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Treating Shaving Nicks and Cuts



Even with the sharpest straight razor and steadiest hand, you are bound to experience some nicks and cuts while you shave. For most men, the go-to treatment is bits of toilet paper applied to the cuts until they clot, but it can take a while for the bleeding to stop and it’s easy to forget you have pieces of toilet paper stuck to your face.

Here are a few effective alternatives to soothe stray cuts.

1. Aftershaves

The alcohol in aftershaves acts as an astringent, slowing bleeding by keeping the skin tight; and as an antiseptic, preventing wayward infections from cuts. Witch hazel, a common aftershave ingredient, is also a strong astringent.

The characteristic aftershave burn will feel exponentially worse when you have open cuts on your face. Furthermore, that tight, burning sensation is often a sign that your skin is taking damage. Excess alcohol dries out your pores throughout the day, and as good as you think you smell, too much aftershave can be obnoxious and overpowering. Choose wisely, and if you have more sensitive skin, consider a balm or lotion instead.

2. Alum blocks

Potassium alum has a variety of uses that include water purification, pickling foods, and treating shave cuts. Simply wet your alum block and rub it onto your face after shaving. The alum shrinks your skin’s tissues and halts the flow of blood.

An alum block works well as a treatment for your entire face, making it an excellent choice if you’ve recently started straight razor shaving. Even if you don’t cut your face during a shave, an alum block is a great post-shave treatment that can prevent razor burn and give your face a pleasant, tingling sensation.

3. Styptic pencils

You’ll probably find one of these among your grandfather’s old shaving supplies as they were commonly used prior to the invention of the safety razor. Comprised of a small stick of mineral astringents, styptic pencils are often made of titanium dioxide, anhydrous aluminum sulfate, or potassium alum. These minerals contract blood vessels to stem the bleeding. To use a styptic pencil, wet the tip and press it against your cut for a few seconds. It may sting but the bleeding should stop fairly quickly. Wash away any powdery residue and you should be good to go.

4. Listerine

The mouthwash that’s over a century old wasn’t intended for oral hygiene. In fact, Listerine was originally formulated as a surgical antiseptic and was later distilled and used for cleaning floors and treating gonorrhea. If you don’t have any aftershave on hand, splash some Listerine on your nicks and cuts. The burn will be even more intense than aftershave, but the bleeding will stop almost immediately and leave your skin feeling minty fresh.

5. Petroleum jelly

Vaseline seals the cut, keeps your skin moist, and prevents the formation of hard scabs, which are more likely to leave scars. Dab a bit of Vaseline on your cuts. If you’re out of petroleum jelly, a chapstick or lip balm works just as well.

Hopefully, with these remedies, you can treat your shaving cuts and put your best face forward!