Laser hair removal is a safe and effective way to remove hair by using laser energy to heat up and destroy the hair follicle. Laser hair removal isn’t totally permanent, meaning you may need a maintenance session every year or so, but it can also significantly reduce the hair density on your skin.

Skip sunbathing and tanning beds

Sunlight, like laser therapy, is a transfer of light energy into the skin. Lasers target the pigment in the hair root, while sunlight is scattered all over the skin. Sunburns are a sign that your skin is trying to heal from too much sunlight. When you’re recovering from a tan or a burn, exposing your skin to laser energy is not recommended, as it can slow down healing from the sun damage.

Shave the area where you’re having laser hair removal

About 24 hours prior to your appointment, you can shave the area where you’re having laser hair removal performed. Do not wax or pluck the area though, because the root needs to be present for the laser hair removal technique to work.

Don’t use creams that make your skin more sensitive to sunburn

Avoid using topicals that contain ingredients that make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Ingredients such as retinols, acids, and benzoyl peroxide should be avoided on the area at least 5 days prior to your laser session.

Avoid skin skin treatments in the area

Microneedling and chemical peels may make your skin more prone to damage during a laser hair removal session. Wait at least 2 weeks after an intense skin treatment before scheduling a laser hair removal visit.

Beauty treatment

Ask your provider if you can temporarily quit sun-sensitizing drugs

Talk to your medical provider and ask them if you can temporarily stop the drugs that are making your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Common sun-sensitizing drugs include anti-inflammatories, antifungals, cholesterol-lowering drugs, blood pressure drugs, retinoids, some diabetes medications, and antibiotics.

There are other medications, too, so if you’re taking anything, be sure to check with your doctor before scheduling laser hair removal.

Find out if you are a good candidate for laser hair removal

Good candidates for laser hair removal have healthy skin and aren’t pregnant or nursing. You also shouldn’t have a skin infection or be taking any drugs that increase bleeding, such as aspirin.