Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt? What You Need to Know before Ditching the Razor for Good
Though normal, body hair can really be a nuisance. It can be unruly, unsightly, and even painful at times. For many people, a razor is the best way to keep body hair under control, but there are many drawbacks to this method. Most annoying is how often a razor must be used to keep your body hair in some kind order - people typically have to shave a few times a week to keep themselves smooth and well-groomed.
Of course, the best alternative to using a razor is to undergo laser hair removal. Does laser hair removal hurt, though? This is a common concern when it comes to this procedure. Thankfully, we've got everything you need to know about laser hair removal before you ditch your razor for good.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
In recent years, laser hair removal has become increasingly popular. Today, tons of salons exist where you can book a quick appointment to get yourself smooth and hairless for the beach, date night, or just because. But, does laser hair removal hurt? It sounds like it should, which may leave many individuals hesitant to try it. To understand a bit more about why laser hair removal might inspire some anxiety, let's take a closer look at what it is.
Laser hair removal is a procedure that beams highly concentrated light into hair follicles. The pigment in the follicles then absorbs that light until they are destroyed. It is one of the most commonly done cosmetic procedures in the United States according to WebMD. Laser hair removal can be done on most parts of the body and is especially useful for problem areas like sideburns, the upper lip, underarms, stomach, chest, and the bikini line. The procedure also comes with a number of benefits:
- Targets dark, coarse hairs
- Leaves the surrounding skin undamaged
- Works at high speeds for maximum hair removal
- Can lead to permanent hair loss so that treatment is needed less frequently over time
Who Should Get Laser Hair Removal Done?
Anyone who is tired of or sensitive to shaving, waxing, or tweezing should get laser hair removal done. It is also useful for those who simply don't have time for other hair removal methods. As mentioned, shaving, tweezing, and even waxing has to be done pretty frequently to be effective. Hair grows back rather quickly, meaning that having shaved one day does not mean completely smooth skin the next.
Typically, laser hair removal is reserved for adult use, but minors may partake so long as they have the consent of their parents or legal guardians. With this in mind, there is really no legal age to start laser hair removal, but certain factors must be taken into account. One is how the procedure feels. Does laser hair removal hurt? The answer varies from person to person and depends largely on where the hair is being removed from. Some parts of the body are more sensitive than others, which can lead to more pain for some individuals.
Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt?
If you were to ask a dermatologist or salon hand, "does laser hair removal hurt?" chances are you'll get mixed answers. For some, laser hair removal is incredibly painful. For others, the procedure hardly hurts at all. Of course, to answer this question, you can take a cue from how other hair removal techniques feel for you.
Do you have sensitive skin? Does shaving hurt? Is tweezing more painful than helpful? Does waxing cause you so much pain that you just can't do it anymore? If you answered affirmatively to any of the questions, chances are that laser hair removal might be painful for you. Since laser hair removal is done using hyper-concentrated light, i.e. lasers, you can expect some heat and a burning sensation. Some find them to feel like small zaps to the skin that are instantly cooled with a shot of cold air. After most visits, your technician will apply a serum or cream to help soothe the skin.
For some, laser hair removal requires some numbing cream to help ease the pain. While some have a higher tolerance for the pain, others have described it as feeling like being stung or snapped by an elastic band over and over again. The numbing cream is meant to help the area tolerate the pain a bit better, and some patrons really need it.
Some Frequently Asked Questions about Laser Hair Removal
In addition to, "does it hurt?" you probably have many other questions about laser hair removal. Knowing exactly what to expect helps ease anxiety for many people, so we hope that going over these frequently asked questions will touch on some of the other concerns you may have:
Does Laser Hair Removal Work on Any Skin Color?
Short answer: yes. There are some concerns that since laser hair removal targets the pigmentation in hair it is not suitable for darker skin. While some laser hair removal brands may work best on fair skin and dark hair, there are plenty of brands that cater specifically to darker skin tones and hair. If you're concerned, do your research on the best brands for varied skin tones.
Can You Get Laser Hair Removal Done Anywhere?
Yes, you can get laser hair removal done just about anywhere. There are some areas that are off limits, like the eyebrows. This is because of the risk of the eyes being damaged by the light. Aside from anywhere near your eyes, laser hair removal can be done anywhere - even those unmentionable places. For the sake of full disclosure, however, we're going to go ahead and mention them:
- Private parts
- Nipple hairs
Yep, when we say almost anywhere, we really mean it. Be warned, however, that the more intimate the area, the more pain you may experience.
Is There Anything You Can Do to Prep?
You should definitely do some prep before undergoing laser hair removal. You want the process to be as quick and painless as can be, so doing your part can go a long way. Typically, you'll be asked to shave the area you want to be lasered a day or two before your appointment. So, if you want a Brazilian, a smooth bum, or literally anything else, be sure to shave it down beforehand. If you decide to not shave yourself, be aware that some salons will charge a fee for shaving you!
How Long Does it Take?
Laser hair removal is surprisingly quick. A lot depends on your technician's style and experience, as well as how many breaks you may need during the procedure to help manage the pain. For the most part, though, laser hair removal can be done in thirty minutes or less, depending on where you're getting it done.
So Really, Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt?
Like we said, laser hair removal does hurt, but how much it hurts depends on you and some other factors. Think about where you're getting hair removed, your pain threshold, and even your technician. Usually, your technician got the job because they know what they're doing and how to not just be effective but quick as well. With this in mind, your technician's skill level should cause you the least amount of anxiety.
This just leaves the area of removal and your own pain threshold. Intimate areas like the bikini line can be highly sensitive and may require the use of numbing cream or a couple of breaks. Other areas like your bottom, your face, your nipples, and even under your arms may be less sensitive but still prone to pain. Be cognizant of the different areas and how they respond to sharp pain. If you feel you can't handle it, you can always stick to shaving!
Finally, if you know you have a low tolerance for pain, laser hair removal just may not be for you. The use of lasers, the slight burning and stinging, and the discomfort afterward as you recover may just be too much if you don't have have a high pain tolerance. If you have concerns about how painful the procedure will be, consider getting it done with your dermatologist rather than in a salon. Dermatologists will usually have better equipment which leads to heightened precision and a faster experience.
Why You Might Choose Laser Hair Removal Over a Razor
So, there you have it. Does laser hair removal hurt? It does, but some people find it manageable. If you aren't sure about ditching your razor in favor of lasers, consider the following drawbacks that come with razors:
- Razors can cause stubble, bumps, and ingrown hairs
- Razors can get dull and rust quickly
- Razors can be expensive and must be bought frequently
- You're subjected to a heightened risk of irritation and wounds/cuts
If you think you're ready for laser hair removal, be sure to do your research, speak to your doctor, and find a salon or dermatologist you trust.