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How to Achieve a Shaved Chest Without the Rash, According to Dermatologists

Manicuring chest hair, like any good hedgerow of stubborn bushes, takes persistence, tactful tools, and thoughtful aftercare. The skin is tempestuous. A silky shave is on the table so far as just the right conditions are presented. Too close, razor burn. Not close enough, rough stubble — a worse fate than the preceding chest hair. No one wants to subject their diligently-sculpted pecs to exanthema. 

This needle is particularly difficult to thread with a lot of hair or when in a rush. Fortunately, there are a plethora of skin-smoothing products that claim to treat and prevent razor burn on the chest. Those who have felt the wrath before can find solace and calm seas with the right approach. 

Best Shaving and Razor-Burn Relief/Prevention Products: At a Glance

Best for ingrown hair recovery

First Aid Beauty Ingrown Hair Pads

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Bee Bald HEAL Post-Shave Healing Balm

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Cremo Barber Grade Original Shave Cream

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Double Edge Safety Razor by Vikings Blade

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Gillette SkinGuard Razors for Men

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MANSCAPED® Electric Groin Hair Trimmer, The Lawn Mower™ 4.0

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Phillips Norelco Shaver 3800, Rechargeable Wet & Dry Shaver

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Body Prescriptions Body Scrub for Men

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MANSCAPED® The Body Buffer Premium Silicone Scrubber

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AmLactin Rapid Relief Restoring Body Cream

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Under Armour Men’s Tech 2.0 Short Sleeve T-Shirt

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What the Experts Say

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dustin Portella, there are multiple routes to razor burn. ”The first is scratching or irritation of the skin from the razor itself, which can be caused by a dull razor, not enough lubrication on the skin, or shaving when your skin already has some irritation,” he told SPY. “And the second thing that can cause characteristic razor burn would be small ingrown hairs.” 

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The razor industry’s quest for optimization with more blades and a closer shave can also cause razor burn inadvertently. Multi-blade razors lift hairs up and cut them so short that they end up falling below the surface of the skin. Then, if the skin seals over the hair or the hair punctures through the fall of the follicle, ingrown hairs — a type of razor burn — result.   

“For someone prone to ingrown hairs and razor burn, we typically recommend using razors with fewer blades rather than more,” Dr. Portella added. “A well-sharpened single-blade razor can do a great job with less risk of razor burn. And using an electric trimmer or clippers that don’t actually cut the hair below the skin can also be a good option.”

Additionally, licensed esthetician Ian Michael Crum emphasized that clothing can also reduce the chances of razor burn on the chest and other parts of the body — something that exclusively face-shaving men don’t have to take into consideration. “If you’re freshly shaven, tight clothing against the skin increases the chance of irritation,” he said. “Definitely be mindful of how tight clothes fit when working out if you just shaved your chest. A loose-fitting shirt or tank top would be preferable in that situation.”

Crum also encouraged men to pay attention to what they do before they actually take a razor to their chest. Prepping the area ahead of time can make the shaving process far less likely to cause irritation. “If you have longer chest hair, it’s helpful to use some sort of trimmer before using a razor for the close shave because it’ll reduce friction. And using a gentle — and I emphasize gentle — body scrub before shaving will also help reduce friction by removing dead skin,” Crum said.

But even with the right tools and a solid plan, razor burn may flare up on occasion. When that happens, there are steps guys can take to reduce the pain without taking a hiatus from working out. 

“Applying a cold compress can calm the inflammation either before or after working out,” Dr. Poertella said. “You can also calm down that inflammation with a good moisturizer. Look for something that’s fragrance-free and alcohol-free as it will be less irritating to the skin.” 

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Best for ingrown hair recovery

These alcohol-free pads gently slough away dead skin cells that can trap hairs, thanks to a formula that includes glycolic and salicylic acids, as well as aloe and witch hazel to help soothe and moisturize. They’re also perfect for sensitive skin as they’re free from alcohol, artificial colors, and artificial fragrance.

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As the banding suggests, Bee Bald post-shave healing balm includes honey and pollen among its many natural ingredients. Intended for use immediately after shaving, Bee Bald uses natural compositions and botanicals to prevent and treat bumps, redness, and other shave-related irritations. Effective in small amounts, a small tube will last longer than anticipated. 

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Forget shave foams and fluffy shaving creams. Cremo shave cream is both thick and slick, reducing friction and preventing abrasions. Formulated with macadamia seed oil, aloe, calendula extract, papaya extract, and olive leaf extract, it’s well-equipped to ensure the chest stays free from stray nicks while improving skin health.

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There’s nothing more badass than a single blade perched atop a Viking-inspired handle. The stout handle is heavier than it appears at first glance, improving grip and balance. The single-blade system prevents over-shaving, and changing blades is simple as can be with a completion time of around five seconds.

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A more modern shave option, Gillette SkinGuard razors include just two blades separated by a  silicone guard that works to minimize tug and pull. It cuts hair at the skin level, helping to prevent irritation, and includes lubricating strips that treat skin both before and after the blades.

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If it’s gentle enough for your bikini line, it’s gentle enough for your chest. The name Lawn Mower doesn’t exactly evoke images of tender loving care, but anyone would be hard-pressed to find an electric trimmer better suited to groom even the most sensitive areas. Rust-proof, ceramic snap-in blades are easy to clean or replace for optimal hygiene and sharpness, and a 4000k LED spotlight is handy for maintaining a clear view of surfaces that require shaving.

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A five-directional pivot, as well as flex and floating movements, help this shaver closely follow the curves and contours of your chest. It can be used with or without a shaving lubricant and is waterproof for those who enjoy the convenience of a shower shave. Rounded caps shield 27 self-sharpening blades to cut hair just above skin level gently, and the pop-up trimmer is perfect for those wanting a pre-shave preparation.

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A buttery scrub that’s more of an exfoliating soap, there’s no chance of over-exfoliating with this pick. With just enough grit to gently scrape off dead skin that may inhibit a smooth shave (and the antiseptic and healing properties of tea tree oil), it’s a scrub that makes for very happy skin.

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Superior to the average loofah, the rounded silicone bristles on Manscape’s body buffer provide just enough friction to gently exfoliate the skin, and they hold less bacteria than a traditional brush or loofah. It also features an ergonomic no-slip handle and is incredibly easy to clean.

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$19.99 $24.99

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This 2-in-1 exfoliator and moisturizing cream uses lactic acid to boost healthy skin renewal through gentle exfoliation. It also includes three essential ceramides — the “glue” that holds skin cells together keeping skin barriers intact — to improve skin health and seal in moisture.  

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Under Armour’s tech shirts are not only constructed from breathable materials, but they also have a streamlined fit that’s just loose enough to prevent skin irritation. There’s nothing fancy about the design, but the shirts are available in an impressive number of variations. Choose from over a dozen colors, both long-sleeve and sleeveless options, and sizes ranging from XS to 5X. 

Before you check out

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