There are a number of reasons why triathletes are mad about hair removal.
Everybody does it: the men, the women, sometimes even the spectators (but they’re probably triathletes themselves).
So let’s first take a look at why it is done…
Why do Triathletes shave their bodies?
There are 4 main reasons that are often cited by triathletes everywhere:
- Wound Care – when you fall from a bike and cut yourself, if there’s no hair then its much easier to tend to the wound and there is also less chance of infection.
- Recovery Massages – apparently they are easier, though this one seems like a bit of a stretch.
- Cooling on hot days – you’ll be cooler if you have smooth legs.
- It’s Aerodynamic!
While the first 3 are honestly very trivial, the 4th one makes sense especially in the case of cycling and swimming when you’re not wearing a wetsuit.
Check out this video below on the difference between cycling with/without shaved legs:
There are 2 other reasons we’ve come across that definitely should be (and are) taken into account by triathletes:
No matter if you’re a male or a female if you’re performing these demanding tasks for hours on end, your skin will also be rubbing against itself a hell of a lot.
This undoubtedly leads to chafing and so restricting the amount of friction wherever possible is definitely a good idea.
Confidence and Conformity
This reason might rustle some feathers but a large part of why people (men especially) shave their legs is because everyone else is doing it. All the pros do it and most people partaking in triathlon events do it too.
Plus you can’t deny that diving into a pool after shaving your legs makes you feel incredibly swift.
The Best Hair Removal Methods for a Triathlete
Okay so if we’re a triathlete and we want to maintain smooth legs, arms, or wherever for as long and as efficiently as possible what are our options?
This one is by far the most used among the community for both men and women.
Its easy, quick, and cheap.
But its also not very effective at keeping the hairs away for very long and therefore has to be done quite frequently.
Honestly we don’t recommend shaving for the reasons above and also because it makes you prone to red bumps and ingrown hairs.
These days epilating is probably the best all-round hair removal method, even for triathletes.
The technology has advanced enough that its extremely efficient, can be done at home, and is relatively cheap (depending of course on which device you choose to go for).
In addition to this it pulls the hair from the root instead of just shaving it at the surface of the skin. What this means in practice is that the hair follicle itself will become damaged and will result in thinner, fairer hairs growing back in the future. It will also slow the rate at which hair grows. Plus you definitely won’t have to deal with stubble!
With an epilator you will be removing hair less often and even when the hair does grow back it will be a more aerodynamic version of itself due to its thinness.
Like shaving, epilating can be done anywhere on the body and the top of the line device won’t even cost you that much (especially as you won’t ever be buying razors or shaving gel again).
Waxing is another great hair removal method that should definitely be considered. Though we have some thoughts about epilating vs waxing.
It can be done professionally or at home and can take care of hair anywhere on the body.
If you’re going for a professional wax it can get quite pricey, but the at home kits are surprisingly decent.
Wax works in a similar fashion to epilators in that the hair is pulled from the root and the follicle is damaged. There are some debates about which is more painful, but at least for epilating there are some things you can do to make the pain much more bearable.
If you’re looking for something a bit more permanent, then laser hair removal is definitely an option.
This may be more for the women, unless of course the guys are 100% dedicated to being hairless permanently.
Laser hair removal is the only hair removal method that has been scientifically proven to permanently reduce hair growth. With everything else the hair is able to recover over time.
The way it works is that light energy targets melanin in the hair follicles and then heats up and essentially burns the hair.
It is definitely expensive, especially if you go to a professional, but again the technology has progressed enough that you can buy a home kit that is reliable and won’t necessarily break the bank.
Another consideration is that you have to have light skin and dark hair. Because of the way laser hair removal works, melanin in darker skin can also be targeted by the beams and you are at risk of burning your skin. There are options for those with darker skin, but unfortunately nothing that can be done at home is available currently.
So we’ve had a look at why triathletes would want to remove hair on their bodies, and we’ve looked at 4 ways in which that can be done.
Shaving is a bit of a miss, which is why its so surprising that its by far the most popular method among athletes.
We can assume this is because of a lack of knowledge of other more effective methods that are out there, but of course it may just be a personal preference.
If we were to recommend one method it would be the epilator, but if you want to shell out a bit of cash and be smooth forever go for the laser.