Okay to Use Depilatory Creams Before and Inbetween Laser Hair Removal Sessions?

I know waxing, threading and plucking are not allowed, and bleaching is probably not recommended, but can depilatory creams be used instead of shaving?

Doctor Answers 6

Avoid depilatory creams for two weeks prior to laser hair removal, or don't use at all

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If you use the depilatory cream less than two weeks prior to laser hair removal treatment, there may not be enough pigment in the hair follicle (from loss of the hair shaft) so that energy will not be absorbed where it is needed. This would reduce the efficiency of the treatment.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Avoid depilatory creams during laser hair removal sessions

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It is best to avoid depilatory creams (as well as waxing, plucking, threading as mentioned) while you are undergoing laser hair removal.  As stated previously, depilatory creams can dissolve a portion of the hair shaft which may make future laser sessions less beneficial.  It is best to stick with shaving between sessions as necessary.

Alison Stallings, MD
Tarrytown Dermatologic Surgeon

Depilatory creams should not be used before or between laser hair removal sessions

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Depilatory creams dissolve the hair shaft.  The hair shaft is the way the laser energy is conducted to the hair growth center to slow down growth and decrease hair size.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Use of depilatory creams with laser hair removal

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Depilatory creams, plucking and waxing should be avoided during laser hair removal as the target for the laser is reduced.  Shaving between treatments will not effect the treatment.

Robert Sleightholm, MD
Brampton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Avoid Using Depilatory Creams between Laser Hair Removal Treatments

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It is best to avoid using depilatory creams between laser hair removal treatments. If you need to shave, that is fine. No creams, no plucking, no anything in between are the best ideas. These should have been reviewed with you in detail during your initial consult and reviewed following each session.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal Treatments

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Prior to laser treatment, it is important to shave the area. Either shaving or depilatory creams can be used up to the day of the laser treatment as they do not remove the entire hair shaft. When the hair shaft is destroyed by the laser it can injure the surrounding skin. Shave a day prior to your appointment, so if you nick yourself, the area will not be bleeding during your procedure. Any method of hair removal such as waxing or tweezing will remove the deeper portions of the hair follicle which contain the "target pigmentation" and will render laser hair removal ineffective for at least two weeks.


Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.