The Effect of Waxing Versus Shaving on the Efficacy of Laser Hair Removal

Dermatol Surg. 2017 Apr;43(4):548-552. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000001025.


Background: Excessive hair is undesirable and represents both a social and emotional burden, especially among females. Laser hair removal (LHR) has gained popularity in the past 2 decades. It is a common practice to instruct patients not to pluck or wax their hair before undergoing LHR; only shaving is allowed to improve the efficacy of the LHR.

Objective: To compare the percentage of hair reduction in preshaved versus prewax epilated axillae after LHR in healthy adult Saudi females.

Methods and materials: This study is a quantitative experimental pilot clinical trial. Twenty female volunteers were enrolled into this study; all underwent 3 laser sessions using a long-pulsed alexandrite laser. Their left axilla was prewaxed and right axilla was preshaved immediately before laser treatment. Hair was counted manually before and 6 months after the third laser session.

Results: The right and left axillae both showed significant hair reduction, between the first session and the hair count 6 months after the third laser session. However, there was no statistically significant difference between these 2 means (p = .44).

Conclusion: There is no statistical difference in hair reduction after LHR whether the area is preshaved or prewax epilated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Axilla
  • Female
  • Hair Removal / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Waxes / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Waxes