With all the intense training, tactics and concentration involved, who would have thought that something as simple as body hair could have such an impact on sports performance? If you watch any professional athletics, cycling, or swimming race, you’ll notice that most – if not all – of the competitors, both men and women, will have removed their body hair.
There are a number of reasons for doing this, and it’s not just to look good during the competition!
This is one of the more common reasons for hair removal during sport. Performance clothing for runners, cyclists, and other athletes are often made of materials that cling very closely to the body. Having an extra layer between your skin and the material can give the clothing space to move and rub, causing discomfort, chafing, and even blisters!
Helps with Injury
Lots of sports-people insist that removing body hair helps with injuries. For those who are at risk of road rash, such as cyclists, being hairless can promote healing and keep the wound a lot cleaner. For deeper tissue injuries and conditions, being hairless helps with sports massage, as it allows for a much smoother surface and prevents the oils getting clogged up in the hairs.
For most amateur athletes, the milliseconds that can quite literally be shaved off their times, won’t be that important. Those who are serious about their sport however, are able to really squeeze their times for everything they can, by removing the resistance that body hair provides. This is particularly effective for swimmers, who often choose to remove every last hair that isn’t covered by a swim suit.
Hair Removal Methods
Finding the right hair removal method as a sportsperson can be difficult. As it is something that you will probably have to do every day, shaving may seem like the best option. Shaving however, comes with a number of problems of its own. Repeated shaving can cause the skin to become sore and inflamed, and a greater number of ingrown hairs, which can make wearing sports clothing very uncomfortable, and even painful.
For athletes, the best option can often be a depilatory cream. These creams break down the proteins of the hair, to dissolve it just below the surface of the skin, meaning that when the cream is washed off the hairs come away with it. This method leaves skin smooth up to two times longer than shaving, with hairs growing back softer.
So give it a try, and hit the track ready for a performance matched only by your removal method!