Are There Painless Forms of Hair Removal?

A look at different ways to rid yourself of unwanted hair

Hot wax treatment
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One of the more self-conscious conditions associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is hirsutism — excessive body hair due to higher levels of circulating testosterone. Fortunately, there are many different options for removing extra body hair.

Some methods are permanent, while others must be repeated frequently, or even daily. The cost ranges from very cheap to quite expensive. ​Many hair removal methods are uncomfortable, though pain is a very subjective experience.

It may take some time for you to figure out what your level of comfort is with the various methods of hair removal, so don’t hesitate to try a few different ones.

If you opt for one of the more uncomfortable methods of hair removal, consider using a skin numbing cream or taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like Advil or Tylenol an hour or two before your appointment time.

Here's a closer look at the different types of hair removal:


Generally considered to be the least painful method of hair removal, it involves using a small blade to cut the hair off at the level of the skin. The downside of shaving is that it often needs to be done daily because the hair grows back quickly.

Though not painful, sometimes minor skin irritation can occur and you might nick yourself with the blade. Use a fresh razor and be sure to moisturize the area or use a shaving cream for a smooth shave.


Because hirsutism in women with PCOS is the result of hormonal changes, there are medications, like Vaniqa and Flutamide, that you can take to correct the imbalances and thus minimize the excessive hair growth.

Provided you do not have an allergic reaction to the medication, these are painless methods for preventing unwanted hair. Medications are available in oral form and as topical creams.


Depilatories are creams and lotions for removing hair. They are mostly painless, though some women say that the depilatories cause mild stinging or burning, and the smell can be quite unpleasant.


If you experience severe discomfort while using a depilatory, immediately rinse it off and, if the pain does not go away soon, call your doctor. Such pain can be a sign of a severe reaction to one or more of the ingredients.

In addition, chemical burns have been reported after use of a chemical depilatory. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.


This involves using tweezers to pull out individual hairs. While the ouch factor isn’t as great as other methods, it’s not really practical for large areas. It's not nearly as painful as waxing, threading or electrolysis, but the tediousness of going hair by hair can be annoying.


Waxing removes unwanted hair by pulling it out from the root. Hot (but not too hot) wax is applied to the area and pulled off in the opposite direction of how it grows. The results tend to last about 3 weeks.

This can be quite uncomfortable, depending on what area you are waxing and your individual sensitivity to pain. Many women report, however, that waxing discomfort greatly decreases the more frequently you wax.

Use aloe to soothe your skin afterward.


An ancient central Asian and Indian method of hair removal, threading uses thread— the kind used for sewing — to pull out hair from the root. Practitioners manipulate the thread to catch multiple hairs, and can eliminate rows of hair at a time. 

Similar to tweezing and waxing, the technique is somewhat painful, but not as intense as waxing. The discomfort will decrease if you get the treatment regularly. Applying witch hazel after threading can help to relieve redness and discomfort. 


Sugaring is another ancient method of hair removal. Similar to waxing, it uses a sticky sugar solution to bind to the hair follicles. 

The sugar solution can be made at home with items found in your pantry, like vinegar, sugar, lime juice and honey. 

While it is uncomfortable whenever you pull hair from the skin, many women report less discomfort associated with sugaring than with waxing, because wax is more likely to pull at or tear the skin. Other women say that the temperature the sugar is heated to can make the sugaring process more uncomfortable than waxing.

Either way, the discomfort associated with sugaring should diminish each time that you have the procedure done.

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal involves focusing intense light beams on hair follicles, destroying them. The process takes several session to complete, but once finished, the hair removal is often permanent.

Many women report these treatments can be uncomfortable, but bearable. The discomfort has been compared with a rubber band being repeatedly snapped against your skin.

The treatment is only done for short sessions, so the discomfort is usually manageable. Some estheticians will even provide a topical numbing cream to further help with pain relief.


Electrolysis removes individual hairs by inserting a fine probe into a hair follicle to destroy it using a chemical or heat energy. Once the probe is inserted, the hair is removed with tweezers.

This method can be quite painful and feels like multiple needle pricks over and over again for up to 30-minute sessions. Multiple sessions are needed for the treatment to be effective for permanent hair removal.

Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved permanent solution to remove body hair.

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