Effect of wax epilation before hair removal with a long-pulsed Alexandrite laser: A pilot study

Michael S. Lehrer*, Glen H. Crawford, Joel M. Gelfand, James J. Leyden, Carmela C. Vittorio, Murad Alam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Recent reports indicate that laser hair removal is most effective on anagen hairs. However, no published trials have examined laser epilation after hair cycle synchronization. OBJECTIVE. To evaluate the potential for enhanced laser hair removal after the induction of telogen hairs into anagen by wax epilation. METHODS. We identified four 2.5-cm square areas with equivalent hair length and density on the backs of 13 dark-haired white men. To induce typically telogen hairs into anagen, two areas on each patient were wax epilated. Two weeks later, one waxed area and one unwaxed area were treated with a long-pulsed alexandrite laser. One month after laser treatment, a subjective comparison was made based on hair density, length, and thickness. RESULTS. In 12 of 13 patients, lasered areas that had been pretreated with wax epilation were clearer of hair as compared with areas that had been pretreated by shaving (P = 0.0034). No significant difference was noted between waxed and unwaxed control areas that had not been laser treated (P = 1.0). CONCLUSION. Wax epilation 2 weeks before laser hair removal improves cosmetic outcomes at 1 month. This effect may be secondary to the recruitment and heightened sensitivity of early anagen hairs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-123
Number of pages6
JournalDermatologic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Surgery


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