How to best clean my bloody face?
September 14, 2006 4:00 PM   Subscribe

How best to shower with a bloodied up face?

I want to take a shower. Tuesday night while riding my bicycle I was struck by a car. I damaged my front teeth, scraped up the side of my cheek and my chin, requiring several stitches. My dr didn't give me much advice on how to wash up, but due to the teeth damage, talking is difficult for me at the moment. How do I wash without doing anything to mess up the stitches or make things worse for myself? Id love to get rid of some of this dried blood, I look like a mess.
posted by atom128 to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)
I'm not a doctor, but my instinct would be to use a wash cloth, with light soap and a soft touch. I wouldn't point shower head directly at my face until things healed up a bit.
posted by bwilms at 4:04 PM on September 14, 2006

I'd suggest taking a bath instead of a shower, if you've got a bathtub. Use a washrag soaked in warm water to gently dab the blood away. Don't wipe, just hold the washrag gently to your face, rinse it out, and repeat. That ought to dissolve the dried blood without pulling on the stitches. Try this for a couple of days, and after that you should be healed to the point where you can take a normal shower without worrying.
posted by vorfeed at 4:05 PM on September 14, 2006

I would gently irrigate your face with a peri bottle of warm water. They're dirt cheap at any pharmacy.
posted by padraigin at 4:25 PM on September 14, 2006

I would say take the shower, keeping your face well clear of the nozzle, then wash your face using a washcloth and a basin of water like vorfeed says.

As for washing your hair, you could lay back in a chair and wash it in the sink. Easier if someone helps you, but it will keep the water and shampoo off your face.
posted by tomble at 4:35 PM on September 14, 2006

If you find water alone doesn't do the trick, a very mild cleanser like Cetaphil will also help clean away the dried blood without stinging. You can apply a thin layer, then remove (gently) with a warm, wet washcloth.

Hope you feel better soon.
posted by scody at 4:54 PM on September 14, 2006

thanks all. i think im good...
posted by atom128 at 5:44 PM on September 14, 2006

I would use an alcohol type wipe on my face. Purell makes them and others do too.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:59 PM on September 14, 2006

poor atom128. :(
posted by oxford blue at 6:00 PM on September 14, 2006

Try to keep the stitches completely dry for the first 24 hours. (On preview, that's advice after the fact.) After that, make sure you get them dry (pat them with something soft, don't rub) immediately after washing. (Your stitches will wick water into the wound, along with any germs and such that may be on the surface of your skin.)

Did your doctor suggest using an antibiotic ointment on the cut? If so, use a cotton swab on the stitches and apply the ointment in a motion from the wound outwards (again, to keep from sweeping wee beasties into the wound).

If you sweat a lot, you may want to put a bandage over the stitches. (Don't use a bandaid -- pulling it off may damage the stitches or the skin around them.)
posted by forrest at 7:06 PM on September 14, 2006

Use a cotton pad or ball or some gauze and gradually work the dried blood away with warm water and maybe some mild cleanser without getting the rest of your face wet.
posted by fshgrl at 7:09 PM on September 14, 2006

*shakes fist at car*

Ouchies! Speedy recovery!
posted by gomichild at 1:41 AM on September 15, 2006

Do you have someone who could wash your face for you? They might hurt you a litte but they'd probably have a better judgement of what to wash and what not to.
posted by popcassady at 4:50 AM on September 15, 2006

Hydrogen peroxide is the best at getting crusted up blood loose from hair and skin. Alcohol wipes hurt!
posted by v-tach at 7:53 AM on September 15, 2006

Thanks all. I'm gonna be applying some of this advice in a few hours. unfortunately noone is around today to help me wash up, but I think ill be okay on my own. Honestly im more pissed they trashed my bike (which was one of a kind and i loved so much) more than my face. *sigh*. No leads yet on the car either, tho I believe the accident was my fault. Nonetheless its pretty messed up they ran off. Thanks for the good wishes, im pretty beat up right now but it could have been ALOT worse. i am feeling pretty fortunate about how its turning out, and all my friends have been amazingly supportive to me the last few days. makes me weepy just to think about.
posted by atom128 at 8:06 AM on September 15, 2006

when i cut my hand badly, i discovered that using wet wipes really came in handy. they would work well on your face, too. if you can't get the real 'wet ones' in the grocery store, look at your options in baby wipes.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 8:14 AM on September 15, 2006

Poor atom.

I was just about to suggest baby wipes, but baby washcloths might also be good (and cheap) -- they're terrycloth, but much much thinner than the usual washcloths, and the ones I have are edgeless (I mean they don't have a hem), so they're soft all over, including the edges. So they'd be a bit more substantial than a wipe but far gentler than the usual heavy terrycloth.
posted by mdiskin at 11:38 AM on September 15, 2006

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