Laser Hair Removal – How to Minimize Discomfort

September 13, 2010 in Hair Removal 101,Laser hair removal

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Though gentler laser equipments are available today, it is still possible for laser hair removal to cause discomfort or slight pain. As the hair follicles are being burnt, a hot sensation can be felt. This sensation is usually described as a sharp rubber band snapping against the skin. The level of discomfort during a laser hair removal session will also depend on the skin type, density and thickness of the hair as well as which body area is being treated. Individuals with dark skin are extra sensitive because they have additional pigmentation which absorbs more of the laser. Clients with dense hair can also experience more discomfort. However, a positive fact is that after each treatment, the hair usually becomes thinner, which will reduce discomfort. Since pain is individual, what might be tolerable for one person can be excruciating to another. That being said some lasers do cause more discomfort than others.

There are several ways to minimize discomfort during a laser hair removal session. One of the most common ways is to apply a topical anesthetic cream, also called a numbing cream, 30-45 minutes prior to the treatment. A numbing cream can make the treatment more tolerable. Most practitioners usually carry their own specific numbing cream which they recommend. Most of these creams begin to work after ten minutes and are in full effect about half hour later. Cooling the area with ice before, during and after treatment can also help.

Some believe that the newer “Lumenis LightSheer Duet” laser device causes no pain at all during laser hair removal. And that the use of this laser eliminates the need for numbing creams, even on sensitive areas like the bikini line. This laser machine uses suction and a large head which apparently minimizes discomfort. Another laser type that can minimize pain is the “GentleYAG” laser because it delivers a shot of cryogen (freezing liquid) prior to each laser pulse. The cryogen will cool and protect the skin during treatment. Air cooling with a chiller, such as the “Zimmer Chiller” machine before, during or after treatment can also help.  Newer laser machines usually do come with a built-in cooling system, but if these newer laser machines are not available to you, a good numbing cream could be the next best choice.

Additionally, over the counter pain medication can be taken 30 minutes before treatment to aid with discomfort. The practitioner can also minimize the pain by reducing the frequency of pulses and lowering the laser setting if the pain cannot be tolerated.

While newer laser hair removal machines result in minimal to no pain, it is definitely possible to experience discomfort when undergoing a laser hair removal session. This is why it is essential to communicate any pain to the practitioner so that he or she can take steps to minimize it. If you do experience discomfort during a laser hair removal session, don’t hesitate to let the practitioner know.

Photo via michaelcyancy

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