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The Truth About Laser Hair Removal: Does It Hurt?

does laser hair removal hurt

You’re probably aware that laser hair removal is a more effective, longer-lasting hair removal method than shaving, waxing, or plucking. 

But what about pain? Waxing and shaving (thank you, razor burn) can be painful, both during and after—is laser hair removal any different?

The truth is, yes! Laser hair removal can be significantly less painful than waxing. Most people also find this treatment to cause less pain and discomfort than shaving or plucking, too. We get it: pain is subjective, but from the thousands of guests we’ve spoken to, here’s our assessment. 

In the sections below, we’ll step through how laser hair removal works, what it feels like, and how it compares to other hair removal methods in terms of pain and discomfort. 

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Traditional methods for hair removal either involve cutting the hair (shaving) or pulling it out (plucking or waxing). Both of these methods are rough on the skin and can cause significant pain and irritation. Laser hair removal is a third option for getting rid of unwanted hair—an option that requires neither blades nor pulling. 

Laser hair removal is considered a non-invasive treatment, meaning there’s no use of tools that physically enter the body or break the skin. The tool used is a laser device that directs a highly concentrated beam of light at hairs on the face or body. In the form of heat, the light energy damages hair follicles under the surface of the skin. This results in the prevention of future hair growth. 

Laser hair removal is typically provided in a course of six to eight treatments, with four to six weeks between sessions. During that time, the treatment area continues to shed old hair while new growth diminishes. The results of a treatment course usually last for around six months to one year. Sometimes, hair growth disappears for several years or even permanently. With minimal touch-ups needed, you can be on your way to smooth skin - for life!

Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt? 

During a laser hair removal session, a laser hair removal specialist starts by cleaning the guest’s skin where the treatment will be performed. If you forgot to shave (yes, you have to shave before getting laser hair removal!), your technician will shave you. Then, they spread a protective jelly over the skin. This jelly feels cold. Many guests describe the light tickling from the jelly as the most challenging part of their laser hair removal treatment!

Next, the specialist goes to work with the lasers, shining the light across the surface of the skin. This usually takes 15–30 minutes, depending on how large of an area you’re getting treated. 

During treatment, guests may experience warm, tingling sensations on the surface of the skin. The feeling is often described as similar to a rubber band snapping lightly against the skin. While some pain and discomfort may occur (we know everyone’s pain tolerance is different!), these effects are generally minimal to mild, not intense. 

Pain and Discomfort: Laser Hair Removal Vs. Shaving, Plucking, and Waxing

There are no official statistics or research papers comparing the pain and discomfort caused by laser hair removal, waxing, shaving, and plucking. However, the typical reactions to these methods and the language used to describe them offer a clear picture of the amount of pain and discomfort they cause. 

It’s safe to say that waxing is the most painful hair removal procedure. Waxing involves the use of sticky wax that adheres to the skin. Then, the hair is swiftly yanked out by the roots. During the moment in which a wax strip is ripped off, the pain can be incredibly intense. Some would even describe this moment as a 10/10 on the pain scale. This painful moment must be repeated for each treatment area. Some pain or sensitivity may linger after the session. 

Shaving is less painful than waxing, but often causes painful cuts and scrapes and can leave your skin feeling raw. Plus, shaving only removes hair at the surface, thus the results only last for a day or two. Frequent shaving is expensive, time-consuming, and often causes irritations such as razor bumps and burns. 

Plucking removes hair by the root, like waxing. However, because only one hair is removed at a time, plucking is less painful than waxing. Unfortunately, it’s an inefficient process that’s only useful for very small areas. 

Meanwhile, laser hair removal is the best of the best: guests report it hardly hurting and the results are more effective and longer-lasting than other hair removal methods. 

Book Your Laser Hair Removal Consultation in Eden Prairie, MN

If you’re ready to break up with your razor and say farewell to waxing, Chapter Aesthetic Studio is here to help! In just 6–8 easy treatments, you can achieve long-lasting, beautifully smooth skin. 

If you’re located in the Eden Prairie, Minnesota region, book your free virtual consultation today to get started.