Cosmetic Surgery Tips

How Badly Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt

Laser hair removal has been a popular way to remove unwanted hair for many years. It’s a safe, effective treatment that can also be used on any part of your body. However, even though laser hair removal is considered safe and effective, it can still cause discomfort while you’re getting treated.

To help you feel more comfortable during your treatment, here are some tips on how to make laser hair removal hurt less:

  1. Make sure to schedule your appointments at least three weeks apart. This will give your skin time to heal between treatments. If you don’t schedule enough time between treatments, it can cause irritation and swelling which could increase the pain level during each session.
  2. If possible, ask your doctor if they offer topical numbing cream before each session; it will help reduce the amount of pain caused by the laser energy being absorbed into the skin during each session. A topical numbing cream may not work for everyone because some types of lasers produce a different wavelength than others do so this option might not always be available for every type of procedure performed by your doctor’s office.

Right here on Cosmeticsurgerytips, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on how to make bikini laser less painful, how to make laser hair removal more effective, does laser hair removal hurt, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

How Badly Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt

Laser hair removal is designed to target hair follicles with tiny high-heat laser beams. While you may not feel the heat, you may feel like your skin is being snapped with a rubber band.

You may also experience mild discomfort after the procedure, such as redness and irritation similar to a mild sunburn.

The procedure may also feel painful to some degree. How painful depends on the part of the body that’s undergoing laser hair removal. The more sensitive the skin is to begin with, the more painful it’ll likely be.

To minimize pain, your provider may rub a numbing cream into your skin prior to the procedure. Depending on the body part and your pain tolerance, you may not need any numbing cream at all.

Does laser hair removal hurt on the legs?

Laser hair removal hurts moderately on the legs compared to other areas of the body. This is because the skin tends to be thicker than more sensitive areas, such as your face or bikini line.

Still, there are portions of the legs that may hurt more during the procedure depending on sensitivity, such as your inner thighs compared to your shins.

Does laser hair removal hurt on arms and underarms?

The underarms are among the most painful areas of the body to undergo laser hair removal because the skin is so thin. This isn’t necessarily the case for the rest of your arms, though, where the pain is much milder.

Does laser hair removal hurt on the face?

The answer depends on which part of the face is undergoing laser treatment. Laser hair removal tends to be more painful around the thin skin of the upper lip, while the pain around the cheeks and forehead tends to be mild.

Does laser hair removal hurt on the bikini line?

Like the underarms, laser hair removal tends to be more painful along the bikini line. It’s said to feel similar to waxing, but the difference is that laser removal takes longer. However, you might find the discomfort worth the long-term results.

Does laser hair removal hurt on the back or stomach?

Like your skin and arms, the stomach tends to have thicker skin, so laser hair removal doesn’t hurt here as much. This is not the case with your back, though. Back laser treatments can hurt as much as the bikini line or underarms due to the sheer number of hairs in this area.

Alternatives to laser hair removal

If you’re not up for the potential pain or higher cost of laser treatments, consider other hair removal methods and how they stack up with regard to pain and potential side effects.


Unless you accidentally nick yourself, shaving is perhaps the least painful hair removal method. Take extra care by using shaving cream or gel on wet skin so that you reduce the chances of razor burn.

When done right, shaving doesn’t pose as many side effects, but the results don’t last long because you’re only removing hair from the surface of the skin.


Waxing can feel similar to laser hair removal in terms of pain, but it doesn’t last long. This hair removal method can last for a few weeks — much longer than shaving, but not as long as laser treatments. Mild rashes and irritation are possible post-treatment.


These methods are similar in principle to waxing, but instead you apply them as a cream or gel. They dissolve hairs and are then rinsed away clean.

Depilatories are chemical-based, so these tend to have the most side effects. Blisters, rashes, and burns are possible, and you may feel mild pain from the acidic nature of these products.


While time-consuming, plucking your hairs can last a bit longer than any of the above hair removal methods. It’s important to pluck with the direction of hair growth, rather than against it — this will help minimize skin irritation.


Like laser hair removal, electrolysis is a medical-grade treatment that produces more permanent results. It works by destroying hair follicles via radio frequencies. While not painful, some side effects may include swelling and rashes.

Where not to get laser hair removal

Laser hair removal isn’t intended for areas of the skin near an open orifice. This includes the hair inside your nose and ears, as well as around the genital area.

Most of the side effects related to laser hair removal are mild, and they occur after the procedure. These include:

  • redness
  • swelling
  • blisters
  • hyperpigmentation or scarring
  • increased risk for sunburn

While anesthetic (numbing) creams can help to minimize the pain, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source recommends only using them when absolutely necessary and at the lowest dose possible.

Using too much numbing cream has been linked to life threatening side effects. Talk to your provider about the benefits and risks of numbing cream, especially if you’re undergoing multiple treatments.

Overall, numbing cream has been deemed safe when used in small amounts on small areas of the body and when applied by a professional.

You may also consider using different types of lasers for your hair removal treatments. One older studyTrusted Source found that alexandrite lasers tend to be less painful, with or without numbing agents.

It’s also important to get laser hair removal from a licensed professional. Although at-home laser kits may be less painful to use, they aren’t guaranteed safe or effective at removing hair.


Laser hair removal is considered a safe procedure when done by a licensed professional. However, it’s not completely without risk, and you might experience some pain depending on which part of the body you’re getting treated.

Discuss your overall pain tolerance with your provider, and ask them about methods they can use to decrease your risk. Options include numbing agents, icing prior to treatment, and chill tips on lasers.

Tips for Managing Pain During Laser Hair Removal

We should clarify that not everyone experiences pain during laser hair removal–in fact, the sensations can vary from person to person. What does laser hair removal feel like? Most describe it as being flicked with a rubber band during the procedure and a mild sunburn afterward. You won’t feel any actual heat, but your skin may be red and tender.

So, what can you do to experience the least amount of discomfort? Before you arrive for your appointment, make sure you do the following.

Schedule the Procedure Around Your Period

The answer to the question, “Does laser hair removal hurt?” can vary for individuals based on when they get the procedure. During menstruation, pain receptors are more active, which means what didn’t bother you before may feel painful. And let’s be honest–you may already feel poorly, and the side effects of laser hair removal won’t help. For the least discomfort, aim for right after your period.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is always important, as it ensures your cells have enough water to function. Drinking lots of water is also an excellent way to flush your system of substances that may increase pain. Caffeine is notorious for making clients more susceptible to discomfort, so avoid coffee and other caffeine-heavy beverages before your appointment.

Medicate Before the Appointment

Is laser hair removal painful if you take medication beforehand? Actually, pre-medicating with over-the-counter pain relievers can significantly reduce discomfort during the procedure. If you’re not sure what type of medication to take, discuss it with your doctor beforehand and make sure you only take the recommended amount.

Shave Beforehand

You should always shave before getting laser hair removal treatments. While this may seem counter-intuitive, shaving makes it easier for the laser to do its work and significantly decreases the risk of side effects.

Tips for Reducing Pain Caused by Laser Hair Removal

Does laser hair removal hurt after your appointment? While not everyone gets intense side effects, you should prepare for the following:

  • Temporary or permanent changes to skin pigmentation
  • Irritation
  • Red bumps

These last about the same amount of time as the side effects of waxing or plucking in most cases.

Avoid Scratching

Scratching may temporarily relieve skin irritation, but it can damage already-sensitive areas. If the irritation is too much to tolerate, try pain medication, numbing cream, or other forms of relief.

Choose the Right Pain Relievers

Speaking of pain relief, what’s the best medication to use? A numbing cream is a good option for immediate effects. Ibuprofen is another excellent choice since it can reduce inflammation, but it can take up to 30 minutes to work.

Wear Loose Clothing

Tight clothing can rub against the skin and further irritate inflamed areas. To avoid this issue, wear loose-fitting clothing on the affected areas.

Use Sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen is always a good idea in Tampa, FL, but it’s essential when getting laser hair removal. The procedure makes your skin more sensitive so that you may burn more quickly after your appointment. You also shouldn’t get laser hair removal on a sunburn, so make sure you use sun protection in the weeks leading up to your procedure.

Ice the Area

Does laser hair removal hurt more than other hair removal procedures? That depends on your own experience and pain tolerance. For example, many people find sugaring extremely painful but can tolerate the laser fairly well.

One thing that may help no matter your personal tolerances is applying ice. Cold compresses can reduce inflammation, which is indicated by redness and swelling. The cool sensation may also alleviate some people’s “sunburn” feeling. Just make sure to only ice an area for twenty minutes at a time since prolonged exposure to cold can burn your skin.

Postpone Your Workout

You want to avoid exposing recently-treated areas to sweat, so you may have to postpone your workout for a few days after laser hair removal. If you absolutely have to exercise, make sure you keep the treated skin as sweat-free as possible.

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