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Can I Shave Before Laser Hair Removal?



You CAN shave before laser hair removal.

More Info: Many doctors will suggest that you shave directly prior to treatment so that the laser will target the hair in the follicle not above the skin’s surface.

How Laser Hair Removal Works

The intent of laser hair removal is to damage the hair follicle to inhibit future hair growth. This is accomplished through several methods utilizing a laser to target the melanin in the hair follicle. If there is hair present above the skin’s surface the laser will target that hair and be less effective and possibly painful as hairs heated by the laser may burn the surface of the skin.

Avoid Waxing, Plucking, and Electrolysis

Because the laser used during laser hair removal treatments are targeting a very tiny hair follicle, anything that could possibly upset the follicle prior to treatment should be avoided such as waxing, plucking, and electrolysis. Shaving and depilatory creams maintain the follicle and only remove hair above the skin’s surface so candidates are generally permitted to use these hair methods prior to treatment.



“Complications of nonphysician-supervised laser hair removal.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2011.

Lupton, Jason R., and MD. “Laser hair removal – less is more ~ When to Stop Shaving Before Laser Hair Removal?.” Reviews of Cosmetic Treatments, Surgery, Doctors – RealSelf. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2011.

Expert Opinion

Quote:  “We use the Laserscope laser in my office. The technique is painless as long as the laser does not encounter hair above the skin. So, my patients are advised to shave or use depilatories just before the appt time. No later that the night before. We don”t take the time to shave you. That is something that the patient is expected to do before their appt.”

Source:  Beverly Johnson, MD – Washington Dermatologic surgeon

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