a cut finger bleeding

Q. My friend works as a cook in a Mexican restaurant. The other day he cut the tip of his finger pretty badly. No matter what he tried he couldn’t stop the bleeding.

He went to an urgent care center where they put in a few stitches and sealed the cut with Krazy Glue. I couldn’t believe it, but he insisted that they used the same tube you can buy at the hardware store.

Is this possible? If doctors use it for a bad cut, couldn’t I use it for a nick or paper cut?

A. For years, dermatologists and urgent care physicians have been using instant glues to close minor cuts. Products like Krazy Glue or Super Glue contain cyanoacrylate. They are not intended for medical use, and the company that makes Krazy Glue points out that the label warns against contact with skin, since it might be irritating.

But physicians have learned that sealing a small wound like a paper cut or a crack stops the pain and helps it heal. An FDA-approved product called Dermabond is somewhat similar to Krazy Glue, but more flexible and tested for medical use. It is also a lot more expensive: $20 per ounce, by prescription, while the hardware version sells for around $2 or $3.

To try super glue on a small cut, hold it closed and put just a tiny bit of glue over the wound. Hold the edges together for about a minute. Be careful that nothing–including your fingers–touches the glued spot during that time, or you could end up with fingers bonded together. In such a case, if you need to get instant glue off your stuck fingers, nail polish remover or acetone should do the job. The glue on the cut will eventually wear off. Of course to be on the safe side you should use a medically approved cyanoacrylate glue.

You may also want to consider some other home remedies for minor kitchen cuts that bleed. Over the years we have heard from many readers and visitors to this website about ways to stop bleeding from a cut. Here are just a few examples:

“While washing some glasses, one broke. I had a deep cut on my hand. I couldn’t stop the bleeding with pressure. I remembered the black pepper hint on this site. It worked immediately and stopped the bleeding.

“Healed perfect with no sutures. I now keep a large can of black pepper in my kitchen just in case…. I shared the black pepper and the soap for leg cramps hints with friends.

“Both work for me! Thanks for all the great information.”

“I also cut my finger with a knife, while slicing bread. It was pretty severe and bleeding badly. I had soaked a few tissues when I remembered the black pepper thing I had read about. It didn’t do so well for me. The blood just washed the pepper away. I tried a couple of more times with the same results. What finally did help was Super Glue.

“I held the skin together (which wasn’t easy with only using one hand) and applied the glue thinly. The glue held the skin together as a couple of stitches would have, and bleeding stopped.

“So if someone else can’t get the pepper thing to work for them, try the glue. Actually it is similar to what the surgeon used on my stomachs outer layer of skin after a surgery, instead of stitches or staples. That’s what made me think of it.”

“My husband has very thin skin and takes aspirin. A tiny abrasion can make him bleed horribly.

“With his last episode, I suddenly remembered a recommendation to put used coffee grounds on a bleed. I grabbed the coffee filter, still full of used coffee grounds, and applied it to his bleeding arm. The bleeding stopped almost immediately. Amazing!

“Yesterday I sliced my finger on a broken piece of glass. I grabbed the coffee filter, stuck my finger into the grounds, and voila, it quit bleeding. I bandaged it up with the coffee grounds on the wound.”

A word of caution from The People’s Pharmacy. A serious cut deserves immediate medical attention. Common sense requires that you distinguish between minor ailments and injuries that might respond to a home remedy and those that require emergency medical treatment.

If you appreciate reading about success stories for minor problems like kitchen burns and cuts, warts, poison ivy, bug bites, skin fungus, gas or heartburn, we humbly suggest our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

You will find some amazing stories about how kitchen-cupboard remedies saved the day. Here are some other options as well.

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  1. Kay
    Albany, NY

    Just tried black pepper for a cut. Pressure did not stop the bleeding. The black pepper helped!

  2. Dana

    I wonder about the risk of infection with all of these remedies. Used coffee grounds, pepper, and even crazy glue – diabetics beware. The risk of infection seems very high and even without diabetes I don’t know if I want to take the risk. I think I will stick to pressure.

  3. tracy

    My dad had carotid artery surgery….ended up with 42 staples in his neck. Unfortunately, he was on major blood thinners. My mom and I took turns holding towels against it and soaking them thru post surgery while they tried to wait for it to clot. It was gruesome! DRENCHED the towels with blood. (He ended up needing THREE pints of blood to replace!).
    Finally, the surgeon was called. Trauma team came up, sterilized the area, and used two full tubes of crazy glue slathered all over the staples. We were horrified, but they said it was standard procedure!! Real, live crazy glue! (and yes….it was a highly respected, city hospital in Florida….not a tiny village!).
    It worked like a charm, everything healed nicely. Also, my husband had cut off the last digit of his thumb in an accident (chronic male stupidity, but that is another story…lol!) Went to ER, where they cleaned the grease (auto) out with standard Go-Joe (mechanic’s hand cleaner), then stuck it back on sealed entirely with crazy glue as well! It eventually fell off, but it held long enough to keep wound nicely sealed until it healed…. fell off like a baby’s belly-button end. So even tho this stuff sounds nuts, and it should only be done when there is no other alternative, Western Medicine uses it for MANY things!!

  4. Sibylle DeCarlo

    I just cut the tip of my left finger next to the pinky finger; cutting vegetables. It would not stop bleeding. I googled this site, and want to THANK YOU!I dunked my finger in a filter full of coffee grinds (from today. It stopped bleeding. Thank you again!! Amen for having Cafe Bustello at home.

  5. mw

    I once visited a doctor who REQUIRED his office staff to keep a can of hair spray on hand for minor bleeding that resulted when samples were taken for biopsies. Hair spray works!

  6. EMC

    Wouldn’t the black pepper be painful on a cut? No one mentions it, but it sounds like it would hurt.

  7. dk

    I just cut my finger. It bled and bled. Pressure wasnt helping. Nothing seemed to want to stop the flow of blood. I went to PP website, and saw the black pepper idea. INSTANTLY the bleeding stopped. Im putting black pepper in my first aid kit!
    Thanks so much for the information.

  8. GRD

    In our area of Florida, we have a store called “Dollar Tree”. They have a product called “Liquid Skin”. It is in a one use tube and made for small cuts and works real well. It is a CA or crazy glue as some call it. It is used in place of tape to hold a cut together. It should be noted though that bad cuts should be attended to by experts at a clinic especially if it has dirt in it. Keep your tetanus shots up to date too.

  9. RES

    I would be VERY CAREFUL about putting crazy glue, or anything else on a really bad, bleeding cut.
    I WOULD DEFINITELY TAKE THE PATIENT TO A WALK IN EMERGENCY CLINIC. There is a “terrible” infection that can occur to an open wound—–it is called MRSA. My husband had it, and the infection entered his system through a small cut———-IT IS A TERRIBLY DANGEROUS INFECTION.

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