Don’t rely on toilet tissue when you cut yourself shaving. A stypic pencil will help stop bleeding and promote healing right away.
What is a styptic pencil and what is it made of?
A styptic pencil is made of the potassium alum that you find in an alum block that is crushed and bonded with wax to create a lipstick-like stypic pencil.
While an alum block for shaving cuts can be bulky and cumbersome to apply, a stypic pencil is a much smaller and more convenient way to stop shaving cuts bleeding.
Alum is an antiseptic and astringent – meaning it literally causes skin to tighten up. This is great for shaving cuts and shaving rash when you inflammation and the threat of bacteria – which in turn can cause more inflammation. By shrinking a cut down the bleeding is more likely to stop and tissue can repair itself faster.
How To Use It
While it’s always worth keeping a styptic stick to hand, it could be especially useful if you are trying out a new safety razor. Simply dab the pencil on a shaving cut and the bleeding should stop very quickly. It can burn a little bit just like applying aftershave.
Of course the first step to curing shaving cuts is prevention in the first place a they can still be quite nasty. Choose your razor carefully, take your time, and make sure you have a sharp razor blade so you don’t resort to unnecessary force. Like preventing shaving rash, the key is to prepare properly with a hot towel and minimise the chance of having to use a styptic stick.
Is There a Styptic Pencil Danger?
Alum is crystallised hydrated potassium aluminium sulphate, which causes some people to worry about the health impact of aluminium. Aluminium is used in many items that we have close contact with, including food containers. Some concern has been raised about its use in antiperspirants and a possible link with cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. However, evidence for this is very limited, while trace amounts of metals are constantly removed from our bodies by our kidneys.
In 1965, researchers found that rabbits injected with an extremely high dose of aluminium developed toxic buildups in their brains.
This led to speculation that aluminium from cans, cookware, processed foods and even the water supply could be causing dementia.
However, these results were only seen with extremely high exposures that far exceed the levels that can enter the body through food or potentially through contact with aluminium cookware.
If you are concerned about alum in styptic pencils then consider some more plant-based astringents to cure shaving cuts. We have a great list in our guide to shaving rash.
I’m on a mission to help millions of people around the world ditch expensive and wasteful plastic cartridge razors and switch to traditional safety razors that are far better for the planet.
I discovered the joy of traditional shaving when I was just 14, less than a year after I even started shaving at all. I loved the time-honoured ceremony, precision and quality of soap, brush, razor and aftershave.
My double-edge safety razor from Merkur is still the same one I use every day, although I’ve enjoyed experimenting with a range of models over the years.
Paradoxically I have also been through a long list of interesting facial hair styles, but have never stuck with a full beard. Instead I am normally sporting very intricate mixes of sideburns, moustache and goatee that makes a good shaving system essential.