It's no wonder bodybuilders have an affinity for smooth, hair-free skin -- it lets their muscles to take center stage during competition. While a variety of approaches for going hairless exist, don't assume the method you use on your legs or face is best for your entire body; choose a hair-removal tactic for bodybuilding based on your skin and hair type.
Shaving is ideal for quick, on-the-spot removal. It's non-invasive, as it cuts hair off above the skin. Always smooth on a shaving cream formulated for your skin type and use a clean and sharp razor. Gently press the razor down and move it in the opposite direction of hair growth; if you're prone to irritation or razor bumps, shave in the same direction of the growth. Shaving can be difficult to do on your own, particularly in hard-to-reach areas like the back. Razor extenders are available, which attach to the end and work as a long handle. Always moisturize your skin after shaving with a noncomedogenic product to soothe redness and irritation. Hair will begin to grow back one or two days after shaving, depending on the individual.
The Wonders of Waxing
Waxing removes hair from the root, with results that typically last between 3 and 4 weeks. For large areas like the back and chest, it's best to visit an esthetician -- this ensures that the correct type of wax is used for the thickness of your hair and skin needs, while removing the hair properly. For smaller areas like the arms, you can use at-home wax kits. Heat the wax as indicated and smooth it on in the direction of hair growth. Press the strip down and pull the skin taut before removing it in the opposite direction of growth. Follow with a soothing aloe-based toner and rich moisturizer.
Depilatory creams contain chemicals that dissolve the hair just below the surface of the skin. The results last between two and three weeks. They're ideal for those with normal to dry skin, but can irritate sensitive skin. Always use a depilatory formulated for the area of the body that you intend to use it on. Both cream and spray-on formulas are available for easy application. Smooth on an oil-based moisturizer afterward to minimize redness and tightness in the skin.
Lose It With Lasers
Laser hair removal serves as a more permanent method for achieving smooth skin. Pulsating light from the laser dissolves pigment at the root of the follicle. Hair growth is reduced after each session, which is scheduled according to the area's regrowth speed. Growth is lightened significantly or stopped completely after four to eight treatments. Laser hair removal works best on coarse and dark hair. The area needs to be shaved before treatment, and hair will gradually fall out after the session. Visit a dermatologist or certified laser specialist to arrange a consultation and develop a program suited for your skin type and hair-removal needs.