10 Laser Hair Removal Tips to Avoid Pain | The Coward’s Guide

10 Laser Hair Removal Tips to Avoid Pain | The Coward’s Guide

Great Laser Hair Removal Tips for Survival

Laser Hair Removal Tips and Advice You Can’t Ignore

Laser hair removal in the right hands produces great results but it is not fun. It’s not like a massage or a relaxing spa treatment. You won’t feel pampered while the laser is snuffing out your unwanted hair.

The discomfort or pain that many people feel during a laser hair removal treatment is from the heat of the laser.

Many of the following tips are designed to cool the area that is going to be treated.  Cooling the skin over the hair that is to be treated significantly cancels out the discomfort caused by the heat from the laser light.

Before you learn the following really helpful tips to avoid pain during laser hair removal, read these hidden secrets about laser hair removal that will save you money and help you discover how not to be taken advantage of when paying for laser hair removal – no matter where you live! 

Pain is very subjective. Sensitivity to the zapping varies greatly from person to person. The earlier sessions are more uncomfortable because there is more hair and the hair is coarser.

As your treatments progress, the discomfort is less. There are fewer hairs to absorb the heat of the laser and the hairs are generally finer. Less heat, less discomfort.

Laser Hair Removal Tip #1

Choose the right laser office that has the right laser.

The most comfortable laser has a cooling jet of frozen gas called Cryogen that sprays the targeted areas milliseconds before the laser zap.

Laser Hair Removal Tip #2

Take Tylenol, Aleve, or Motrin before your treatment.

Anti inflammatories like Aleve, Motrin (also called Ibuprofen), and Advil work the best. Take these medications as prescribed on the bottle. A common mistake is to overdo it. Always take these anti inflammatory medications with food.

Laser Hair Removal Tip #3

Ask the technician to apply an ice pack or cooling Aloe Vera right before and after the laser treatment. It soothes and cools the treated area. Just like when you get sunburn.

You can also ask the laser technician to apply Aloe Vera and leave it on the areas to be treated. That helps to cool down the treated area.

Laser Hair Removal Tip #4

Make sure the laser center is not using Intense Pulsed Light or IPL and calling it laser. Intense pulsed light does not use a cooling device and hurts a lot more.

In the early days of intense pulsed light treatments, technicians tried to add a cooling device to one of the early IPL machines called Photoderm. The cooling device made the treatment ineffective. It was abandoned.

Shimon Eckhouse, an aerospace engineer, originally designed intense pulsed light to burn the paint off fighter jets. Imagine how that would feel on your skin.

Laser Hair Removal Tip #5

Bring a squeeze ball.

You can buy them on Amazon for less than ten dollars. People use them to conquer pain, stress or injury. My patients have used them successfully in the past with great results.

Squeezing stress balls divert your attention. They relax you and lessen tension and stress. Let’s face it; laser hair removal can be stressful for people.

The stimulation of squeezing the ball may work sort of like acupressure. In acupuncture, stimulation of one area takes your mind off other body parts.

Laser Hair Removal Tip #6

Numbing creams.

The best is Benzocaine 20%, Lidocaine 6%, and Tetracaine 5%. This is better known as BLT cream. In addition, EMLA cream (which is just 2.5% lidocaine and 2.5% prilocaine) or ELA Max is an over-the-counter numbing cream that doesn’t require a prescription.

These creams can only be used for small areas only like the face, underarms or bikini.

WARNING: Numbing creams are NOT to be used for large areas like the legs, back, chest, or when multiple areas are to be done on the same day.

EMLA can be applied to small areas right before your session. Make sure a physician is supervising the recommendation. People have died from an overdose of lidocaine cream before laser hair removal when it is applied to large areas.

Only if a physician directly supervises and gives you instructions is this safe to use. Never use a plastic or cellophane wrap over the numbing cream.

Cellophane enhances the absorption of the lidocaine that has lead to death in more than one case before laser hair removal in the past. You will need to apply the cream about an hour before your laser treatment.

Laser Hair Removal Tip #7

Ask your laser physician about Valium before your laser treatment.

If your laser physician prescribes valium, do not drive a car on the day of a laser treatment. Valium has a long half-life, which means it takes a long time to wear off. You will need a ride on the day of your treatment. Driving a car on the day that you take valium or a sedative is like driving drunk.

Valium helps by relaxing you. You still feel the zaps but you just don’t care as much.

Alternatively, cutting out coffee and caffeine helps. The more hyper you are, the zappier the laser feels.

Laser Hair Removal Tip #8

Shave the area that you want treated before you come in for your appointment.

As the hair follicles are destroyed, less remaining hairs absorb the heat of the laser. Remember it’s the heat that causes the discomfort.

Laser Hair Removal Tip #9

Ice is nice.

Don’t forget to ask you ask the laser technician for an ice pack just before the treatment to cool of the area to be treated.

It is also very helpful right after the treatment followed by the Aloe Vera mentioned before.

Laser Hair Removal Tip #10

Talk to the laser technician during your laser treatment. In surgical terms, this is called verbal anesthesia

Talking is a great diversion that works great during local surgical procedures that are done while you are awake. When you are not concentrating on what you are feeling and you are thinking of what you are going to say next, you don’t feel it as much.


Here’s the bottom line.

Laser hair removal can be much more tolerable if you heed the 10 tips listed above.

I would recommend that you make a copy of this article and read over it before each laser hair removal treatment.

Take the list with you for every treatment and show it to your consultant during your initial laser hair removal consultation.

Be careful when using numbing creams. A physician should supervise and prescribe these to you beforehand. Remember, people have overdosed from the numbing cream and died so this should not be taken lightly.

Bono Fortuna!

Let us know if you have any other suggestions. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email us here or call us at 724-969-0600.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.

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