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“No Pain, No Gain” No Longer Applies to Laser Hair Removal

There seems to be a widespread belief that for something to really work well there is some kind of sacrifice that needs to be made. When it came to hair removal, that sacrifice usually meant pain or discomfort. It’s remarkable to think how much discomfort people will endure to achieve hair removal. Let’s consider waxing, for example. Hot wax is applied to the skin and hair, which then adheres to a sticky paper material after which the strip is violently ripped away from the body. Ouch! To think that this violent method, still widely performed by millions of people, merely provides temporary hair removal is nothing if not troublesome.

It’s little wonder then that those same people who have endured the pain and inconvenience of waxing for temporary hair removal purposes would be fully prepared to bite the bullet when undergoing laser hair removal treatments. Indeed during the early days of laser hair removal, pain and discomfort was a part of the deal. Hair removal lasers were touted as a means to remove hair with long term or even permanent results, with nothing but a “snapping rubber band” type sensation. Has anyone snapped you with a rubber band for hours on end? That hardly sounds pleasant, but that description was generally true when applied to laser hair removal.

Why Do Some Hair Removal Laser Hurt More than Others?

There are several factors that dictate how much or how little discomfort one will experience during a laser hair removal treatment. First, it starts with the body site. We have varying amounts of sensory clusters, or nerves, in different parts of our body. Therefore it stands to reason that when undergoing hair removal, certain body sites are going to be more prone to sensitivity that others. The underarms, for instance, are considered a fairly sensitive area, as is the pubic region.

Secondly, skin tone can also be a factor in how much discomfort one will experience, especially with certain types of hair removal lasers. Since hair removal lasers are attracted to pigment and their form of energy produces heat, the more energy absorbed in the skin likely corresponds to the amount of sensation one will experience during laser hair removal.

Thirdly, there are biological considerations at play when it comes to women seeking hair removal. Specifically, women should avoid hair removal treatments during their menstruation cycles. You may think during these times of the month you are more sensitive emotionally, but you are also much more sensitive physically.

Finally, perhaps the greatest factor dictating discomfort with laser hair removal is the type of laser used. There have been multiple generations of lasers introduced over the years for hair removal purposes. The progressive improvement in laser technology for hair removal has largely focused on the laser’s wavelength, or depth of penetration. When considering hair removal, the longer the wavelength, the further away the laser’s energy is absorbed in the surface of the skin and the closer to the root of the hair. There is a dual benefit to this principle of laser hair removal: not only is there less energy absorbed in the skin – which typically translates into less discomfort – but there is more energy directed at the hair follicle, which is ultimately the laser’s target for long term or permanent hair removal. When it comes to laser hair removal, this is truly the “win-win” that people should be seeking.

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