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#1
Old 09-03-2011, 03:54 PM
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Why haven't Band-Aids been replaced by the styptic pencil?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?
#2
Old 09-03-2011, 04:02 PM
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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 (c) 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.
#3
Old 09-03-2011, 04:27 PM
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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.
#4
Old 09-03-2011, 05:02 PM
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band aids are wound dressing, often not tight enough to apply the pressure to stop bleeding.
#5
Old 09-03-2011, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
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).
#6
Old 09-03-2011, 05:16 PM
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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.
#7
Old 09-03-2011, 05:42 PM
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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.

Last edited by kittenblue; 09-03-2011 at 05:43 PM.
#8
Old 09-03-2011, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by kittenblue View Post
Wasn't the Band-Aid supposed to be the improvement over the stiptic pencil, and that's why they aren't as common anymore?
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.
#9
Old 09-03-2011, 08:36 PM
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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.
#10
Old 09-04-2011, 12:26 AM
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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.
#11
Old 09-04-2011, 12:58 AM
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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.
#12
Old 09-04-2011, 03:08 PM
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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.
#13
Old 09-04-2011, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napier View Post
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.
#14
Old 09-04-2011, 03:24 PM
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I keep a bottle of New Skin around for small cuts. It works much better than bandaids.

http://amazon.com/New-Skin-First.../dp/B0017JOF86

It is also handy if you have a blister or the calluses on your good cracks. The antiseptic does tend to sting pretty good.
#15
Old 09-04-2011, 03:30 PM
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I just did a quick search and there appears to be a lot of different type of liquid bandages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_bandage#cite_note-5
#16
Old 09-04-2011, 03:38 PM
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I used a styptic pencil on a shaving cut one time. Never, Never again.

Stings like a .... fill in your own word.

that thing went in the trash. toilet paper works and doesn't sting.
#17
Old 09-04-2011, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelUpchurch View Post
I keep a bottle of New Skin around for small cuts. It works much better than bandaids.
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.
#18
Old 09-04-2011, 04:29 PM
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Who uses Band-Aids to stop bleeding? I use them frequently, but to keep a cut clean, rather than to stop the bleeding.
#19
Old 09-04-2011, 07:53 PM
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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.
#20
Old 09-04-2011, 08:44 PM
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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).
#21
Old 09-11-2013, 12:33 PM
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"Sting" is a subjective thing. I've been using a styptic pencil for years, and on the 1 - 10 pain scale they use in hospitals, a styptic pencil is about a 2. About the same as isopropyl alcohol. More than skinning a knuckle, but not as bad as tearing a hangnail. And it's only momentary. No point scaring away others. The advantage they have over Kleenex or toilet paper is that a few minutes after they stop the bleeding, you can gently wipe off the white residue, and you don't have to walk around with a bandaid on your face. Sometimes Kleenex-treated wounds start bleeding again when you take off the paper.
#22
Old 09-11-2013, 12:46 PM
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When I was a child we got iodine on any cut or abrasion. Stung like fury but mother just said that if it didn't sting it wasn't doing any good. It came in a little brown bottle with a scull and crossbones on it -
#23
Old 09-11-2013, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
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.
Yes, children love band-aids. Put one on, and a horrible wound becomes pretty sticker.
#24
Old 09-11-2013, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
When I was a child we got iodine on any cut or abrasion. Stung like fury but mother just said that if it didn't sting it wasn't doing any good. It came in a little brown bottle with a scull and crossbones on it -
Iodine, along with mercurochrome, is not recommended any more. Also, alcohol should not be applied to an open wound, either. Styptic pencil for minor shaving cuts is excellent. I still have a pencil that must be 40 years old. New Skin is great for covering the wound so you can grab a tennis racket, or whatever, on the wound. More than one application is usually necessary. However, it does contain alcohol, which burns like mad. I know I said not to use alcohol on an open wound, but there's nothing like New Skin for protecting the wound so you can grab objects. Bandages don't work as well.
#25
Old 09-11-2013, 07:47 PM
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I understand not using mercurochrome...mercury anyone? And iodine just hurt too bad for the little (or adverse) thing it did.

But I've continued to use alcohol on a cut thinking I was killing germs or something. What bad thing does alcohol do on a cut? I always put Neosporin on a bad cut after the alcohol dries and the bleeding stops.

And how about hydrogen peroxide on a bad cut? I always thought that had some germ killing benefit.
#26
Old 09-11-2013, 07:54 PM
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Hydrogen peroxide kills germs but it also damages healthy tissue.
#27
Old 09-11-2013, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ombre12 View Post
I understand not using mercurochrome...mercury anyone? And iodine just hurt too bad for the little (or adverse) thing it did.

But I've continued to use alcohol on a cut thinking I was killing germs or something. What bad thing does alcohol do on a cut? I always put Neosporin on a bad cut after the alcohol dries and the bleeding stops.

And how about hydrogen peroxide on a bad cut? I always thought that had some germ killing benefit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
Running water is what's currently recommend for first aid for superficial wounds. No soap, no hydrogen peroxide or betadine or iodine, all of which can cause cellular damage and slow wound healing. Any wound that's deep enough, open enough or irregular enough that you can't easily clean it under the tap needs professional evaluation and a prescribed treatment plan.

For longer term wound care, there are wound cleansing sprays and saline to clean and irrigate wounds. The one I use most (Sea-Clens) lists: water, decyl glucoside, sodium chloride (USP), citric acid, diazolindyl urea, methyl paraben, tetrasodium EDTA. It's designed to soften and remove necrotic tissue. Again, no hydrogen peroxide or betadine or iodine.

I sometimes use iodoform (iodine reacted with ethanol or acetone and sodium hydroxide) tape to pack infected abscesses, but that's because killing the infection and removing necrotic tissue is important, and iodoform doesn't do as much damage to healthy tissues as elemental iodine. Still, once it appears the infection is gone, we usually stop the iodoform tape and switch to a plain gauze (or hydrogel) packing material.

The more we learn about wounds, the more we learn that our best treatment is often as little treatment as possible. Keep it clean, keep the wound bed moist and the skin around it dry, and don't scratch!
#28
Old 09-11-2013, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by appleciders View Post
Who uses Band-Aids to stop bleeding? I use them frequently, but to keep a cut clean, rather than to stop the bleeding.
And to cushion places that would get rubbed or banged against with normal use.
#29
Old 09-11-2013, 09:56 PM
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I keep a little tube of cyanoacrylate glue in my tool kit at work. I end up with all manner of nicks and cuts on my hands by the end of any given day. Clean the wound, stop the bleeding, then seal with a drop or two of CA. It's worked for me for years.
#30
Old 09-11-2013, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huerta88 View Post
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.
The Master speaks. Tl;dr: The original evidence suggesting a link has not stood up too well to examination.

As Cecil pointed out in his earlier article on the subject (where he gives the idea of a link more credence), although aluminum has no known nutritional value, it is so ubiquitous in the environment that you probably cannot help ingesting quite a lot of it anyway.
#31
Old 09-12-2013, 12:09 AM
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I have a jar of alum in the house. It's useful for relieving the pain and healing canker sores. You can still buy it in the spice section of the supermarket, although I confess I have no idea what the culinary use(s) of it may be.

(ETA: It's used in pickling and is one of the components of baking powder, google tells me...)

Last edited by WhyNot; 09-12-2013 at 12:11 AM.
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