Ask Dr. NerdLove: Wolf Like Me

Dear Doctor,

I have a problem in that I have quite a hairy chest, not so much Huge Jackman Wolverine as it is Teen-wolf.  Now I can joke about it all I want by saying I put a towel down on my chest before having sex as it saves her on getting carpet burn, but it’s getting to a stage where both my male and female friends are saying that something needs to be done about it but if I get something done I’d then be a ‘metro-fag’. Apart from their horrible flawed logic is there any thing you can advise as to what a sasquatch can do?

Or even how a guy can go about shaping his personal appearance to make sure that he doesn’t scare off the girl with a pedo-neck beard?

Your friends are profoundly unhelpful. Nothing like telling you to do something then calling you a “metro-fag” (what is that, anyway? A gay subway stop?) if you do.

Quit listening to ’em and learn the fine art of manscaping.

You have a few options that vary in terms of time, commitment, cost and pain tolerance. To start with, you could always take things on as a DIY project and just trim that sucker yourself. Norelco makes a line of body-groomers for men specifically designed for taming body hair above and below the belt. Find one that works for you, set the clip guard and start trimming your chest hair down to something more maintainable. Trimming your chest hair to one length and the hair on your abdomen to a shorter one will also make your chest look larger and your stomach look smaller and leaner. Plus, trimming down the hair will help show off your definition. A combination of trimming and a depilatory cream like Nair (who make a line of products for men now) will help get things under control. Just be careful; if you have sensitive skin, Nair can cause rashes and if you try to use it somewhere sensitive, it’s gonna sting like a mother.

If you’re so fuzzy (like, Robin Williams’ yeti-pelt fuzzy) that you can’t actually see skin, you may want to consider waxing or sugaring. Yes, it’s going to hurt like a son-of-a-bitch… and yet women are busy getting their crotches waxed, so man up and take it, ya wuss. This sort of hair removal will leave you completely smooth chested for somewhere between two to six weeks, depending on your usual hair-growth patterns. You’ll need to do some due diligence afterwards with tweezers, toner and astringent; waxing can lead to ingrown hairs and there’s nothing quite like trying to deal with chest acne before a date.  Sugaring will be a little easier on your skin, but salons that offer it can be few and far between. Check with Google and Yelp to see whether anyone in your area offers it.

Your other options involve permanent removal. Electrolysis is one method, zapping each individual hair follicle with electricity, killing the follicle dead. You would need multiple sessions to permanently remove the hair growth, especially if your chest-thatch is as thick as you say it is. It’s also currently the only way to permanently remove light-colored hair.

Laser hair removal is another option, but under limited conditions; you want a great deal of contrast between the hair and skin. If you have light hair and light skin, you’re not a good candidate for laser hair removal. If you have dark, coarse hair with light skin, you’re pretty much an ideal candidate. Plus, c’mon. It’s about as freaking sci-fi as it gets! Betting bombarded with lasers! It seems like you should sign a disclaimer claiming that you won’t get upset with them if you don’t develop superpowers!

Both electrolysis and laser hair removal are going to require multiple sessions, depending on the area being depilitated and both of ’em are gonna hurt. Which is going to hurt worse will depend on who you ask. Both methods carry some risk of scarring and both are gonna cost.

If you do go the laser hair removal, I’d recommend consulting with a dermatologist rather than going straight to the place that just opened up in the local strip mall. You want a doctor who’s performed thousands of procedures, not somebody with a degree from ITT tech and two weeks of training. Because, once again: lasers. You don’t want to have an amateur shooting lasers at you.

Don’t worry about your asshole friends calling you “metro-fag”; take that label and wear it with pride. Our gay bretheren were on the bleeding edge of men realizing that there was more to male grooming than “A couple of spritz under the pits and out the door you go” and it’s beyond time that the straight men of the world finally caught up to ’em.

  • Toast

    Electrolysis is permanent, but if "multiple sessions" left anyone with the impression that two or three treatments will do the trick – it won't.

    I'm a woman and started electrolysis because I was tired of shaving/plucking the dark hairs on my upper lip. Even if I'd just let them grow, they would be much, much sparser than chest hair. And my lip's only a couple of square inches – your chest is probably much bigger.

    I've had a fifteen minute session every two weeks for a year, and I'm still not done. (Electrolysis can only treat the follicles that are currently active – at any given time, lots of your hair follicles are dormant.) To do your chest, you'll have to have longer sessions – your initial sessions probably won't even cover the whole area unless you're up for a multi-hour marathon.

    Electrolysis techs charge by the hour, so that treatment has already run me around $800. Multiply that by how much larger a man's chest is, and how much denser the hair is … it adds up. (I've read about male-to-female transsexuals budgeting $10K and up for permanent beard removal. It can cost more than genital surgery. And that's still a smaller surface area than the chest.)

    Electrolysis pros never tire of telling you that the FDA has approved electrolysis, but not laser treatments, for permanent hair removal. If you're okay with reducing your chest hair and not removing it, though, the distinction might not matter. Laser treatments are often billed as significantly reducing unwanted hair, rather than eliminating it. Most patients have a significant reduction in hair in the treated areas, but a few unlucky ones have it all grow back.

    I decided against laser treatment because it's not permanent, so I don't have any experience with it. Maybe someone else can chime in, even if the thread is a couple of months old?

  • Samantha

    Oooooooooor you can find someone who actually loves bodyhair on a guy 😉

    • zzz

      I agree. My guy is quite fuzzy — like Robin-Williams, but blonde — and I love it. It's so masculine. The letter writer doesn't give his age, but perhaps he hasn't, erm, grown into his chest hair yet? I think when he and the women he seeks are older, it'll be a different story.

  • Peterson

    I agree with Samantha, there are lots of ladies out there who crave for guys with such hair. Trust me, you just need to find the right one. Thanks for sharing anyways.

  • George
  • Reformer

    I need my abdominal hair. It serves a vital function: guiding lint into my navel for easy collection and disposal. Where would it go otherwise?

    I have taken this site's advice and started shaving my shoulder-blades though. That hair was just weird.