Emla Article

Ready, Set, Go Bare: 7 Tips for a More Comfortable Laser Hair Removal

by | May 28, 2024

Close-up of a female cosmetologist in a medical coat making a young woman  a procedure laser hair removal for leg.

Ever been caught out in an embarrassing ‘hairy’ situation because you didn’t plan ahead? Waxing, shaving, plucking or even bleaching hair are only temporary fixes, but if you are looking for long-term hair reduction for smooth, hair-free skin, then laser hair removal may be the answer.

Using lasers as a way of removing unwanted hair is now more affordable and accessible than ever, but whether you have it done professionally or use a home device, the treatment can be painful.

Understanding laser hair removal

So how do lasers remove hair? It’s all about the light and how the energy contained in the light of the laser beam is transferred to the hair:


  • The pigment (melanin) in hair absorbs the light energy
  • The light energy is converted to heat
  • The hair heats up and the part of the hair root where new hair cells are made is destroyed, delaying hair growth.
skin anatomy with labels

Laser hair removal works best on dark hair and hairs that are actively growing – since not all hairs grow at the same time and hair comes in lots of different shades – this can mean multiple potentially painful laser treatments may be needed to get the best long-term results.

The effectiveness of laser hair removal lies mostly with your genes (those responsible for your skin and hair colour) and in the hands of your laser technician (the laser type and technique being used, and how experienced they are) – but there are steps you can take yourself to ensure your treatments are as effective and as comfortable as possible.

Here are a few tips to help prepare yourself for your next laser hair removal session and help ensure you get the best out of the experience.

Tips to elevate your laser hair removal experience

1. Choose a reputable clinic

It’s important to do your homework, ask around and find a clinic that you feel comfortable with. Working with a skilled professional with up-to-date equipment and proven results can help ensure you’re confident that you will get the best results you can. 

Make sure they offer a skin patch test before your first session. This is an important first step as it helps determine the settings for the laser and how your skin will react to the procedure.

If you are worried about pain, a reputable clinic should be able to advise you on the best ways to minimise the discomfort both during and after the procedure.

2. Use a Numbing Cream

Pain is a common side effect of skin laser treatments, but laser hair removal doesn’t have to hurt. There are ways you can manage or reduce the pain and when it comes to laser hair removal, one commonly used method to alleviate the problem is to use a skin numbing cream, such as Emla.

Using Emla skin numbing cream before each of your laser hair removal sessions temporarily blocks the skin’s pain sensors so you feel less pain and more comfortable throughout the whole process.

Learn more about Emla and laser hair removal. 

Emla skin cream

3. Avoid excessive sun exposure

Laser treatments are most effective when the hairs are much darker than the surrounding skin, plus the darker the skin the more likely it is to become damaged.

Being out in the sun means your skin will start to tan and darken – so for the best hair removal results try to stay out of the sun for a few days before each of your treatment sessions or remember to use sunscreen, especially on exposed areas.

4. Cleanse and exfoliate

A little skin TLC before laser hair removal may be needed to make sure your skin is smooth and moisturised. If you are removing facial hair, avoid chemical peels and other laser procedures on the treatment area for at least two weeks before (and after) the procedure.

Exfoliating skin before hair is removed to get rid of any dead skin and help prevent any ingrown hairs after the treatment is also a good idea

Be sure to check with your laser clinic on what skincare regimen they prefer you to use before your sessions.

Cropped photo of a barefoot young Caucasian lady in a bathrobe massaging her legs in bed

 5. Resist waxing or plucking hairs

For laser hair removal to work, a hair must be in the follicle to absorb the light energy. Waxing, plucking or using electrolysis in the run-up to your laser treatment removes the whole hair shaft and there is nothing in the hair follicle for the laser to heat up! Your laser hair removal clinic will be able to advise you on what technique they prefer you to use.

Sugar waxing: epilation with liquate sugar at armpit.

6. Wear comfortable clothing

Think carefully about the clothing you are going to wear to your treatment session. Wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing helps prevent any chafing or irritation to the sensitive areas of skin exposed to the laser when you leave!

Wearing loose-fitting clothing also means you’ll be less likely to stain your clothes with any soothing creams applied after the treatment.

A young woman poses in a white hoodie for a mock-up template. A print and branding design concept. A girl in a casual shirt and pullover in a studio

7. Follow proper aftercare

To get the best hair removal experience possible it’s also important to follow your clinic’s advice on how to care for your skin after the laser procedure has finished.

After your session, your skin will usually be red with some swelling and may feel like mild sunburn. Your clinic will be able to advise you on things like applying an ice-pack to help with any swelling or discomfort, how long you need to stay out of the sun (or apply sunscreen) and what creams or moisturisers you can use on the area.

Female Athlete Sitting On Ground And Taking Treatment For Knee Pain

Embracing comfort for laser hair removal

If you are opting for smooth hair-free skin with laser hair removal, these 7 simple tips may help make it a more rewarding journey.

If you are worried about the pain or discomfort the procedure may cause, explore how Emla skin numbing cream and laser hair removal can help on your journey to smoother hair-free skin.

Learn more about how to apply Emla numbing cream.