Laser hair removal is becoming a really popular solution to unwanted facial and body hair. Whether you are just sick of having to pluck or shave all the time, or you want that smooth feeling that never goes away, laser hair removal may be something that you have considered at some point. One of the questions that people ask most often in regards to this type of hair removal is “does laser hair removal hurt?”. The answer is a bit tricky, because there is no solid yes or no answer. It really depends on a few factors. We will go into more detail so you have a better idea.
Choosing the Right Treatment Center
One of the best ways that you can have the best experience with laser hair removal is to choose the right treatment center. Sure, there are deals out there that say you can get laser hair removal for cheap, but this may not be where you want to skimp out just to save a buck. Choose a treatment facility that has actual licensed professionals working. You also want to make sure that they use FDA approved hair removal equipment. If you go in, and it looks more like a salon, you may want to walk right back out the door. The best facilities will be similar to a clinic, and this is where you want to go. This can cut down on some of the pain associated with laser hair removal.
Does Laser Hair Removal Feel Like Tweezing?
Some people find tweezing to be pretty painful, while others can do it without even wincing. I am in the boat of people that think it hurts like the dickens! A lot of people wonder whether or not the laser hair removal feels anything like tweezing, and the answer is no. It is a much different sensation. We will treat small areas at a time so that you can see how you tolerate the discomfort. The pain is actually more like a zapping pain, because the laser is (in a sense) using electricity to destroy the hair from the root. This means it will feel like tiny electric shocks. Some people have also described it like being popped with a rubber band over and over again.
The good news is that the pain from the actual zap only lasts a second, but then comes the fiery burn behind it. They also move on to the next hair pretty quickly, so the zaps come pretty frequently and don’t give you much time to brace yourself between them. Once an area has been treated, we might apply ice or cold air (from the cooling system) to help with the pain and swelling. An aloe infused lotion is also pretty effective at managing the pain, most of the time there is no need for those.
How Your Complexion and Hair Color Can Affect the Pain
Did you know that even people with dark skin and dark hair can get amazing results with laser hair removal? This is because treatment centers use lasers with different wavelengths to remove hair, depending on your complexion and the color of your hair. If you have fair skin, you will likely have the best chance for less pain, as they use the laser that has the shorter wavelength. If you have a darker skin tone, then they will have to use a longer wavelength. The wavelength and strength of the laser has a lot to do with how much pain you feel, but it is also really depends on a person.
When we first start, we will typically use a lower strength setting on the laser remover. This really got to do with the thickness of your hair and darkness of it. The thicker and the darker the hair is there is no need to go higher settings. As you go for subsequent treatments, you will notice that we crank up the strength some. This is so that we can get a more permanent hair removal, since the hair gets thinner and lighter, and more energy needed in order to destroy those follicles. If you have done much research on laser hair removal, then you will know that one treatment is not going to be suffice. If we crank up the strength too early on, then you may experience more of a burning feeling than you would at a lower setting. You may also be left with small scabs that may need to be treated with an ointment or aloe. If you go to a reputable treatment center, however, you will likely be able to avoid these issues.
Tips for Managing Pain Associated with Laser Hair Removal
If you find yourself worried sick about the pain of laser hair removal, there are a few things that you can do ahead of time to prepare yourself and hopefully cut down on the level of pain. Here are a few suggestions:
- Take a painkiller, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol, about thirty minutes or so before your appointment
- Use a numbing cream to help numb your skin before you head in for your treatment
- Avoid caffeine for about 24 hours before your appointment because it can increase your anxiety and make you feel more on edge
- Never schedule your laser hair removal around the time of your period, because during your menstrual cycle your skin has the tendency to be more sensitive
These are really all of the good ideas for helping you to deal with the pain of laser hair removal, but other people may recommend that you take a shot of whiskey or something strong in your liquor cabinet. While we don’t want to really suggest this, if you have someone to drive you it may not be the worst idea. Just remember, never drink and drive!
While laser hair removal does hurt, the effects are usually pretty lasting. It can really shave off a lot of the time that it takes you to get ready (pun intended), and help your skin feel smoother and softer. Most people find it worth their while, and worth the pain involved, just so that they can have that soft and smooth skin all year round without having to worry about waxing, tweezing, shaving and other hair removal methods.