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

We apply a specially-made topical anesthetic half an...

  • We apply a specially-made topical anesthetic half an hour before Fraxel treatment.
  • Occasionally, we will give a patient a pre-op "cocktail" to cause sedation.
  • Also, ice to the treated area just after a burst will help a lot.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Laser Hair Removal Limiting Pain

While everyone's pain tolerance is different, the majority of clients in my Raleigh, NC plastic surgery medical spa and laser center do not think it is painful. Our patients report that treatment with our lasers is much more comfortable than other lasers and far more comfortable than waxing. Our lasers, yag lasers for hair removal, and an alexandrite laser are equipped with a DCD (Dynamic Cooling Device) that makes the treatment both comfortable and safer to the skin than other lasers. Before every laser pulse, a cryogen (cooling agent) is automatically sprayed onto the skin within the laser field that protects and partially numbs that area. This makes the treatment safer and more comfortable. Because the lasers we use have a very large (18mm) spot size, treatments are very quick. Any discomfort one experiences is over very quickly.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Less Pain Is More Gain- for Laser Hair Removal

There are many techniques to lessen pain : 1) topical anesthesia- we utilize several with great patient satisfaction. 2) ice 3) other variants of cold- cold roller, Zimmer cool air blower 4) oral sedatives. 5) oral analgesics. 6) other distraction techniques. 7) although I have never used for hair removal- local anesthesia or nerve blocks - are effective in lessening pain . When we lessen the pain , the patient is happy- and will desire to have the procedure again.

Joshua L. Fox, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

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.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Laser Hair Removal Discomfort

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

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 50 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.

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 44 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.

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 15 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.