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What Does Laser Hair Removal Feel Like?

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As people don’t share the same levels of pain tolerance, it’s hard to hear an accurate description of how laser hair removal feels like. Some may have a hard time during the procedure while others don’t experience much discomfort at all.

So what does laser hair removal actually feel like? The most common way patients describe laser hair removal treatment is that each flash of the laser beam feels like your skin is getting snapped with a rubber band. Future hair removal treatments become less painful once the unwanted hairs become finer and you get used to the pinching sensation. 

How Laser Hair Removal Feels On Every Part of the Body 

Laser hair removal works by targeting your hair follicles with pulses of tiny hot laser beams. Most patients don’t feel the heat but they do feel a pinching sensation, like a rubber band being snapped against their skin. However, the procedure is tolerable enough especially when compared to other hair removal methods like waxing. 

There is also a chance you may experience skin discomfort after a laser hair removal session. These sunburn-like side effects of redness and irritation disappear overnight. The pain you experience when undergoing laser hair removal depends on how sensitive your skin is. Some treatment areas on the body are also more sensitive than others. Here is how laser hair removal feels on each treatment area: 

  • Legs: The legs are among the most common treatment areas of laser hair removal. The legs are pain-free compared to other areas, thanks to the thick skin here. You should still expect a few extra painful snaps here and there, especially in the inner thigh region. 
  • Back: If you’re having the treatment done for your back, you will definitely need a thick layer of numbing cream. The density of unwanted hairs on your back will make the process hurt. 
  • Face: Pain is relative for the face because the thickness of the skin varies. Your cheeks and forehead will feel only a mild sting, while the chin and sideburns cause manageable pain. The most painful area is the upper lip because of how thin the skin is there. 
  • Underarms: The underarms are by far the most sensitive treatment area. Many patients find this the most painful — likening the sensation to a deep needle inserted into the thin skin. However, the procedure works so effectively for the underarms that most patients complete all their sessions anyway. 
  • Arms: Compared to the underarms, the skin of your arms are thick enough to withstand the pain. Several providers skip the numbing cream for the arms altogether because of how mild the sensation is.
  • Stomach: Your abdomen is covered in thick skin so there is much less pain. In fact, you may find yourself feeling the laser pulses to be ticklish on your stomach during the process. 
  • Bikini line: The bikini area is especially sensitive to the pain. If you’ve ever tried waxing your bikini line, you would have a good idea of how laser hair removal will feel down there. Unlike waxing that takes only a split second, laser removal takes much longer. The upside is that results last for much longer, requiring far fewer sessions overall. 

Making Laser Hair Removal Hurt Less 

If you are considering getting laser hair removal done, the most important thing to do is to find a board-certified dermatologist who can guarantee you a safe and effective treatment. 

A professional technician can lower the strength of the laser if you’re feeling too much pain. While zapping away your unwanted hair, a good technician would always keep your comfort as the priority. 

Another reason to find a qualified provider is that they would have access to good-quality numbing cream. Certain treatment areas are very sensitive so medical anesthetic cream would need to be used. Unfortunately, excessive use of numbing cream has been linked to life-threatening side effects. A professional provider would know to apply the right amount of numbing cream onto your skin. 

It’s also best to find a licensed technician rather than risking a visit to a cheap “laser center” or buying at-home laser kits. Untrained or unqualified technicians can damage your skin by scarring or burning. At-home laser kits aren’t as risky and may be less painful to use, but they’re not very effective at removing all the unwanted hairs. 

Hair Removal Alternatives You Can Try 

Not everyone is prepared to handle the potential discomfort or pricey cost of laser hair removal. If you’re still unsure of how you want to remove unwanted hairs, here are a few alternatives you can consider: 

  • Depilatories: Depilatories are chemical-based products you can apply to your skin which dissolve unwanted hairs that can be rinsed away easily. Unfortunately, depilatories cause a lot of side effects like blisters, burns, or rashes. 
  • Shaving: Shaving is considered to be the least painful method to remove unwanted hairs. As long as you’re careful, you can avoid accidentally cutting yourself or getting a razor burn. The only downside to shaving is that the results don’t last long and you need to shave regularly — which is tedious and time consuming. 
  • Plucking: Plucking is a time consuming method since you need to tweeze out each individual strand of hair. On the plus side, results do last longer with few side effects. 
  • Waxing: In terms of pain levels, waxing is up there with laser hair removal. The problem with waxing is that results only last for a few weeks and you may irritate your skin or get rashes after a wax session. 
  • Electrolysis: Electrolysis is a medical treatment similar to laser hair removal. Instead of destroying hair follicles with laser heat, electrolysis does this using radio frequencies. It’s not as painful as laser hair removal but you may experience rashes and swelling

Experience Comfortable Hair Removal at Ethos Spa 

Laser hair removal machine at med spa

Only well-trained professionals can guarantee a safe and painless laser hair removal session

At Ethos Spa, we prioritize our patients’ comfort above all. Our certified technicians and staff members work hard to give patients a world-class experience. We have handled hundreds of patients with various levels of pain tolerance so we know how to adjust to different needs. Book a free consultation for laser hair removal with Ethos Spa today. 

Read more: Which Is Better: Braun or Philips IPL?