It's fun to notice beautiful, smooth, clear skin in both men and women athletes. Moreover, according to a study conducted by Gillette in 2020, 7% of men shave their legs in France! From an aesthetic standpoint, there are many arguments in favor of hair removal for athletes, whether male or female. Let's review together the different hair removal methods, their advantages, disadvantages and contraindications.
Why do athletes remove hair?
Top athletes are always carefully shaved. Amateur athletes often follow suit, especially in certain sports such as cycling, swimming or running. Here are the best reasons to wax:
To achieve better performance
This may seem minimal to you, but air friction on the bristles actually causes a loss of aerodynamics or hydrodynamics. Cyclists, runners or swimmers know that they can save a few precious seconds by shaving…which can make the difference between victory or defeat!
For a matter of comfort
Athletes often wear clothing too close to the body so as not to bother them, which can lead to unpleasant friction due to thick hair. In addition, it is more comfortable to enjoy a recovery massage on soft and smooth skin.
For impeccable cleanliness
Some sports are downright dirty: think, for example, of road running, where runners sometimes have to navigate very muddy terrain. It is much easier to clean depilated skin on which dirt does not stick. In addition, wound care is easy without hair getting stuck to the bandages…
Should you wax right before competing?
It's a fairly common urban myth among athletes that you shouldn't remove your hair before competing. The disadvantage is the nervous rush that causes a loss of energy in the body during the first days of hair growth. But this is a preconceived idea that has no scientific basis.
Different hair removal methods
Below are the most popular hair removal techniques, both to the general public and the sports community. It is up to you to choose the option that suits you according to your needs.
Shaving is not a particularly recommended method of hair removal. You probably know this, but it only cuts the hair at the roots, without pulling the follicle. Therefore, regrowth is very rapid: only about a day or two. However, this can be a last-minute option when you are in a hurry.
The same goes for hair removal cream, which simply attacks the hair keratin on the surface using chemical ingredients. However, it guarantees peace of mind for a few days more than a razor… and is very popular with relaxed people (0 pain guaranteed!).
Waxing is one of the most popular hair removal methods. It can be performed at home or in a beauty salon. Cold wax comes in the form of strips that are heated in your hands and then applied to the skin before being torn off. It is an effective, inexpensive and permanent technique. But be careful: perfectionists can irritate their skin by using too many products in a row in the same spot. The best solution is to use tweezers to remove the last remaining hairs.
Hot wax helps expand skin pores and remove hair more easily. It is best to go to an institute to avoid any risk of burns during incorrect handling. This very effective technique is not recommended for people with circulatory disorders or varicose veins.
In this method, the hot wax is replaced with a mixture of water and sugar. The paste is applied to the skin and then removed suddenly after it cools. Sensitive skin doesn't necessarily appreciate this shock treatment.
It is also called Indian, Turkish or Lebanese hair removal: it involves plucking each hair between two cotton threads. It is a gentle and effective technique that is tolerated by all skin types and is practiced by specialists in institutes. However, its use should be limited to facial areas, as it is too dull on larger parts of the body.
The electric epilator is a really practical option for athletes who do not want to go to the institute. This small device works like dozens of small tweezers that remove hair from the roots in all areas of the body. Suitable for all skin types… but not recommended for those who fear pain! Bonus: Its portable format allows you to take it with you everywhere, even over several days of competition.
This method works with enzymes that aim to significantly slow down hair growth. It is sometimes used in parallel with laser hair removal until treatment is complete. An enzyme-based substance is applied to the skin and then covered with a film that is heated by a thermal epilator. Five to seven sessions are required to obtain convincing results. Enzymatic hair removal ensures four months of remission before hair grows back, but is prohibited for pregnant women, diabetics or people with cancer, skin or cardiovascular disease.
This is a permanent hair removal technique, as opposed to the temporary methods described above. Laser hair removal is especially popular among athletes because it is painless and allows you to get rid of hair forever. A dermatologist performs a laser treatment that burns the hair from the roots using thermal energy from light. It is necessary to have six to ten sessions, spaced four to eight weeks apart, for best results. So you better not be in a hurry! Allow a guideline budget of €150-€180 per session for half legs.
However, laser hair removal requires a high enough level of melanin for the laser beam to target. So people with gray or very light blond hair will have to move on: this technique will have no effect on them. In addition, pregnant women, people with sensitivity to light, and diabetics should not use laser hair removal. Finally, let us add that it is not recommended to be exposed to sunlight throughout the treatment period: therefore, the winter period is preferred to start the course.
Also called pulsed light hair removal, it works on the same principle as laser hair removal. The device used produces flashes of light at different wavelengths. This type of permanent hair removal takes longer (nine or ten sessions), but provides better results. The same contraindications as laser hair removal must be respected.
How to properly remove hair when you are an athlete?