Will shaving my chest damage my skin?

Man preparing to shave.
Stubble may appear on your chest in as little as a day after shaving. See more pictures of personal hygiene practices.
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For some men, shaving their chests is just like women shaving their legs -- it makes them feel better about their appearance. If you're considering shaving your chest, there are a few things you should know. First of all, it's relatively harmless and won't damage your skin if done carefully and correctly. The complications that can arise from shaving your chest are the same as those that can arise from shaving your beard. Second of all, if you do shave your chest, it won't grow back any thicker. That's just a myth [source: Barba].

Keep in mind that shaving only removes hair above the skin so it doesn't take long to resurface. You may have stubble in as little as a day following a shave [source: Hirsch]. The most common complications that can arise from shaving your chest are skin irritation and ingrown hairs. You may also experience an itching sensation as the hair grows back. The best way to avoid these side effects is to follow proper shaving techniques to ensure that you'll get smooth results.


If your chest hair is long and thick, trim it with a pair of scissors or an electric trimmer. Follow that with a hot shower or a bath because this will help soften the hair and skin on your chest. Next, apply an alcohol-free shaving gel or a cream: Alcohol can dry out your skin and cause irritation. Also, make sure you use a clean, sharp razor blade [source: Mayo Clinic]. While shaving, don't push too hard with the razor and don't shave the same area too many times because this can cause irritation. Be especially careful shaving around the nipples because they're more sensitive than the rest of your chest. When you're done shaving, rinse your chest with warm water and apply an alcohol-free moisturizer. Alcohol has a cooling sensation that may provide relief from shaving irritation, but it also can evaporate quickly and dry out the skin.

By following these rules, the final result should be a smooth chest and undamaged skin. See the links on the next page for more information on shaving.


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Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Barba, Alicia MD. "Nonlaser Hair Removal Techniques." eMedicine. May 27, 2008. (accessed 08/25/2009)http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1067139-overview
  • Hirsch, Larissa MD. "Hair Removal." Kid's Health. Jan. 2008. (accessed 08/25/2009)http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/skin_stuff/hair_removal.html#
  • Mayo Clinic. "Skin Care: Top 5 habits for healthy skin." Dec. 28, 2007. (accessed 08/25/2009)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-care/SN00003/NSECTIONGROUP=2