When to stop shaving and exfoliating before laser hair removal session?

How many days before my first laser hair removal session should I stop shaving (so they can see how thick my hair is)/using scrubs and gloves to exfoliate/using hydroquinone creams? And what day is it the best to shave before my later sessions? And when can I start using scrubs/hydroquinone afterwards? Also how many days should I use fucidine and what should I stay clear of using?

Doctor Answers 5

When to stop shaving and exfoliating before laser hair removal session?

It is best to shave the day before or day of treatment. This prevents the hair from absorbing the laser energy and causing burns. Do not tweeze or wax three weeks before or during laser hair removal treatment. Doing so removes the hair follicle the laser targets. Always remember to get your treatment done by an expert.

Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Laser hair removal and shaving

Shaving does not affect the hair in the follicle (beneath the surface of the skin) and so does not affect laser treatment.  In fact, as mentioned in another answer, shaving the day of the procedure is recommended to prevent strands of hair from absorbing the laser energy and decreasing the efficiency of the treatment or potentially causing burns.  Do not pluck hair or wax in an area to be treated for at least 2 weeks as these remove the hair follicle and leave no target for the laser.

Suzan McGary, MD
Williamsport Thoracic Surgeon

Shaving should be done on day of treatment or night before

You should shave the day of treatment. That way, the heat from the laser will penetrate deeper and not be lost in the long hairs. When the skin is healed and not red or tender, it's ok to start back on products.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

When to stop shaving and exfoliating before laser hair removal session?

Thanks for your question and we always recommend that you consult with a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon to learn all that you can about laser hair removal before you have it done.  For your question, it is best not to shave 2-5 days before the procedure as we need to have some hair present to allow the light to penetrate into the hair shaft.  Some providers will do the shaving before the procedure and that works as well.  And post-treatment, if there is a little redness and swelling, which is normal, wait to apply anything until that has disappeared.

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

Shaving prior to laser hair removal

Do not shave for two days prior to laser hair removal. The hair needs to be clipped prior to the laser treatment. 

Morris Westfried, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 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.