Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt? Honest Opinions from Experts, Med-Spa Staff, and One of Our Editors
You did all the research, tossed your old razors in the trash, and booked your appointment. There's just one question left: Does laser hair removal hurt? We've asked the laser-experienced for their input: experts, staff from a Chicago med-spa, and one of our editors, who decided to try it for herself.
Does laser hair removal hurt?
The general consensus is that laser hair removal hurts less than waxing. It's often compared to being snapped by a rubber band. But it's also largely based on your personal pain tolerance and the area of the body being lasered. Your technician may provide a numbing cream upon request or you can take an over-the-counter painkiller beforehand.
If you'd like the lowdown from those on the frontlines, here's what the staff at Chicago's BEaUtify at AMS said when we asked them, "What does laser hair removal feel like?"
"At first it feels cool, and then it gets warmer and warmer and then all you feel is the heat and the movement." – Jeannie Caltagirone, aesthetician
"I always say it feels like the hairs are pulling. A little bit of a pulling sensation, and then heat building up." – Edith Bayran, owner
"It feels like putting a hot towel against your skin." – Audrey, receptionist
"[The laser] heats up the hair follicle and the surrounding tissue. The temperature it creates is about 45 degrees Celsius [113 degrees Fahrenheit], so imagine holding something that warm up against your skin." – Dr. Neema Bayran, medical director
Though she was discouraged by the experiences of her boyfriend and coworker—one of whom had a session so painful he never went back for his follow-ups—our beauty editor Favin decided to find out for herself the answer to the question Does laser hair removal hurt?
She opted to get laser hair removal on her underarms at Chicago's BEaUtify at AMS to get laser hair removal on her underarms. Because the laser used at BEaUtify at AMS, the Alma Soprano ICE, has a cooling mechanism built into the handpiece, "All I could [feel] were some pinpricks, so faint that if the treatment had lasted a bit longer, I could have probably fallen asleep," Favin says. "Jeannie spent 140 seconds on each underarm, and by the end, I was amazed at how much it hadn't hurt, especially since my pain tolerance is pretty low."
In Favin's experience, her skin was most sensitive after the treatment: "When I reapplied my deodorant immediately afterward . . . my skin felt a bit raw."
Her verdict: "It really wasn't that bad." In fact, she considered follow-up treatments!
The best candidates for laser hair removal are:
- Lighter skinned (though it is safe for people of color as well; speak to your practitioner for more details)
- Dark haired
- Aware that results can vary
- Untanned (lasers can burn skin that's heavily tanned)
This article has been updated by Groupon Editors. It was previously published and originally written in a slightly different form.
Our guide to laser hair removal basics
How to choose from all the different types of hair removal lasers
We'll help you decide on a good provider, plan your course of treatment, and keep your skin healthy throughout.
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