) agent is a substance that promotes hemostasis
). They may also be known as hemostatic
(also spelled haemostatic
) agents. Styptics
(also spelled stiptics
) are a specific type of antihemorrhagic agent that work by contracting tissue
to seal injured blood vessels
. Antihemorrhagic agents used in medicine have various mechanisms of action. Systemic drugs work by inhibiting fibrinolysis
or promoting coagulation
. Locally-acting hemostatic agents work by causing vasoconstriction
or promoting platelet aggregation
There are several classes of antihemorrhagic drugs used in medicine. These include antifibrinolytics
, vitamin K
, and blood coagulation
Topical hemostatic agents have been gaining popularity for use in emergency bleeding control
, especially in military medicine
. They are available in two forms - as a granular powder poured on wounds, or embedded in a dressing
There are currently two hemostatic chemicals used in commercial products. Chitosan is used in Celox (a granular powder) and HemCon (a dressing). Zeolite is used in QuikClot (a dressing).
As a kind of hybrid of local and systemic, topical hemostatic bandage D-Stat Dry is medicated with thrombin coagulation factor.
Styptics for personal use are typically made from alum
or titanium dioxide
, and come in the form of styptic pencils, used to treat shaving cuts, and styptic powder, for staunching wounds from cutting animal nails.
A styptic or hemostatic pencil is a short stick of medication, usually anhydrous aluminum sulfate (a type of alum) or titanium dioxide, which is used for staunching blood by causing blood vessels to contract at the site of the wound.
Before safety razors were invented, it was an essential part of a shaving kit and was used to seal cuts caused by improper shaving. Some people continue to use styptic pencils for minor skin wounds from safety or electric razors.
While effective at stopping blood loss, some who use it feel that the sting of the medication as it takes effect can be worse than the pain of the cut itself. More "natural" ingredients such as aloe add a "more soothing alternative".
A frequent source of confusion appears to be the difference between styptic and caustic pencils which are not used to staunch minor cuts.
Styptic powder is used to stop bleeding from nails that are clipped too closely. This powder is generally used on animals, such as dogs
, and birds
, where the vein is found in the center of the nail.
Styptic powder can also be used to stop bleeding caused by cuts and nicks while shaving.
Medical hemostatic agents