Why haven't Band-Aids been replaced by the styptic pencil?

I discovered styptic pencils as a preteen when I still hadn’t got the hang of shaving and wanted to seal cuts up fast. The only reason I stopped buying them was because my local store stopped carrying them. But I’ve looked online and they are available for very low prices. So why haven’t these become as ubiquitous as Band-Aids, and why do people still use a strip of cotton and adhesive which doesn’t stop bleeding and sometimes isn’t even sufficient to soak it up?

You weren’t cutting yourself right.

Put differently, styptic pencils work very well for small nicks (even then, though, I find that I may have to apply once, it’ll bleed a bit more, then I’ll blot and apply again).

For a medium size or bigger shaving cut, they do little to nothing in the short term – if any quantity of blood is flowing, you’ll need at a minimum to press some toilet paper on it till it clots up a bit.

Take it a step further, I cut my finger last night on my new ceramic knife. Not bad, not deep, just a nasty stinging slice about a half inch long on the back of my knuckle. I’ve got three bloody paper towels in the trash can next to me as I type, and a band aid on my finger because (a) it wouldn’t totally stop bleeding and I didn’t want to get blood all over; (b) it’s kind of cringeworthy to look at as I contemplate just how much worse that insanely sharp knife could have sliced me open; and © I put anti-bacterial ointment on it and a band aid over it to keep germs out. A styptic pencil (I have two) never crossed my mind, would have been a bad joke for any size cut like that.

I guess my feeling was that Band-Aids were also only for minor nicks, because when I’ve tried to apply them to cuts that are too large or deep for a styptic pencil, I bled through them anyway.

band aids are wound dressing, often not tight enough to apply the pressure to stop bleeding.

Right, hence my mention of paper towels – the band aid was not my first resort, that was squeezing the finger wrapped in a paper towel till the bleeding subsided (or the facial corollary, pressing a shred of toilet paper onto the cut till it clots a bit).

I’ve taken blood anticoagulant for 20 years and bleed from small cuts. I use a lot of band-aids and they always stop the bleeding. Has a lot to do with what type you use. I use a flexible fabric band-aid.

Wasn’t the Band-Aid supposed to be the improvement over the stiptic pencil, and that’s why they aren’t as common anymore? I remember my dad always had one in the bathroom until he started using an electric razor.

Well . . . not exactly. The Band-Aid was a development over manually bandaging wounds (with rags or cotton wool or cloth bandages wrapped/taped together). The guy who invented them was motivated by his wife, who kept nicking and burning herself in the kitchen (or, maybe she was an early cutter) and found it hard to apply old school bandages to herself.

The reason styptic pencils faded out had, I think, more to do with the development/improvement of safety razors. Even the first safety razors (the ones where you’d swap out a naked blade, like I remember my Dad using) were more “cutty” than what’s available today.

Styptic can sting, too. Plus styptic doesn’t put Daffy Duck on your arm. Both things that please children. Not me though: my Jr. OCD didn’t like band aids and cartoon print ones were worse.

I tried to buy styptic awhile back, couldn’t find it. Eventually I just bought in online.

I still have a styptic pencil- it’s great for the occasional shaving nick, and I’ve even used it for little cuts on my hands, but it wouldn’t work well on larger cuts, and it hurts like the fires of hell on larger than shaving cuts.

Band-Aids also provide continuing protection to the wound, as do other dressings, and unlike styptics; if I get a cut on my finger (especially at work), I’m usually more concerned with keeping myself from snagging the skin flaps on things, or getting dirt in it, etc. Bandages protect me from those hazards, and also absorb the oozing that comes from wounds after bleeding has stopped.

In other words, styptic pencils and adhesive bandages serve two mostly distinct purposes; the former is solely to stop minor bleeding, while the latter is less designed to stop bleeding, but more designed to provide absorption, protection, and cushioning. I suppose the question of the OP is best directed at those small spot bandages (the little circular ones always left in the “variety” packs when every other bandage has been used) which are designed for small nicks.

I’ve also heard that the great stypt mines of the Ural mountains have been getting harder and harder to work, yielding lower and lower quality stypt.

I think the active ingredient is an aluminum compound (as in alum, the stuff you’d see Tom swallow in the old Tom & Jerry cartoons, making his face instantly pucker up). I don’t know if this is related to the decline in popularity of styptic pencils (and of course of alum – can anyone even remember having alum around the house?), but at least in the '80s or '90s, widespread use of aluminum compounds (mainly in antipersperant, where you can see that the same constricting/puckering effects would be desirable) came under some fire due to alleged links to Alzheimer’s. Not sure if those links were ever proved/refuted.

I keep a bottle of New Skin around for small cuts. It works much better than bandaids.


It is also handy if you have a blister or the calluses on your good cracks. The antiseptic does tend to sting pretty good.

I just did a quick search and there appears to be a lot of different type of liquid bandages.


I used a styptic pencil on a shaving cut one time. :eek: :eek: Never, Never again.

Stings like a … fill in your own word. :slight_smile:

that thing went in the trash. toilet paper works and doesn’t sting.

New Skin seems to be one of those products that people tend to either love or don’t know about. I’ve introduced quite a few people to it.

I tend to use Band Aids MORE, but New Skin is magical for cuts and scrapes in certain places where Band Aids won’t stick.

Who uses Band-Aids to stop bleeding? I use them frequently, but to keep a cut clean, rather than to stop the bleeding.

The only things that I’ve ever used styptic for were bug bites. They sting a bit, but take the itch out.

For cuts and scrapes, I thought it was common knowledge that a Dora, Batman or SpongeBob band-aid helped heal the owie faster. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’d never heard of styptic pencils, butafter finding put what they were, it brought memories of my dad, who had an alum “rock” in the bathroom for shaving cut. I used that rock when I started shaving (I know, I know, blood, disease, death).