If you have decided to have your hair in a certain area permanently removed through a series of laser treatments, then you can usually expect 6–8 treatments with an intensely focused laser. In most situations, the laser works on an area of skin less than an inch in diameter and is repeatedly moved around the area you want to remove the hair from until the entire section has been treated. Although the process should not be overly painful, you may experience some discomfort during your hair removal treatments. Here are a few ways to reduce that discomfort.
Ask for a Topical Anesthetic
Because the pain and discomfort associated with laser hair removal is considered minimal, similar to waxing your hair, topical anesthetic creams may not be recommended by your clinician. However, if you find that the pain is more than you expect or is difficult to bear, you should feel free to ask for a topical anesthetic. Topical anesthetics come in gels, creams, and patches and are applied to your skin a few minutes before treatment begins. If you are having hair removed from a small area, such as your upper lip, a single application of an anesthetic should be enough to reduce your pain for the entire session.
Shave the Area 1–2 Days Before Your Appointment
You should not pluck or wax your hair for about a month before your appointment, because it is important that you have hair growth in the follicle during your laser treatment. However, depending on the rate of your hair growth, your hair may grow so long during that month that it can reduce the effectiveness of the laser and increase your risk of topical burns. This is because the hairs outside of your skin can burn and then touch your skin, creating tiny burns. To reduce this risk, talk to your clinician about shaving before your appointment. They will discuss your hair growth patterns with you and recommend the ideal time to shave.
Communicate With Your Clinician
Any time you feel pain or discomfort, you should tell your clinician. You should also tell your clinician if you do not feel any discomfort, as this may mean that the laser is set too low for your skin and hair type. By communicating with your clinician you will experience a more effective and comfortable treatment process.
While laser hair removal may not be completely painless, it should not be extremely painful. If you experience a high level of discomfort you may want to stop your session and discuss pain management options with your clinician.