As careful and experienced as we may be, nicks and ticks happen when shaving. The majority of shaving injuries are more annoying than serious.
Even minor shaving injuries can take a long time to heal. A small nick or cut should heal completely in 3 to 7 days with appropriate care and depending on your health, but more serious lacerations or injuries to moles may take upwards of 10 to 14 days. If bleeding continues longer than 10 minutes, seek medical attention.
Read on to learn more about speeding up the healing time for minor nicks and cuts.
How long does it take shaving cuts to heal?
Some wounds do take longer to heal. Even minor shaving injuries can take serious time if not cared for can take longer than normal.
There are a number of factors that contribute to how long it takes for shaving injuries to heal. Age, health, physiological composition, and diet are just a few considerations in healing. These factors can work in together for or against faster healing.
The heal time for a cut is difficult to predict as every face is different. Some lack while others seem to heal instantly. While we can not do much to change our biology we can take steps to help our bodies heal.
The first step is identifying the types of wounds we are dealing with and then how to proceed with treatment.
Tiny nicks, little more than a pinprick, heal relatively quickly. They may result from an errant razor stroke or shaving over a pimple.
The bleeding from a nick should stop within 10 minutes, and shouldn’t take more than 3 days to completely heal with proper attention.
It may be difficult to differentiate between a nick and a small cut when shaving, but you’ll see the difference in healing time.
Minor cuts, those that are just surface-level scratches or horizontal cut/lines, are a bit more serious than nicks. They often result from an accidental lateral movement from a razor or the blade striking a blemish, corner of the lip, or ear lobe.
Minor cuts should heal within 7 days.
While most shaving injuries will be minor nicks or cuts, what happens if you slip and cut yourself deeper?
While proper cleaning and attention should be taken for even the smallest nicks, deeper cuts, extending well below the skin’s surface resulting in profuse bleeding, should be treated as a wound and quickly.
Deeper cuts are not common when shaving but they do happen and can take upwards of 2 weeks or longer to heal if especially serious.
If you feel the wound is serious you may wonder if you should consider stitches. Always keep in mind that even minor cuts can result in serious infections and should be handled accordingly.
You may need to consider medical attention if a deep cut meets the criteria:
- If the cut is longer than half an inch, deep, gaping, raggedly edged, or contains debris.
- If the cut bleeds through a bandage after applying pressure for 10 minutes.
- If the cut was caused by a pointed or dirty object.
- If the cut is on your mouth, face, or near the eye.
How help shaving nicks and cuts heal faster
Nicks and cuts seem to stick out as a mark of shame. They seem to scream to the world and call attention to a shaving error. Very serious bacterial infections such as cellulitis can enter even the smallest nicks cause severe pain and swelling.
Here are the best ways to heal nicks and cuts faster:
- Keep the scab clean
- Do not pick scabs
- Antibiotic cream
- Warm compress
There are a number of methods to help to shave nicks and cuts to heal. Cleanliness should always take priority as chief protection against infections. As glaring as a nick or cut may seem they pale in comparison to a serious infection.
Keep the scab clean
A scab is the body’s first line of defense and healing.
Cleaning a scab carefully washes away potential contaminants. If you must touch a scab make sure to wash your hands first. Cleaning is necessary when scabs begin to itch or weep. Cleaning around scabs should be done carefully.
Sometimes a scab is removed accidentally such as while washing. Be careful not to scrub as it may remove the scab and interrupt the healing process.
Do not pick the scab
Scabs effectively knit a cut or nick closed acting a bit like a suture.
Sometimes scabs on deeper cuts feel as though they tug at their edges and possibly even itch. This tightening is the body trying to heal a wound closed, but you should not give in and pick at the scab.
Picking a scab causes the wound to reopen and the body begins the healing process again.
Moisturizing a scab promotes faster healing and also prevents itchiness which will help reduce the urge to pick a scab.
A dab of petroleum jelly works well to hold moisture and create a barrier to infection.
Over-the-counter antibiotic ointments have been the staple of many medicine cabinets for decades.
They claim to help wounds heal faster and some argue that they offer no more health benefits than that of petroleum jelly or even honey.
Proper wound care is important although no antibiotic cream will be able to replace or supplement poor hygiene.
Heat has been known to trigger some interesting healing responses as it increases blood flow and helps relieve pain.
A warm compress will help tremendously especially in times when a wound itches or even weeps a bit. Make certain to use a clean damp compress.
Take caution not to hold it on a scab for too long to avoid the scab sticking to the compress.
How to prevent scarring from shaving cuts
Deeper cuts can leave us with permanent reminders to remind us to take more care with our shaving ritual. While scarring may not be completely avoidable we can certainly take steps to prevent significant scars from forming.
Some of the best scar prevention techniques are:
- Do not pick scabs
- Antibiotic ointment
Sunscreen may come as a surprise in terms of first aid but it does prevent further drying of the cut and well as protecting damaged skin from further harm that the sun could cause. Sunscreen may also prevent discoloration.
How to stop shaving cuts and nicks from bleeding
While it may not necessarily help the healing process, stopping the bleeding from your nick or cut is the first step to moving on from even a minor injury.
To slow or stop bleeding from your shaving cut:
- Use a styptic pencil/alum
- Clean your face
- Apply pressure
- Bandage the cut
Use a styptic pencil/alum
Using a styptic pencil or alum block can help stop bleeding if the cut is very small.
Styptic pencils contain compounds of aluminum and will help extremely minor cuts and nicks stop bleeding almost instantly. These should be reserved for the most minor of cuts or nicks and not for longer or deeper cuts.
Alum works nearly the same way by promoting coagulation of blood as well as some antiseptic properties and some skin soothing capabilities. A wet alum block can be rubbed over a larger area than a styptic pencil and should also be reserved for minor wounds.
Clean your face
Take a moment to think about the process of shaving and all of the potential debris that could find itself inside a cut. Tiny hairs, skin cells, tarnish from a razor, and bacteria can find their way into a cut and washing helps remove the means for potential infection.
Regardless of the severity of a cut, whenever the skin is damaged it should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water. Warm water will help promote healing and cool water can help constrict blood vessels to slow or stop bleeding.
Cleaning should be done after the bleeding stops and before applying a bandage.
Just a bit of pressure is all that is usually needed to stop the flow of blood on a nick or minor cut.
Pressure helps constrict capillaries, or smaller blood vessels and will slow blood flow.
Bandage the cut
A small nick or cut may not benefit much from an adhesive bandage in the long term but for deeper cuts, a bandage can keep the wound moist and free from contamination.
A bandage also helps collect some residual bleeding or weeping. The smaller nicks and cuts tend to be fine with the tiny bits of toilet paper applied.
How to prevent cuts and nicks when shaving
Most shaving blogs and shaving enthusiasts agree that a quality shaving ritual comes together to make the smoothest shaving experience possible. Simple steps such as a pre-shave cleansing are more than just for hygiene. The goal of the entire process is a reduction in friction as friction is the prevailing cause of shaving injury.
To prevent cuts and nicks, your shaving routine should include the following elements:
- Sharp razor
- Cleanse and exfoliate
- Pre-shave oil
- Quality lather
Sharpen your blades often, replace blades often, and clean the razor handle well in order to prevent shaving injury.
A clean and sharp razor will slice through hair almost effortlessly compared to a razor that has been worn ragged by a number of shaves.
A dirty worn razor is more likely to wobble or catch on hair which leads to cuts.
Cleanse and exfoliate
Washing your face before shaving is more than just hygienic.
Soap and water can prevent infection by washing away harmful contaminants but it also removes excess oils, dirt, and dead skin that create friction between the skin and the blade.
Friction causes the blade to wobble which increases the likelihood of cuts and rough shaves.
Pre-shave oil is an excellent tool to reduce surface friction.
It creates a smooth plane for a razor to glide while helping to hold moisture against the skin. Pre-shave oil is applied just before the lather.
Quality shave soap, creams, and butters are also integral in the reduction of friction.
A good lather cushions the skin against the razor and also provides a slick surface on which the razor glides.
There are also additional benefits when the lather is applied with a shaving brush.