Does It Matter in Which Direction the Hair is Shaved Prior to the Laser Treatment?

Doctor Answers 3

Shaving prior to laser hair removal

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Shaving is necessary prior to laser hair removal as it allows the source to penetrate the follicle better, and destroy it. It doesn't matter which direction you shave, although, you really should be shaving in the direction the hair grows, not against it. It helps prevent ingrown hairs and folliculitis this way. 

Guidelines for shaving before laser hair removal

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Prior to laser treatment, it is important to shave the area. Otherwise hair gets pressed to the surface of your skin. When the hair shaft is destroyed by the laser it can injure the surrounding skin. It does not matter which direction you shave. You should shave at least one 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. 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.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Shaving Prior to Laser Hair Removal

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Hi Post.  It does not matter which direction you shave.  The point is that there should be no hair sticking out above the skin such that it can be bent over.  If the hair were to be long enough to be bent over, the risk of side effects such as a blister will increase dramatically.  

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 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.