hairs that extend above the surface of the skin, in which case can singe the hair and can burn the skin. We suggested you shave either the night before or the morning of your treatment. In house we use 2 that can assist in easing the sensitivity. Ice and/or a Topical Lidocaine. The ice is applied just before the treatment to help numb the area just enough to control the sensitivity level. The topical lidocaine is applied about 30 minutes prior to treatment giving the area a chance to become numb.



Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Minimizing Pain during Laser Hair Removal

In our office we use a cold air machine attached to our Cynosure Elite Laser.  In most cases, the very effectively lessens any pain from the laser.  Additionally, with this laser, the treatments are very fast, so the process is over very quickly.  We also offer topical anesthetics prior to treatment for very sensitive patients.  Our goal is to make the process very comfortable for the patient.


Good Luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Laser Hair Removal

Everyone will have a different threshold for pain when getting treated. Cold air or numbing cream are options to consider.

Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD
Bay Area Dermatologist
3.9 out of 5 stars 12 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.