How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal: 9 Dos and Don’ts (2024)

Hairless skin has been in style for centuries. Today’s hair removal practices are much faster and more convenient than those of earlier ages, but the goal is the same: smooth, attractive arms and legs, and perhaps more comfort.

Laser hair removal is one of the best ways today to remove unwanted hair. If this is your first time getting a laser hair removal treatment, find out how to prepare to avoid potential side effects and achieve the best results.

How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal: 9 Dos and Don’ts (1)

What is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal is a cosmetic treatment in which the cosmetic provider uses a laser device to send beams of light to the patient’s hair follicles, targeting the pigment melanin in the hair. The light turns into heat, damaging the hair follicle and interrupting hair growth.

After several sessions, this hair removal method significantly slows down or even permanently stops hair growth.

How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is usually painless and safe, but some pre-treatment activities increase the chance of side effects. It is crucial to discuss potential risks with your chosen cosmetic provider before the procedure and find out how to prevent them.

Book a free session with Vibrant Skin Bar skin professionals to learn how to prepare for your laser hair removal treatment!

Below are the dos and don’ts before a laser procedure.

1.Clean Your Skin Before the Treatment

When you come to your chosen salon or medical spa for the treatment, make sure your treatment area (e.g., legs, underarms, bikini area) is clean. Lotions, dirt, and other impurities on the skin can lessen the effectiveness of the laser. Clean skin allows the laser to go directly to the hair follicle.

2.Stop Waxing or Plucking

Hair removal methods such as waxing and plucking pull the hair out from the root. If you wax or pluck your hair before a laser session, the laser device can’t target the hair pigment because the hair has been removed. Refrain from hair removal procedures that uproot the hair for six weeks before the laser treatment.

Note: Read how laser hair removal differs from waxing.

3.Shave the Treatment Area

Unlike waxing and plucking, shaving is a necessary step one or two days before a laser hair removal treatment. It doesn’t uproot the hair so the laser can target the hair pigment. At the same time, shaving gets rid of hair on the skin’s surface, decreasing the chances of getting burned by the laser.

4.Avoid Sun Exposure

Tanning increases the chance of laser burns because traditional lasers need a clear color contrast between the skin and hair to target the pigment in the hair successfully. If the skin is darker, the laser can mistakenly target the melanin in the skin instead of the hair. Avoid the beach and tanning beds for several weeks before the treatment.

You should also avoid using self-tanning lotions and sprays for at least two weeks before laser treatment so the laser can target the hair follicle instead of the tan skin. This also reduces the chance of burning the skin.

5. Use Medications with Caution

Some medications interfere with the laser hair removal procedure because they make the skin more sensitive and increase the chance of side effects. These include:

  • Blood-thinners
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Antibiotics
  • Topical products with retinol
  • Acne products
  • Hormone treatments

If you use any of the above-listed medications, consult your doctor about potential risks before you undergo a laser hair removal treatment.

Note: Find out if laser hair removal is safe during pregnancy.

6.Use Skin Products Carefully

Consult your cosmetic provider about which products are safe to use before laser hair removal. Some ingredients in skincare products can make the skin more vulnerable to pain and increase the chance of discoloration, redness, and other side effects.

Your cosmetic provider may recommend discontinuing these skincare products for a week or two before the treatment:

  • AHA/BHA exfoliating creams
  • Products with retinol or retinal
  • Products with benzoyl peroxide
  • Products that dry out the skin

To be safe, use only gentle cleansers and mild moisturizers for several days before your laser hair removal appointment.

7.Avoid Alcohol

Don’t drink alcohol in excess 24 hours before laser hair removal because it dehydrates the skin, making the procedure more painful.

8.Refrain from Drinking Coffee

Avoid coffee for at least several hours before your laser treatment. Coffee makes the skin more sensitive and may increase discomfort or pain, just like alcohol.

9.Avoid Laser Hair Removal After Botox and Dermal Fillers

Wait two weeks after your Botox or dermal filler treatment to have a laser hair removal procedure. If the injectables haven’t settled, the laser treatment can disrupt the cosmetic treatment’s effects and cause swelling and redness.


Laser hair removal is a popular treatment because it provides long-lasting or, in some cases, permanent results. It causes minimal pain and side effects if you prepare for the treatment as advised by your cosmetic provider.

Follow the Vibrant Skin Bar experts’ guidelines for laser hair removal best practices to ensure a safe treatment and smooth, hairless skin.

How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal: 9 Dos and Don’ts (2024)
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