Laser hair removal for athletes

Laser Hair Removal for Athletic Performance

Have you wondered why some athletes remove their body hair?  Athletes differ in their motives for removing body hair but many are turning to permanent solutions for hair removal, such as laser hair removal. Not only does laser hair removal save the time and money used for temporary solutions, it can give athletes a slight edge in their fitness routines. While it is often thought that hair removal is largely a cosmetic process, we have to wonder if body hair really serves any useful purpose today.

Why Did Our Ancestors Need Body Hair?

In the earlier days when our ancestors were out foraging for food, their body hair provided warmth from the cool shade of forest trees. However, forests turned into grasslands roughly 3 million years ago as global warming took its effect giving rise to savannahs. The hair that once provided warm insulation now became a liability and our ancestors needed a way to keep their bodies cool while protecting their head from the ill effects of the sun.  As our ancestors became bipedal, body hair became less important for warmth and protection from the elements and a natural shedding of some body hair started to occur. Losing hair meant that our ancestors were able to sweat which allowed heat to dissipate and provide cooling.  As a result, they were able to go hunting while other predators needed frequent rest to cool themselves off.

Being able to hunt longer meant that a greater abundance of foods was obtained which gave them additional energy to fuel their developing brains. Hair on their heads was evolutionarily retained to serve as protection for their developing brains.  Having hair on our heads blocks UV light exposure, provides insulation, and cooling when the sweat evaporate from our soaked hair.

The Influence of Culture on Hair Loss

Scientists claim that the development of culture also contributed to loss of body hair. As our ancestors learned how to build fires, shelter, and clothes to keep themselves warm, it allowed them to shed body hair with no loss to their normal functioning.  Research also suggests that natural selection favored less hairy individuals as they were seen as more attractive. This was because having less hair was viewed as being more resistible to diseases since fur is a prime habitat for ectoparasites (fleas, lice, nits and the like).

… athletes may get a performance edge by removing their body hair and for a permanent solution prefer laser hair removal

Hair Removal and Athletic Performance

While the aerodynamic benefits of removing leg hair is small for cyclists, it does make it easier to treat road rash. Road rashes commonly occur, and even among the most experienced cyclists; being hairless help wounds to be treated easier and heal faster. Cyclists also go hair-free to avoid the discomfort of pulled hair from wearing a lot of spandex and compression gear. And if you are considering a massage for relief from your sore muscles did you also know that being hairless results in a more effective massage treatment for cyclists as hair gets in the way for masseuses?

Laser hair removal for cyclists

Swimmers

Similar to cyclists, tight-fitting swim suits also pull on hair. However, unlike cyclists, removing body hair actually provides aerodynamic benefits in water and could improve swim time. American College of Sports Medicine conducted a study where they found that hairless swimmers experienced a reduction in blood lactate, decreased VO2, and achieved an increase in stroke length. Shaven swimmers also had a significantly reduced rate of velocity decay after an underwater leg push-off, which indicated that removing hair reduced drag.

Laser hair removal for swimmers

Runners

Chaffing is a common problem among runners. Not only does hair contribute to chaffing, it gets in the way of applying medication to relieve chaffing. There is some emerging evidence that being hairless gives a performance advantage to runners. A study by Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that a runner can save 0.01 seconds in the 100m race to 5.7 seconds in a marathon simply by removing body hair. We can agree that even a fraction of a second is crucial in this sport, and that can be achieved just by going hairless.

Laser hair removal for runners

Bodybuilders

What athletic performance benefit could shaving bring for bodybuilders? Their motive is not for performance but for aesthetics. Body hair hinders the display of well-defined and cut muscles. It also obscures the bodybuilder’s tanned body and the view of body art and tattoos – all important performance elements for these professionals. Bodybuilders prefer laser hair removal because they do not have to worry about any of the concerns that arise with shaving, waxing, or tweezing such as razor burns and cuts, ingrown hairs, and skin irritation – especially before a bodybuilding competition.

Laser hair removal for bodybuilders

And in Closing ...

While athletes have different motives for going hairless they do spend a lot of time and money shaving, waxing and tweezing daily or weekly. Many athletes now consider laser hair removal the most effective option for body hair removal to relieve the performance discomfort caused by body hair and if this results in even a slight performance edge, well that’s a welcome bonus too.

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