Laser hair removal is becoming more and more popular. It is a great alternative to electrolysis and a much better way to remove hair than waxing and shaving. While shaving requires bi-weekly actions, waxing can also have bad side effects. Depilatory creams are not ideal either. Laser hair removal provides a sustainable long-term hair growth reduction solution that no other hair removal methods offer. However, even though it is getting a lot of attention, laser hair removal is still subject to a lot of misconceptions that may deter people from trying the treatment in the first place. For example, is laser hair removal painful? A lot of people seem to think so.
Another big myth is about the price of laser hair removal. We have since demonstrated how laser hair removal can become affordable. Some think that laser hair removal is not safe. Be assured that it is. Just like any other cosmetic procedures, there are risks. However, they are minimal with laser hair removal and absolutely avoidable should you listen to the recommendations made by your technician. However, the other pre-conceived idea other than the price is indeed the pain.
Is laser hair removal painful?
After all, if you think about it, the most popular hair removal methods are indeed unpleasant. Some of them are painful. And that is just it. Sugaring and waxing for example are not walk in the park. They hurt. Especially if you remove your bikini hair, then, you are clearly walking gin hell. Shaving is not painful sure but very annoying. As for electrolysis, not only is it a very long procedure but it is also quite painful. Much more than laser hair removal.
But let's focus on laser hair removal for a bit. Is it painful? Is it bearable?
1. How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal is a cosmetic skincare procedure that relies on selective photothermolysis. The laser will send a light pulse targeting the pigment in the hair. The energy will then travel through the hair to the follicle. There, the light will change to thermal energy and damage the follicle. The blood vessel feeding it will cauterize. Damaged and without fuel, the hair follicle will no longer be able to product more hair.
Patients must shave prior to each laser hair removal appointment. Long hair may reduce the effectiveness of the treatment as the energy would need to journey further to get to the follicle. Furthermore, long hair may increase the risk of burns. To be effective, the laser must find the hair to get through the follicle. That is why patients must not wax or sugar prior to their session. Indeed, both will remove the hair along with the root, leaving nothing for the laser to target.
The hair growth cycle also needs to be remembered when undergoing laser hair removal. Indeed, the treatment only works with the hair is in the anagen phase of growth. As a matter of fact, it is the only time the hair and the follicle connect and when the energy can travel from the former to the latter. Unfortunately, only 20% off all body hair is in that right phase of growth at any point in time. That is why only 20% of hair can be treated during each session of laser hair removal. This also explains why patients need several sessions six weeks apart.
2. Is laser hair removal painful?
Laser hair removal is believed to be painful. However, it can never be as bad as waxing, sugaring and electrolysis. We are not gonna lie. Laser hair removal is not the most pleasant sensation. However, it is not painful. Mostly because "painful" is not the right word to use here. You will not feel pain. Discomfort maybe.
The main sensations that you will feel during laser hair removal are heat and pinching. Yes, pinching. The pulse of light is of course hot on your skin. The technician will adjust the intensity to ensure it is not too hot for you. It is thus important that you communicate with them clearly should you feel any discomfort due to the heat. As for the sensation of pinching, you may also compare that to mosquito bits or a rubber band snapping at your skin very fast.
Another way to compare is to imagine static electricity. For example, on a door handle, that you will grab and let go immediately after feeling a tiny electric choc. The pinching sensation of laser hair removal is not half as vivid and strong.
This impression of pinching is actually the energy traveling very fast through your hair to the hair follicle. The energy getting to then, would be in a very imaginative way, slamming the door to the blood vessel. Again, a rubber band snapping.
3. Laser hair removal and skin sensitivity
Laser hair removal is technically not painful. Even though the sensation is not the most pleasant one, patients do not suffer or will not wince as they undergo their laser treatment. pain is what you feel when you wax, sugar or depilate. Next to it, laser hair removal is close to zero. It can barely hold the comparison.
However, the degree to which you handle laser hair removal will vastly vary on your own pain tolerance. Some patients have a very sensitive skin and very low tolerance. Thus, the treatment may be a bit more uncomfortable for them. Some people will not feel a thing. In the end, it is the same with waxing. While some can't have their bikini done, other ride through it no problem.
Furthermore, spas usually use different laser machines to ensure they can offer laser services to people that are very sensitive. For example, some machines like the Soprano ICE and V-Frost by Vertex have skin cooling systems that will cool down the skin during the treatment, making it more bearable.
If your skin is naturally very sensitive, there is not much you do but applying a local anesthetic cream to numb the skin on the treated area. However, what you do prior to your session may influence the "pain" you feel during your session. For example, direct exposure to the sun on the treat area can make the skin more sensitive or even damage it. Antibiotics increase photosensitivity. Thus, it is important that patients wait at least ten days prior to undergoing laser hair removal.
Laser hair removal is not painful, simply because it is the wrong word to use. Patients will not suffer nor feel pain. However, it is not the most enjoyable sensation either. It may feel unpleasant and uncomfortable but will be much more bearable than waxing.