By Adam Hurly for GQ.
Keep calm and carry chapstick.
Whether you’re a five-blade shaving master or a novice taking care of some wiry chin hairs, chances are you’re still going to slip up and nick yourself every now and then. Sometimes it’s the result of a small bump on the skin or an ingrown hair. Other times, it’s just the universe telling you that you’re moving too fast. Regardless, shaving cuts are gonna happen, and no one wants to stride into the office with an open wound.
Every man alive has tried the toilet paper method — you know, using a tiny bit of TP to block the blood flow until it clots. While smart in concept (and MacGyver-esque in execution), it’s not something we wholeheartedly endorse. Toilet paper dissolves easily, and we’re not fans of letting anything dissolve inside an open wound. (You can quote us on that.) All you’re doing is stopping the blood flow — what you need to do is actively treat the cut. Plus when you peel that dried, half-dissolved piece of paper off, you risk opening it up again.
There are several ways to heal a minor nick. The best regimen will disinfect and heal. We prefer the lip-balm method. It cleans the cut, halts bleeding, and quickly heals the skin.
GQ’s Shave-Cut Healing Regimen:
1. Press a warm washcloth against the cut for 30 seconds, until bleeding slows or stops. Warm water will help clean the cut and slow blood loss.
2. Apply a witch-hazel-based toner or other alcohol-free aftershave to disinfect the wound.
3. Hold an ice cube against the cut for 15-30 seconds, to constrict the blood vessels. This should stop bleeding altogether.
4. Apply unused lip balm to the nick. (Or you can scrape off any part of the chapstick that has touched your lips to remove any germs.) This will provide a nourishing barrier that keeps blood in, and keeps the bad stuff out.
5. Let it be for 30 minutes, then gently wipe the balm away — gently, we say — since there will be excess balm (and maybe a little blood) atop your skin. By now, the cut should be done draining, and there should be some balm inside the wound, helping to nurture the nick.
6. Spot-treat the cut with a soothing moisturizer. Ideally, you already applied an aftershave balm to your whole face following the shave. But a spot-treatment to this cut will expedite healing.
Use Alum Block
The easiest solution, in our opinion, is alum block. It’s a small brick made of the mineral potassium alum; dampen it with cold water, then press it gentle against a cut. The alum disinfects the nick and foils further bleeding. Many guys will apply it against the entire shaved region (as an aftershave remedy), to prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs. After each use, let it dry completely before storing. We like Mr. Natty’s You’ve Been Nicked Bar.
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