Factors in hair removal pain

Everyone experiences pain differently. For some, hair removal causes almost no sensation. For most, it’s painful at times, but basically bearable. Most clients can get effective treatment on all but the most sensitive areas by taking no more than a couple of Tylenol. For an unlucky few, it’s the most excruciating thing they’ve ever experienced.

Just because it hurts doesn’t mean you’re a wimp. Recent data indicates that certain genes are predictors of low pain tolerance. It can actually cause psychological trauma for some– those with a low tolerance to pain sometimes discontinue hair removal, which leaves them with a feeling of frustration and despair, which tends to make them much more obsessive of their condition.

Here are the main factors that will affect how hair removal feels for you:

Your pain threshold

Not only is every person’s pain threshold different, your own threshold will vary from day to day, minute to minute, and from one body area to another.

What method of hair removal you use

Each method feels different, and one may be easier for you than another. It varies by person.

What methods of pain reduction you use

From cheap and easy options to highly effective topical anesthetics, there is a solution to make hair removal tolerable.

Your choice of practitioner

Electrologist, waxing, and laser technician skill plays a tremendous role in how it feels. I have had simultaneous treatment from two electrologists where one’s method caused no pain, and the other’s had me jumping off the table. See my tips on choosing an electrologist and choosing a laser practitioner.

How long you have been getting treatment

Some clients feel they get more sensitive to the pain over time, while others feel the opposite.

Your stress level

Adrenaline and tension can exacerbate the pain. Try to be calm and relaxed when you go to treatment.

Your comfort level during treatment

Take off your shoes, your belt, empty your pockets, wear loose clothes. The more comfortable you are, the more relaxed you’ll be. If you’re too hot or cold, it may also have an effect.

Amount of energy needed to remove your hairs

More energy often means more pain.

Whether you are on medications

Certain medications affect the pain of hair removal, either positively or negatively.

Modality of electrolysis or type of laser used

With electrolysis some people can’t take galvanic at all, some can’t stand thermolysis. With light-based methods, some find flash lamp unbearable, while others prefer it to lasers.

Time of day

Some people prefer treatment in the morning when they’re not very awake; others prefer at night when they’re tired. For some reason I find it helps to do it tired. I get much more relaxed. Keep in mind that a practitioner might be fresher in the morning, too, which can affect performance.

Time of month

Many women find hair removal more painful just before or during their periods.

Your diet

Stimulants (especially caffeine) and sugar may make you more sensitive to pain. Try to avoid them. Also, many people find doing hair removal right after a meal helps manage the pain.

Pages in this section:

What’s it feel like?

 Risks in hair removal pain management

Factors that affect pain

Over 30 pain reduction tips

EMLA application tips

Other topical anesthetics