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Cuts Like A…Razor Blade

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“Son of a biscuit!” “Motherfuddrucker!” Very similar phrases poured forth as I tried not to fall and do more damage to my already-bleeding head. I had just cut the holy-living heck out of my scalp. In the shower. At 12:15 a.m., before my graveyard shift. What a better place and time? 


As I continued to gasp in pain, I could feel rivulets of what I hoped was water running down the side of my neck.  

Nope, it was bright red. Great. No one to blame but myself. I shave in the shower, doing my head first and then my face. Dorco Pace for my head and then my trusty Fatboy with Astra Platinum blades. 

I had just replaced both…and not paying attention, brought my hand up sideways to get cut above my right ear and that’s when I cut the holy-living heck out of my scalp. Nice and deep too! What’s worse than cutting yourself with one razor blade? Multiple blades!

So I quickly got done with the rest of the shave and as I dried off, put my hand up to the site. Yep, still bleeding. 

You may have wondered why you bleed so much when all you do is nick your face (or head) with a razor. There are two reasons. One, because of the number of large blood vessels near the surface of your face and scalp. Ask any doctor or EMT. Head wounds bleed like crazy, even if it’s not very serious. The second reason is because you’re cutting it with a very sharp piece of metal. That prevents the blood from clotting as easily as it does when you hurt your arm, leg or just about any other part of your body. 

I knew this to be true as the wound continued to bleed. There are a number of remedies that are always brought up. Let’s go through the list.


First, the trusty styptic pencil. It’s a stick of anhydrous aluminum sulfate. It restricts the blood flow by contracting the wall of the blood vessel.  That stops the bleeding. You get it wet and keep the pencil in contact with the site until the blood stops flowing. This, alas, did not work. I think the cut was too big. No, I didn’t get stitches, it wasn’t that big. Just too much for my trust styptic pencil handle. 

Witch Hazel

Next up: Witch hazel. I read where it can help close small nicks and cuts. Plus it will help disinfect the wound. I did that and it hurt like crazy. No, it didn’t make any progress on the cut but I didn’t think I’d die of an infection. 

Alum Block

On the list: Alum block. Same direction as the witch hazel, wet and put against the wound and hold it. The result? No changes. 

I knew the trusty patch of toilet paper could be in my future, but I wanted to try some other remedies first. 

I searched on my phone and found some other possibilities. 


One…use an alcohol-based aftershave. What? Who are these people? S&M followers? It’s now 12:35 a.m. and I really don’t want to wake my whole family up with my screaming from the burn. While this article said it acts as an astringent, I’m not sure my wife would appreciate the ordeal. 

Deodorant Or Lip Balm?

Two and three…deodorant/anti-perspirant or lip balm. Are these people crazy? I’m constantly re-swabbing my neck to get the blood off, now I want to get it on my lip balm or anti-perspirant?  How the heck would I clean that off?


Four…an ice cube. Not a possibility with the overnight shift I work. I’m not going to rummage through the ice maker to get one to stick on my neck. Plus, I’m not dressed yet. Again, trying to keep the trauma from my kid’s lives. 

The Classic

I decided to use two things that have definitely worked it the past: toilet paper and time. That finally did the trick. 

Granted, for some of my smaller cuts, the first couple of remedies have worked. 

I know the best way to not have to deal with this is simple: slow down and pay attention to where I’m shaving and the angle of the razor. Because when I don’t…I have to deal with the bloody issue…with tissue.

Jay Harrell

Jay Harrell

11 thoughts on “Cuts Like A…Razor Blade”

  1. Ouch. Now my ear cut doesn’t seem so bad.

    From time-to-time I think of trying a straight, but then realize I drink too much for that.

  2. Once upon a time (as many tales begin), I cut both of my lips while trying to learn to shave with a straight razor. I wasn’t paying attention, and I brought the razor with the sharp edge right onto my lips. Ouch! After an hour, with many applications of styptic pencil and lots of toilet paper, the bleeding stopped. I never tried a straight razor again. It made me too nervous to enjoy the shave. I went back to my DE razor.

  3. Can someone please tell me why they shave their head?
    I live in Australia and I have asked several blokes why they do it. They said it was cooler (summer) but then they covered up with hats or bandannas to stop from getting sunburned which in my eyes kind of defeats the purpose of head shaving to keep cool.
    Is it the same in America?

    1. I decided to shave my head because I was going bald, with only hair over my ears and around the crown. We call this a “cul-de-sac.”
      I was tired of paying someone $15 or more every couple of weeks to cut it. I didn’t have enough hair for it to be cooler without it.
      Now, after a couple of years, it’s part of my daily routine of self care.

  4. Do not lump all deodorants into one category and blindly dismiss them. Unscented Crystal Mineral Deodorant Stick is a solid cylinder of potassium alum in a container that acts as a holder for the alum. Crystal is not the only company that sells similar products.

  5. Ground black pepper will stop bleeding instantly. People’s Pharmacy recommended it years ago in one their NPR shows. It does leave black beads of blood and pepper though.

  6. Brian Fiori (AKA The Dean)

    I don’t shave my head, but the worst shaving related bleeding I’ve ever experienced is when I’ve cut my ear while doing a little outer ear hair removal. Man the ear bleeds like a stuck pig. It’s happened to me on a few occasions over the years. (Fortunately not recently.)

    I went through many of the same steps as you and usually I finally to get it to stop without resorting to wearing toilet paper out in public. But once even though the TP finally worked to stop the bleeding, it started again later in the day. Not a pleasant experience. I never knew the ear had that many blood vessels.

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