Hair Removal – Why is it painful?

We all know that the choice of fluence and wavelength is important when treating hair with light energy. However, many believe that the fluence should be reduced when treating darker skin colours. This is fundamentally wrong!!

The pain felt during laser/IPL hair treatments is principally due to the epidermal heating. As a direct consequence, darker skins experience more pain (for any given fluence) than lighter-coloured skins.

The following video shows why…

This analysis shows that pain is directly attributable to the melanin concentration in the epidermis (the skin colour). We can control this to a certain extent with proper skin surface cooling (before, during and after treatment).

It also means that we can apply higher fluences, which leads directly to higher success rates, if proper cooling is also applied.

We must realise that the fluence is chosen based on the hair follicle depth and hair colour, while the skin cooling is directly related to the skin colour!! This distinction is very important in all these treatments.

I hope this helps – you can find more in our book chapters…

Ciao for now,


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