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Waxing and Sports: Why Athletes Go Hairless

March 09, 2017

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Female Swimmer Have you ever been watching the Olympics, a soccer match, or the Tour de France and questioned why sports competitors' skin looks as if it had no body hair? Even if hair removal is not a popular topic to address during interviews, athletes constantly turn to different hair removal products and methods to leave their bodies hair-free before a competition or a match.

A lot has been said about why athletes remove their body hair. Some experts say that having no hair improves the aerodynamics of the human body in a way that athletes can take advantage of, maximizing their performance. However, there is more to it than just science; athletes themselves have given some understandable explanations as to why they shave or wax. Based on their justifications, here are six reasons that explain why athletes tend to remove their body hair:
  • Better performance
    Some studies show that swimmers and runners can swim and run faster when they are hairless, although there is no 100% certainty this is true. According to the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, hairless bodies can save up to 0.01 seconds when running 100 m or even 5.7 seconds in total during a marathon. Moreover, runners, tennis players, and cyclist affirm hairless skin feels cooler during exercise which helps their performance.

  • Medical care
    Cyclists say that wound healing is much safer –less chance of infection— and faster with hairless legs; calming oils and creams are easier to apply too. They are not the only ones, though. Soccer players are often asked to shave their legs since hair-free skin is much easier to treat in case of injury during a match. For most athletes, hair removal just means medical prevention.
  • Smoother skin
    Believe or not, exfoliation helps swimmers. The removal of dead skin cells makes swimmers' skin smoother so they feel more comfortable inside the pool. For this reason, some swimmers turn to waxing or other hair removal methods a couple times a year. In a 2012 interview with Vanity Fair magazine, Olympic swimmer Ricky Berens stated that he uses women's shaving cream once or twice a year to remove his body hair and pamper his skin. Like Berens, lots of professional swimmers turn to shaving or waxing to refresh the skin after spending so much time in the pool.

  • Comfort
    Using kinesiology tapes (K-tapes), compression socks, or any other kind of sports accessory is much more comfortable when you don't have any hair. Have you ever noticed how much equipment football players wear? Their socks or kneepads can rip hair out, which can cause unexpected pain during a match. Waxing is just a practical decision for most of them.

    Triathletes are another great example of this. Going from swimming 2.4 miles, to biking 112 miles and running 26.219 miles more during an Ironman Triathlon requires athletes to discard every single possibility of discomfort or possible pain, including hairy legs.

  • Massage treatments
    It's normal for athletes to get massages every week or so to relax the muscles, especially for long distance runners or sprinters; this process is much more relaxing with fuzz-free legs. During a race, sometimes marathoners stop and get a quick massage to relieve leg cramps; this can cause uncomfortable hair knots which may jeopardize their performance afterwards.

  • Athlete on The Starting Blocks
  • Looks
    Besides being athletes, some soccer or tennis players work as models for famous sports brands, for example. After all, famous athletes are public figures, which is why it is important to them to have a smooth, healthy-looking body.
When facing regional, national, or international championships, athletes prepare their bodies with everything necessary to feel most comfortable during the competition, even if it means waxing most of their body hair. This strategy should not only be restricted to professional athletes or triathletes though. Casual runners, cyclists, or occasional swimmers can also turn to this hair removal method if they want to avoid the common discomfort that comes when practicing sports with hairy skin.

If you're a licensed esthetician who treats athletes at your spa or beauty business, Beauty Image offers you a wide array of soft body waxes and hard body waxes to pamper your clients. You can purchase our quality products and accessories from the comfort of your home through our website; watch our video tutorials to learn how. For more information about our waxing products, find us on Facebook at Beauty Image USA, follow us on Instagram @BeautyImageUSA and Twitter @BeautyImageUSA.

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