Is it better to shave or wax befor the day I get laser hair removal?

Doctor Answers 7

Shaving or waxing before Laser Hair Removal

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Great question regarding Laser Hair removal.  Ideally shaving is better than waxing for this procedure.  The timing of shaving is dependent on what type of machine is being used.  Best to check with who is performing your service to get instructions. 

San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Laser hair removal

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DO NOT WAX BEFORE LASER HAIR REMOVAL!  The laser works on the root of an actively growing hair.  If you wax, you remove the root and leave nothing for the laser to treat.  You should shave to remove the surface hair to prevent small burns from heating the surface hair.  

Suzan McGary, MD
Williamsport Thoracic Surgeon

Laser hair removal

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it is best to shave the day before the laser. I advise my patients not to wax or pluck for 2 months prior to the laser as the shaft needs to be there to be targeted by the laser. 

Roni Munk, MD
Montreal Dermatologic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Wax or shave

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Shaving is preferable since it will cause less irritation and leave the hair shaft in place for treatment. Multiple treatments will be necessary to treat the majority of the hair since  hair exists in many stages of growth and and rest and only the active growth phase is affected by the laser. Good luck 

Leon Goldstein, MD
Madison Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Don't wax, shave the day of a laser hair removal

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You need to have a small bit of hair left for the laser to attack during laser hair removal. If you wax, the entire shaft is removed and the laser will not work at all. I prefer that my patients shave the morning of the procedure.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Preparation for laser hair removal

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If you shave before laser hair removal, the session will be completely ineffective. The laser energy needs to follow the hair shafts to reach the follicle. The energy cannot 'jump a gap' and land at the follicle.

Waxing in between LHR sessions is also not advised for the same reason. Shaving is fine and should be done the evening prior. Leaving excess hair at the surface will waste laser energy (detract from energy targeting follicles). Shaving immediately before tends to lead to a more uncomfortable treatment if there is skin irritation, but is also acceptable.


Lisa Vuich, MD

Lisa Vuich, MD
Nashua Physician
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Is it better to shave or wax before laser hair removal?

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You should NOT wax, tweeze, or pluck your hair prior to laser hair removal. You can only shave or bleach the area. 

Hardik Soni, MD (not currently practicing)
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician

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.