One of the most common questions I get here at Rocky Mountain Laser College is “Does laser hair removal hurt?” The short answer is: Yes, it hurts. However, let me explain a few things first. First, pain tolerance is different for everyone. And second, there are different reasons for pain when you’re getting a laser treatment done.

For laser hair removal, lasers are attracted to pigment – the darker the hair color, the better the results will be. If you have blonde, white or grey hair, the laser cannot “see” the hair and literally passes right through it. Olive or darker skin types have more melanin in the skin, making it also a target for the laser. For these skin types you have to use a longer and deeper wavelength. Darker skin and dark hair patients will have more discomfort during their treatments than someone with light skin and dark hair. Light skin has less melanin in the skin so you can use a shorter, less deep wavelength to disable the hairs. Shorter wavelengths are typically less painful.

Pain also depends on which area you’re getting a treatment on. For women, the bikini area seems to be the most painful, similar to a rubber band snap each time the laser pulses. For men, the face and neck hurt more than other areas. On men’s necks, the skin is thinner and the hairs are dark and coarse, making a bigger target for the laser and causing more pain. Any area that has dark coarse hair will hurt more than areas that have thinner hairs. A topical numbing agent can be applied on areas that hurt, making treatments more comfortable. However, most laser hair removal treatments do not require numbing.

In summary, laser hair removal can cause pain, but the level of pain depends on a variety of factors including skin tone, hair tone, and the target area. If you have concerns about the pain associated with laser hair removal, or if you have any other laser hair removal questions, we welcome you to contact us.