How to Prepare the Bikini Area Prior to Laser Removal?

I Am a Dark Skin Person. I am very prone to ingrown hair and bumps, and currently have a few.

Doctor Answers 8

Shaving hair before laser hair removal

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Preparing the skin prior to laser hair removal involves elimination of surface growth.  You should shave with the grain to avoid more ingrown hairs, or use clippers.  Otherwise, hair above the surface will absorb the laser energy and maintain heat on the surface which can risk burning the skin and creating darker pigment or lighter color.  If you  pluck or wax, the hairs may be removed from the follicle, and there won't be a target to absorb the laser's energy in the hair follicle and the follicle won't be destroyed. Ensure that the physician that treats you has the appropriate laser of the correct wavelength to treat dark skin, such as the 1064nm. laser.  Often test spots can be done to check your individual reaction prior to the onset of a full treatment. Then your response can be observed over several weeks. Better to see that a small area was checked and passed the test prior to embarking on a full treatment that might cause long term coloration problems or scars.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Preparing for Laser Hair Removal

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Thank you for your question.

Prior to laser hair removal in our San Francsico Bay Area practice we instruct all patients on the following:

Shave the day before or the day of treatment. Shaving does not affect the follicle therefore does not decrease the effectiveness of laser treatment.

Do not wax or pluck the hair for two weeks prior to treatment. Waxing and plucking remove the hair from the follicle and make laser treatments less effective.

Keep your skin protected from the sun for at least two weeks prior (and two weeks after) to treatment, including avoiding tanning beds. Sunburned skin is not safe to be treated and sun exposure after treatment can lead to increased skin damage.

Additionally it is recommended that your provider be experienced at safely treating your skin type as the risk of permanent discoloration is greater the darker your skin is.

I hope this helps.

How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal

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First, make sure the machine being used can treat your skin color. Using the improper machine can leave scarring and pigmentation changes. The preparation you would take before getting laser hair removal would be no waxing or tweezing three weeks before treatment and in between treatments. You may shave bleach or use Nair. Shave the day before or morning of treatment. You do not want hairs visible on the skin as it may lead to them being burnt to the skin. You should not tan one month before or during treatments.

Hardik Soni, MD
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Preparing for a Brazilian Bikini laser hair removal procedure

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Dr. Shelton gives excellent advice. Some people believe some hair should be visible during a laser hair removal treatment. It should not. All laser energy needs to be directed to the root of the hair.
Another important part of being prepared for brazilian bikini laser hair removal is having a consultation with an experienced, professional laser provider who has performed many of these treatments. The consultation should take place while you are fully clothed. Diagrams can be used to help you and the laser professional exactly what you want to achieve. We even have options A,B,C, or D as we have learned that some people are uncomfortable using the terms peri-anal laser hair removal or labia hair removal. Many patients elect to have all hair in the bikini area removed while others prefer to leave some hair. This can be accomplished again, by communicating with diagrams, but also by using a white eyeliner pencil to out line areas of where you would like to keep hair. 
Most importantly, find a reputable medical office for your laser hair removal treatments that is owned and operated by a board certified physician. All states have different laws. In my Raleigh, NC laser hair removal center, a Nurse Practitioner of Physician Assistant must provide a clearance prior to a service being performed. No laser works for all skin types. Find a facility with  multiple lasers, light to medium skin can be treated with an Alexandrite laser, dark skin can be treated safely and effectively with a long pulsed nd yag. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

How to Prepare Your Skin for Laser Hair Removal

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First make sure your treating physician has experience and the proper laser for treating your skin color. We use the GentleMAX laser by Candela which has many treatment options for most skin colors.

1. Prior to laser treatment, it is important to shave the area. Otherwise hair may be pressed to the surface of your skin. When the hair shaft is destroyed by the laser it can injure the surrounding skin. Any method of hair removal such as waxing or tweezing will remove 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.

2. Make sure the area has had no sun exposure for one month prior and one month after the laser procedure.

3. The use of any photosensitizing medications or over-the-counter supplements known to cause photosensitivity should delay laser hair removal treatment until these medications can be safely discontinued.

4. Topical retinoids used in the treatment area should be discontinued 1 to 2 days prior to treatment.

5. If a tan is present the treatment should be delayed until the tan has faded.

6. Make sure there is no inflammation in the skin of the area to be treated prior to the procedure.

How to prepare for biniki laser hair removal

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First, make sure that the machine your laser hair removal doctor is using has setting that allow for safe and effective laser hair removal in your skin type.  Not all machines do that.  If an improper machine is used, you can get scarring or pigmentation changes either lighter or darker than your normal tone. 

Make sure proper skin typing is done prior to any treatment sessions.

Supposing all that is done, here are the steps to follow:

  • make sure the area has had no sun exposure for one month prior and one month after the laser procedure
  • do not wax or pluck the hair.  Shave it 2-3 days prior to the procedure
  • if there is any redness or irritation, make sure that is treated and there is no inflammation prior to the procedure

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Preparing Bikini Area for Laser Hair Reduction Treatments

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Laser Hair Reduction is an ideal treatment for resolving shave bumps and in-grown hairs. 

The best preparation for your treatments will be to shave the day before your appointment. You do not want hairs visible above the surface of the skin, so as to minimize the risk of hairs being burnt unto the skin. Your treating physician will likely perform additional preparatory tasks, like cleansing the area and shaving stray hairs.

Make sure that your treating physician is experienced with skin of color, and be aware that darker skin types will tend to need lower treatment energies and more treatments to ensure permanent hair reduction.

Preparation for Laser Hair Removal

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Prior to laser, it is important to shave the area.  Otherwise hair gets pressed to the surface of your skin and heated, risking injury to the epidermis.  Shave a day prior to your appointment, so if you nick yourself, the area will not be bleeding during your procedure (which often happens when people shave right before your procedure).  Make sure you are being treated in a doctor's office that has a lot of experience and a laser appropriate for dark skin types, such as a Yag laser.

Hope that helps.

Madeline Krauss, M.D.

Madeline Krauss, MD
Boston Dermatologic Surgeon

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.