How much does laser hair removal hurt?
Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic physician, liposuctionist)
Templestowe Lower and Berwick Clinics
Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2004, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction, fat transfer, skin needling, and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections. Read More
As you get out of the car, you double-check your makeup in the mirror. You want to look good for a night at your best friend’s home. But as the sunlight hits your face, you get a shock. There appears to be hair on the sides of your face and above your upper lip that you’ve never noticed before!
You know it’s not the time or place to start worrying about hair on your face, but it’s a concern. It reminds you of your school Principal. She was in her late 50’s and at the start of school term she was clean-shaven. At the end of term, she had grey and black hair sprouts on her chin and face.
Over dinner you mention what you saw in the mirror. Your friend went to the same school and also laughs about the school Principal’s hairy face. And then you both remember the music teacher’s face. He always wore a shirt and tie and around the shirt collar you recall the ingrown hairs and red skin. Relaxing on the couch, you summon up the confidence to broach the subject.
“Do I have hair on my face? Because if I do, that’s okay. I know there are hair removal treatments available now that are effective. But please be honest, because I don’t want to look like our school Principal!”
Leaning in close to your face, she hugs you and sighs. And that’s when the conversation gets deep and meaningful – about hair removal options. You recall what your mother said about shaving your legs, “don’t do it too early or you’ll get extra hairy and thick hair growing back.” Your friend remembers her mum plucking at her eyebrows and chin hairs at the traffic lights on the way to school. And who can forget the pain and potential embarrassment of waxing! You start searching online and that’s when you read about the benefits of laser hair removal treatments including:
- Saving money: A reduction of hair growth means you’ll save money on shaving cream, razors and depilatory creams. And with no more waxing appointments, you’ll save time and money!
- Laser treatments eliminate and prevent ingrown hairs: Ingrown hairs can be painful and embarrassing. Laser hair removal is very effective at eliminating and preventing ingrown hairs.
But as you’re sitting there taking in all the information about laser hair removal, one thing nags at you, ‘will laser hair removal hurt?’
Will I get discomfort during laser hair removal?
Since 2005, we’ve been providing treatments. It’s normal to feel concerned about possible discomfort during treatment. Highly trained nurses and skin practitioners undertake our process.
The laser wavelength we use for your hair removal depends on your skin type, pain threshold, the number of laser sessions you’ve had and whether you sunburn or suntan easily. Because everyone experiences laser treatments differently, the nurse and skin practitioner always starts the laser treatment slowly. This ensures you’ll always be comfortable.
The laser treatment feels like an elastic band is flicked on your skin in a repetitive, fast action. Most of our patients tolerate this feeling very well.
The treatments we use have cooling properties to reduce any pain you may experience. And the best thing? These cooling tips increase the size and density of hair follicles being treated so you get the best results. During your treatment you’ll be wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes. For maximum hygiene, privacy and comfort we use disposable gowns and bed protectors.
While the laser treatment is fast (an underarm can be done in a few minutes) we never rush you out of the treatment room. After your laser skin treatment we use a post laser gel designed specifically for laser skin procedures. We also provide icepacks and aloe vera gel to help reduce any redness or pain.
What types of hair removal laser treatment do you offer?
We offer several treatments using medical grade lasers that have different laser wavelengths. This helps us tailor our laser hair removal treatment to suit your hair colour and thickness as well as your skin type.
Our Doctors and Nurses can use the Apogee Elite laser to easily remove your unwanted hair. This versatile hair removal laser effectively combines a skin cooling used with a skin-cooling machine called a Zimmer cooler. As the skin surface layer is cooled, the laser penetrates the cool skin to the hair follicles. This minimises skin damage and reduces any discomfort.
We can also use the Medlite laser to remove your hair. This treatment can retard your hair growth, including finer hairs that other laser hair removal treatments can’t treat. It’s important to note that Medlite laser doesn’t work on grey hairs.
What is the difference between IPL and laser hair removal treatment?
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is the most commonly used machine for hair removal. Using broad bandwidths of light frequencies, IPL can effectively remove hair. However, because it’s not a laser IPL can’t specifically focus on treating the hair follicle. This means there’s a probability that skin pigmentation issues and blistering may occur after IPL hair removal treatment.
We do not use or own IPL machines at Victorian Cosmetic Institute. We only use lasers for hair removal treatment. The different lasers we use are used for different skin types and conditions. Laser treatments are specific to a target and have result in fewer complications and side effects. Find out more about the differences between IPL and laser treatment here
How many laser hair removal treatments do I need?
To achieve a 60-80% reduction in hair growth, we recommend 4 to 8 sessions scheduled at 4 to 8 weekly intervals. We suggest 4 to 8 treatments because laser hair removal is most effective when hairs are in the active growth (anagen) phase. To reduce the growth of hair, multiple treatments ensure the hair follicles in their anagen phase are captured. The intervals between each treatment are decreased in areas like the face, which usually has a shorter hair cycle.
While laser hair removal permanently removes existing hairs, it won’t prevent the growth of new hairs. After the initial sessions, we recommend periodic re-treatment. Our patients tell us that having laser hair removal makes it easier for them to manage their hair. They no longer have to spend as much time waxing, shaving or plucking hair.
Is hair removal by laser treatment safe?
Laser hair removal treatments have been used since the 1990’s to reduce unwanted hair on the face and body. Since 2005, we’ve been using laser treatments to remove hair. The laser hair removal process helps to reduce hair growth while reducing excess hair growth in the long term. The laser energy selectively targets and disrupts hair follicles without affecting the surrounding skin.
Some of our patients ask us if there is a relationship between skin cancers and laser hair removal – there is no relationship. Skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet (UV) spectrum and the laser wavelengths used for hair removal are not close to the UV spectrum.
The best treatment for female neck and face hairs
Females with hair on their neck and face can feel distressed and embarrassed. Trying to manage this on a daily basis can be really hard. Hormonal issues including polycystic ovarian syndrome can lead increased hair growth on the face and neck. It’s also common for peri-menopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal women to experience face and neck hair growth. Our patients love the way laser hair removal has helped them manage their face and neck hair. We recommend it is performed every 4 weeks on the neck and face.
The best treatment for male ingrown neck hairs
We treat a lot of men who have ingrown hairs in their face and neck. Regular shaving can aggravate the skin, which can cause marks and acne. After laser hair removal treatment, our male patients appreciate the way their face and neck looks and feels. This ingrown neck hair case study shows the difference between a treated area and untreated neck and face area.
What to expect after your treatment
After your laser hair removal it’s very important to avoid the sun. Using sunscreen everyday will help protect the treated area as well as reducing the likelihood of pigmentation problems. While it’s uncommon, some patients can get scabs or blisters after their treatment. If this occurs, it’s important not to scratch or pick them as in rare cases they can become irritated or infected.
Sometimes the skin that’s been treated by laser can appear slightly red or swollen. Applying aloe vera gel will reduce the skin irritation.
In rare cases, laser hair removal on the upper lip can reactivate cold sores. If this happens, contact your treating doctor immediately.
The best skin care use after laser hair removal
It’s important to use the right skin care products after your laser hair removal treatment. Aspect Post Laser Gel is a cooling, calming gel that minimises irritation and diffuses any redness. With antioxidant properties, the gel hydrates, protects, soothes and reduces heat.
PCA Body Therapy is a therapeutic full body moisturiser. The hydrating formula with 12% Lactic Acid reduces skin cell build up, decreases bacteria and inhibits unwanted pigmentation. The smooth formula softens skin and maintains moisture without greasiness. It’s important to not use this on the day of your laser hair removal treatment and to only resume using this moisturiser 24 hours after your treatment.
Synergie B-juvenate is a cosmeceutical body treatment. Formulated with 8% Niacinamide it improves skin health, tone, texture and hydration levels. The macadamia, jojoba and avocado oils ensure your whole body feels softer, smoother and hydrated.
Laser hair removal treatments at Victorian Cosmetic Institute
We use the latest medical grade laser technology to perform your hair removal treatment. Fully trained, highly experienced laser operators who have laser safety certificates will perform your treatment. If required, we have Cosmetic Doctors on site who are able to provide further assistance and support. Find out more about our laser hair removal treatment here
At your initial laser hair removal consultation, where discuss what is a realistic and achievable outcome, and what to expect from your laser treatment. Book a consultation today.