How to Stop a Shaving Nick from Bleeding

It happens to the best of us: You’re in a rush in the morning, and — Ouch! — you catch that little ridge below the knee or, worse, nick that little bump just below your nostril.


Now you’re running late, and you’re trying to stop that seemingly endless trickle of blood. What can you do?

Here a 5 tips to stop a nick from bleeding:

1. Grab an ice cube. The cold causes the tiny blood vessels to constrict, slowing the blood and allowing a clot to form.

2. Use your Chapstick or apply a dab of Vaseline jelly: the waxy ointment help seals the tiny nick and provides a surface for a blood clot to form.

3. Soak a Q-tip in witch hazel and apply gently to the cut. Witch hazel is an astringent, which like the ice cube, constricts blood vessels, slowing the bleeding enough for a clot to form. Warning: this will sting a little.

4. Use your deodorant. This is my favorite tip. Most deodorants have aluminum chloride or a derivative of aluminum chloride like aluminium chlorohydrate. It acts as a hemostatic agent, allowing a blood clot to form quickly — in fact, aluminum chloride is what I use in clinic countless times each day to stop bleeding from skin biopsies. Apply a little bit to your fingertip or spray onto a Q-tip to apply. A styptic stick, if you happen to have one, works the same way.

5. Just hold pressure. As we say in medicine: “All bleeding stops eventually.”

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Photo: Lin Zhizhao

40 thoughts on “How to Stop a Shaving Nick from Bleeding”

  1. I left you a comment on your too small to be a melanoma? post. I know I should go for an eval.

  2. Ultra Shave not only help wounds to heal but, when you shave with this cream it protects the skin against nicks and cuts. It also moisturises your skin all day and improves your skin condition.

  3. Isn’t this what a styptic pencil is for?

  4. Not “Use your deoderant”. You mean “Use your “ANTI-PERSPIRANT”.

    In my understanding, the use of aluminum or aluminum derivative in these products is known to “clog the pores” (I don’t know if this is a dumbed-down phrase meaning the same as your “hemostatic agent” or a separate feature of aluminum).

    Either way, the terms “deodorant” and “anti-perspirant” have come to be used by manufacturers to indicate the absence or presence of aluminum. Those of us paranoid about the aluminum/alzheimer’s link know this from closely checking the ingredients on these things.

  5. Thanks for the tips. I’m constantly cutting myself while shaving. I’m thinking about getting laser hair removal when I graduate just so I won’t have to shave anymore. Is there a particular technique of permanent hair removal that you prefer?

  6. SeaSpray-
    Thanks. I will check it out and reply to you today.

    I have not tried Ultra Shave yet. I’ll look for it. Thanks for the suggestion.


    LOL. Hopefully you don’t cut yourself badly enough to actually need superglue.

    Yes. Technically it is the anti-antiperspirant part that you are using, not the deodorant.

    It depends on the color of your hair and the color of your skin, but laser hair removal such as by IPL (technically not a laser) is usually the best way to go.

  7. Eye drops. It’s what they do. Suppress blood vessels.

  8. Get an ELECTRIC RAZOR !

  9. You mentioned the witch hazel will sting, but the styptic stick (and I assume the antiperspirant) does too… a lot!!! But, it’s worth it sometimes.

  10. I typically use pressure with a bit of tissue moistened with USP Hydrogen Peroxide; It seems to work pretty well and the H2O2 solution keeps the tissue from sticking.

    Is there any reason why I should not do this?

  11. Thos-
    I have not used hydrogen peroxide to stop a cut from bleeding. It is good at dissolving clots on wounds that have crusting, which can improve the scar once it has healed completely.

    Thanks for the tip.

  12. Ken-
    Yup. Thats always a good option.

    Stiptic sticks do sting as well, you’re right.

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  14. Daniel Bergen says:

    I tried both your deodorant suggestion and the ice cube and neither worked. I am quite disappointed.

  15. Daniel Bergen says:

    Though I smoke, so that may be the reason.

  16. davea0511 says:

    First of all, I’m a bleeder. Today on a whim I tried speed-stick (dull razor, d’oh – I looked like a head wound victim – blood everywhere), using the same logic you provided. WOW! I’ve tried lots of stuff in the past, including the styptic stick, but nothing has ever stopped it so immediately and thoroughly. I hoped on the internet to see what others said about doing that knowing full well that such an amazing secret has been known before. Yours was the first link google sent me to.

    Of course I have to go around with my face smelling like a freshly swiped (but clean) armpit – small price to pay though.

  17. Alan Stevens says:

    Dear Dr. Benabio, In tip number 5 of your list of tips “to stop a shaving nick bleeding” you mention you routinely use aluminium chloride in your clinic to stop bleeding from skin biopsies. I am a medical liaison for a small dermatopathology laboratory in Brisbane, Australia. On my visits to the skin cancer clinics we service I have often been asked if I can get a solution of aluminium oxide for the purpose you mention, as it promotes blood clotting.I can get an anti-perspirant (Drichlor) which contains alumimium oxide but most of the doctors don’t want a roll-on pack, they would prefer to dip a Q-tip into a solution, just as you described. Can you help me with the content and concentrations of aluminium oxide,etc. and/or recommend a commercial source? I look forward to your response in this matter.

  18. Yeah I’m still bleeding after an hour of trying all of this and am now missing school because of it

  19. Yeah i tried everything..and unfortunately nothing worked….i go in to work in about 2 hours. What I’m doing now is getting vaseline and applying it all over a small piece of napkin folded in half, but applying a bit more to the side that will come in contact with the cut. Seems to hold the blood in alot better.

  20. yo thank you so much i cut myself real deep, and the vasaline worked after a while with pressure from a napkin, again thank you

  21. Thanks for the advice. Nicked a tiny spot under my nostril which wouldn’t stop bleeding after an hour. I used to have a styptic pencil, but it got misplaced during a recent move.

    After a Google search and your post being the first, I used some of my ex’s homemade lip balm which stopped the bleeding immediately.

  22. I got nicked on my left nostril, nothing worked,ice cube, pressure, aftershave, spirit swab. The bleeding finally stopped by putting a little amount of cutticura medicated powder.

  23. I’ve heard that Vaseline or any by product of petroleum may be harmful when absorbed by the skin.

  24. After trying tissue with no luck and sugar with no luck, I tried Sure Invisible Solid Unscented Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant….worked like a charm. Not sure if it was because the bleeding had slowed before applying it or what….I used to use steptic but the ant-perspirant didn’t sting like the steptic does.

  25. @Anon
    missing school is not a bad thing

  26. Hi really enjoyed reading your article and was wondering where did the Iberians and the French get their dark skin from? (how similar to Italians?)?

  27. The deodorant tip may be the best tip i have received in my lifetime.

  28. ayeayeman says:

    This thing worked !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Thank you for posting this. Vaseline did the trick

  30. John Shaverson says:

    I use tooth paste, works great!! and it leaves you smelling minty fresh.
    Keep on shaving.

  31. Deodorant did the trick lol

  32. J. Madrox says:

    After bleeding for over an hour, I tried the ice trick for 20 minutes. Although it slowed the bleeding considerably, after removing the ice for 40 seconds or so, the bleeding returned as strong as ever (I am assuming that the moisture promoted bleeding).

    I then tried caking on anti-perspirant (Axe), which worked within seconds! I just wanted to thank you for your help.

  33. I had a lip bleed for almost 2 hours. I was use a napkin and applying ice, which slowed the bleeding down considerably. I found this blog and tried the anti-perspirant method. I gave it a try and the bleeding stopped almost immediately. Thanks for the information.

  34. A friend on blood thinners called me after nicking his earlobe while trimming sideburns. Nearly two hours later the blood was still flowing enough to run down his neck. Those of us on this kind of medication need to be told about the anti-perspirant solution. It was highly effective on a small wound and could be of great help in an emergency. People this solution doesn’t work for may have one of the following complications. 1 – Deodorant instead of anti-perspirant … 2 – A much worse cut than they thought … 3 – An underlying medical condition that needs to bee seen to SOON!

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