Just cut yourself while shaving?
Here is a list of 12 helpful products to disinfect and stop the bleeding.
Additionally, we also share with you a few tips to prevent another shaving cut from happening again.
12 Products to Stop the Bleeding from a Razor Cut
1. Styptic Pencil
Styptic pencils are a specifically designed shaving accessory intended to stop razor cuts from bleeding. Styptic pencils are made from compressed anhydrous aluminum sulfate and wax. When gently dabbed on a razor cut, they will stop the bleeding and disinfect the open wound. Some moderate stinging will occur. Stinging may vary depending on the size of the cut.
2. Alum Block
Alum blocks are a type of aftershave used to both disinfect and to stop bleeding of open wounds. Alum blocks are made from potassium alum. Like the styptic pencil, an alum block will slightly sting when it comes in contact with the shaving cut. To use an alum block, wet it with water and rub it directly onto your face. Alum blocks are affordable and can be purchased at online marketplaces and boutique shave shops.
3. Witch Hazel
A natural astringent, witch hazel will help to stop the bleeding of small shaving cuts. Witch hazel also shrinks swollen tissue (source). Witch hazel does not sting when it comes in contact with an open wound. It’s found in many men’s grooming products such as toners and aftershave balms. To use, pour out a teaspoon-sized amount into your palm, rub your hands together, and apply evenly to your face.
4. Toilet Paper
Toilet paper is a helpful way to stop a cut from continuously bleeding. However, toilet paper has no antiseptic qualities; therefore, a shaving cut does need to be washed thoroughly before application. When applying, you may need to fold it a few times so it can absorb the blood and stick to your skin. Once the clot has formed, simply remove the toilet paper.
Aftershaves will often contain either alcohol or witch hazel as their base ingredient. Both alcohol and witch hazel will disinfect and stop bleeding from occurring. The biggest difference between these two ingredients is the stinging effect. Alcohol will sting when applied to a shaving cut. Witch hazel will not sting when applied. Alcohol is commonly found in aftershave splashes and lotions whereas witch hazel is found in select aftershave splashes and aftershave balms.
6. Cold Water or Ice Cubes
Both cold water and ice cubes are helpful in temporarily numbing the pain. Additionally, cold water will constrict the blood vessels, which helps to stop the bleeding. It is recommended to apply cold water or an ice cube to the cut for approximately 30 seconds to stop blood flow.
7. Lip Balm
Like a styptic pencil, lip balms often contain wax. This natural protectant and sealant should only be applied once the cut has been thoroughly cleaned out. A lip balm may or may not sting, depending on the ingredients contained within.
8. Petroleum Jelly
Like a lip balm, petroleum jelly (Vaseline) can be an effective sealant for a shaving cut. Petroleum jelly has no disinfectant or astringent properties. Therefore, it should only be used after a shaving cut has been treated.
Antiperspirants often contain the active ingredient aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly or aluminum chloride. These aluminum compounds are used to plug pores to prevent the sweat glands from excreting fluids. Based on personal accounts (anecdotally), it has been claimed to be effective at healing a shaving cut. As far as the safety concerns, we could not find any proven scientific evidence of antiperspirants and open wounds.
Many types of mouthwash contain alcohol to remove bacteria. This potent disinfectant also acts as an astringent and will constrict blood vessels to stop bleeding. Apply a small amount to a cotton ball and then rub it on the open wound.
Rather than using toilet paper or gauze, a simple band-aid is effective at stopping mild bleeding. Before applying, make sure that the wound is fully cleaned. Consider applying a scar cream (i.e. Neosporin) to reduce the appearance of a scar, especially if the wound is large.
12. Other Products
Medical grade products such as QuickClot are used on battlefield wounds. These are a hemostatic dressing that contains kaolin (a type of clay) which helps to clot a wound quicker (source).
Hydrogen peroxide helps disinfect a cut prior to it being dressed with a band-aid or tissue.
Alternative products and home remedies to treat minor shaving nicks include eye drops, a green tea bag, lotions, and other products. Exercise caution when using any of these products as they may cause adverse side effects.
How to Treat a Wound to Stop Bleeding
Follow these steps to quickly treat the wound:
- Wash Hands: Cleaning your hands will prevent the spread of bacteria.
- Disinfect: Clean the wound with cool to warm soapy water, alcohol, or another disinfectant.
- Rinse: Apply ice-cold water to temporarily numb the pain.
- Apply Pressure: Press a clean washcloth or gauze firmly on the shaving cut. Hold until the bleeding has stopped.
- Treat Wound: Place a band-aid on the wound.
- Hospital: If the bleeding doesn’t stop, stitches or medical-grade glue will be required. Seek medical attention immediately.
4 Simple Tips to Prevent Another Shaving Cut on Your Face (Or Elsewhere)
If you cut yourself regularly while shaving, consider making some changes to your routine to prevent future mishaps. Consider the following:
- Technique: The most common cause of shaving cuts is poor technique. This includes applying too much pressure, shaving against the grain, not holding the skin taut, and in some instances, not holding the razor properly. Consider reviewing your technique closely to try and spot areas of improvement.
- Dull Blades: Contrary to popular belief, a dull blade does a poor job of cleanly removing facial hair and requires additional pressure. With increased pressure applied, the razor blade is more likely to cut your skin. Change your razor blade regularly.
- Poor Lubrication: Pre-shave oils and shaving cream increase lubrication and provide cushion to the razor blade. They also help to reduce friction and increase pliability to the skin. Use a shave cream that retains heat and moisture and is absent of skin-drying alcohol.
- Inadequate Prep: Facial hair should be moistened before shaving. Whether it’s through a shower, a wet and hot towel, or from simply splashing water, make sure your facial hair feels soft and pliable prior to shaving.
The tips above will also help reduce razor burn when shaving.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.