It was bound to happen sooner or later, really just a matter of time, but today marked my first cut significant enough to warrant a styptic pencil.
First, what is that? A styptic pencil is used to stop bleeding, made up primarily of aluminum sulfate it basically contracts the skin and blood vessels while helping things clot. It has the look and feel of a piece of chalk, with a pointed end to help target the bleeding spot.
I’m not entirely sure what happened, but I think I might have had a pimple or bug bite lurking beneath the two days growth of stubble. I was shaving along on the first pass (with the grain), when I felt a noticeable bump along the back of right jaw. I turned my head to look, and sure enough there was a noticeable amount of blood welling up already.
This probably should have been my cue to leave the area alone. Being the wise man that I am, I just went ahead lathering and shaving it twice more (across the grain and against the grain). Each time I’d wash my face, apply shaving cream, and in a moment have a nice red blotch appear in the white foam. Is that the best way to handle a bleeder? Probably not, but meh.
I wrapped up the shave and gave a cold water wash, which normally handles anything bleeding. There was still a bit of blood coming out, not much but enough that I decided that I both wanted to avoid getting it on my church clothes and that this would be a great time to try out my styptic pencil. It’d been sitting on my counter for six months doing nothing, might as well see how it worked.
Everything I’d heard is that it would burn. Honestly, I didn’t fell anything. I pressed it against the cut, which wasn’t large at all for the amount of blood that had come out, and after about ten seconds pulled it back away. No more blood, cut hardly noticeable. and except for some white residue that appeared a moment later no problems.
I’m sold. If you’re thinking of getting into wet shaving, or you’re already trying it yourself, pick yourself up a styptic (an alum bloc also works I’m told). Did I NEED it? Maybe not, but it sure was handy.