Tips: What To Do Before And After Laser Hair Removal

Written by Erin Foster, LA, Licensed Aesthetician on August 3, 2017 26 Comments

before and after laser hair removal

In recent years laser hair removal has grown to become one of the most popular hair removal techniques. Advancements in laser-based technologies have made the procedure a safer and better alternative to electrolysis.

Any laser-based treatment has the potential to yield undesired results. Common side effects of laser hair removal are swelling, redness, or irritation of the skin. All of which typically resolve on their own overtime without further intervention.

There are, however, simple things patients can do before and after their procedure to limit any unwanted side effects.

Before Laser Hair Removal

  • Always go for an in-person consultation with your provider before committing to a treatment. An experienced provider will be able to assess your candidacy and estimate the number of treatments you may need
  • During your consultation discuss the types of medications you are currently taking. Some prescriptions can cause photosensitivity, which can lead to burns.
  • Stop using skincare products with strong ingredients like retinoids or alfa hydrody acid (AHA)
  • Avoid all forms of tanning (i.e. tanning from the natural sun, tanning beds, spray tans, and self-tanning products) for 6 weeks prior to your treatment. Laser treatments on tanned skin can result in long-term pigmentation issues.
  • Avoid plucking, waxing, or bleaching your hair for 6 weeks prior to your appointment as plucking out hair by the root will decrease the effectiveness of your laser treatment
  • Shave the day before your treatment (as directed by your provider). Shaving encourages the hair follicle to enter its active growing stage which is the ideal stage for laser targeting
  • Take a shower right before your appointment and clean the treatment area, making sure to remove dirt and oil from the skin. Avoid using any skincare products (including moisturizer) after you cleanse

After Laser Hair Removal

  • Attend any scheduled follow-up or maintenance treatments as directed by your provider in a timely manner
  • Avoid the sun (and tanning beds) and wear a high-quality sunscreen as UV exposure can irritate the treated skin and complicate the hair removal process.
  • “Sun-less” tanning options like spray tans or self-tanning products can be used between treatment sessions as long as their use is discontinued 2 weeks prior to your next treatment.
  • Continue to shave, instead of plucking, tweezing, or waxing, if you need to remove hair between treatments
  • Gently exfoliate the treated skin 2-3 times per week using a loofah or washcloth. This minimizes the risk of developing ingrown hairs
  • Take lukewarm showers for the first week after your treatment
  • Avoid using perfumes or deodorants for 48 hours after your treatment


Erin Foster, LA

Erin Foster is a licensed aesthetician experienced in analyzing and determining which treatments are best for each individual client’s needs. She has diverse knowledge in skin care products and ingredients. Erin specializes in laser hair removal, IPL, V-Beam, chemical peels, HydraFacials, Cooltouch, and microdermabrasion.

26 Responses to “Tips: What To Do Before And After Laser Hair Removal”

  1. Barbera says:

    My mother and I have always wanted to try doing laser hair removal for our peach fuzz and armpits and now that we are finding somewhere to make an appointment I wanted some tips on what we should do to prepare. You mentioned in the article how before laser hair removal you should have a talk with the provider about any medications that you are currently taking. I have no idea that photosensitivity could lead to burn with hair removal. Thanks for the advice that I can pass on to my mother.

  2. Larry says:

    Thanks for the tip of avoiding using products with ingredients like retinoids and AHA. My wife has been thinking about getting some laser hair removal, but has some sensitive skin that has had her using some stronger skincare products with those exact ingredients. If she does decide to go through with the laser hair removal, we will be sure to not use those strong products before the removal.

  3. Zidane says:

    Thank you for your tips on what to do before and after laser hair removal. I especially appreciate your tip on exfoliating 2-3 times per week after removal to reduce ingrown hairs. We’ll share this with our clientele (were in Australia).

  4. Ashley says:

    Thanks for your tip to get a consultation with a professional before you get treated to make sure that it’s right for you. I appreciate your advice to use a lot of sunscreen after treatment and avoid going tanning. My sister is considering hair removal and is trying to prepare for the process.

  5. Zachary says:

    Great tips! I like how you mentioned about going an in-person consultation with the provider before committing a treatment. I’m going on the vacation and in order to look perfect, I need laser hair removal. I’ll definitely consider recommendations while choosing the right services.

  6. Jason says:

    It is always important to follow after care instructions. The type of laser used for treatment is also important. Darker skin types require gold standard long pulsed nd:yag and lighter skin tones are great for alexandrite or diode laser. It is important to know what type of laser is being used on you. Some times clinics will use an IPL or BBL for hair removal, IPL is an outdated approach and can cause burns especially on darker skin tones. The treatment will hurt and cause some irritation but that is normal because your hair follicle is being impacted by the laser which is destroying the follicle. MedLaser USA has the most affordable and effective lasers in the industry which can help any clinic lower the cost of treatments passing those savings on to clientele. Visit us a

  7. Steele says:

    I had no idea that the medicines I take may lead to burns in case I decide to have a laser hair removal procedure! I am considering having it, and I will make sure to take all of my pills to the doctor. I hope they are not harmful to this procedure, and I will not have to stop taking them.

  8. Oscar says:

    I’m glad you mentioned avoiding the sun after laser hair removal. My wife is planning on getting laser hair removal next week, and so I’m trying to familiarize myself with the process to be able to help her out in any way that I can. Thanks to your tips, I have a better idea on how to help her care for her skin after the treatment!

  9. Alexandria says:

    I was at a brunch the other day with my friends and they were all talking about hair removal treatments. It was an interesting topic of discussion that led a lot of us to wonder what to do before you get a treatment. They would all love to know that taking a shower before will remove dirt and oils to make the process smoother.

  10. Mitch says:

    Thanks for sharing these do’s and don’t tips to us, I just forwarded it to my wife and she said it was very helpful.

  11. Mitch says:

    I’m glad that I found your article or blog. It’s so helpful. I’ve always wanted to do laser hair removal but I’m afraid to do it.

  12. Monica says:

    It’s interesting that you suggest to not use skincare products before receiving laser hair removal treatment. My sister-in-law is interested in getting laser hair removal on her legs so that she doesn’t have to spend so much time shaving during the summer. She really likes to use skincare products so this is a really good tip for her to stop using them prior to receiving the treatment. I think she would really benefit from talking to a professional to learn more about the process.

  13. Ridley says:

    Thanks for the laser hair removal tips. I’m going to get it done on my back, so this is all great to know. I’ll have no problem avoiding the sun because I don’t even like swimming or anything!

  14. Amanda says:

    Thanks for pointing out that you shouldn’t wax, bleach, or pluck your hair for 6 weeks before your appointment because that can make the treatment less effective. Unfortunate I read that too late hehe

  15. Raymond says:

    I’m thinking of getting laser hair removal soon. I thought it was helpful how you suggest taking a shower before the appointment and avoiding things such as moisturizers too. I’ll keep this in mind to ensure my appointment is as successful as possible.

  16. Jocelyn says:

    I’m tired of shaving my legs all the time, and I’m thinking about getting laser removal so I don’t have to worry about this anymore. Your article had great information regarding this, and I liked how you said to shower right before my appointment and clean the treatment area to remove all dirt and oil. Thanks; I’ll keep this in mind if I get my leg hair removed with a laser.

  17. Daphne says:

    Thanks for the tip to get an in-person consultation. I’ve been thinking about getting laser hair removal soon. Your advice will help me find a good company that does hair removal for women!

  18. Kate says:

    Hi Erin,


    Can you please tell me the disadvantages of using the products which have ‘alfa hydrody acid’?


    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Kate,

      Thanks for reading our post and submitting your great question! We recommend shying away from AHA use per-treatment to prevent any irritation. It’s just a good idea to cease use before your session.

      Hope that helps!

      WD Staff

  19. Sammy says:

    Cosign the tip: “Stop using skincare products with strong ingredients like retinoids or alfa hydrody acid (AHA)” before treatment. I did my upper lip and used a retinol serum before treatment. The area was really red and irritated post lasering. So take heed of this everyone!

  20. Vivian says:

    Great tips 🙂

  21. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the tip to have a consultation in person before we schedule an appointment for laser hair removal. I’m thinking about getting laser hair removal on my legs so I won’t have to spend time shaving them once the weather heats up. I’m glad I read your article and learned how to find the right hair removal treatment center!

  22. Charlotte 3 says:

    Thanks for the tip on avoiding the sun after getting laser hair removal since it can irritate the skin!

  23. Taryn says:

    Great tips Thanks a lot for sharing a great post

  24. It is very important to get the knowledge of pre and post laser hair removal treatment becuase all permanent hair removal medical procedures have some side effects.

    Thank you for sharing the post Erin, it is helping people looking for information on pre and post cares.

  25. Hailey says:

    Helpful tips! Thanks a lot for sharing these great tips with us. I found this post very helpful for me. Thanks and keep sharing.

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