Head Cut: How to Close a Wound With Hair

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Head Cut: How to Use Your Hair as Stitches (Kind Of)

hair twists

You can close a head cut by crossing strips of hair and gluing them down.

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

This may be my favorite tip on treating a cut.

Let’s say your son rises from under a table and conks his head or scratches his scalp with a nail. What technique you can you use for a head cut that you can’t use for any other cut? Hint: It applies only to head wounds. Another hint: You need hair.

If someone cuts his or her head in an area of the scalp with an inch or more of hair, you can use the hair almost like stitches to close the cut. (You could do it on yourself but you’d need a mirror and a lot of dexterity.)


How to Treat a Head Cut Using Hair

If the cut is bleeding a lot, apply gentle pressure. If you have any concern the skull could be broken, be very careful. You don’t want to depress the loose bone inward toward the brain. (A broken skull is a rare injury, though, and needs a lot of force, like a hit by a hammer or a hard fall on a rock.)

You can also use dental floss to tie the hair together.

  1. Wash the blood out of the hair as best you can.
    -
  2. Use your fingers to dig through the hair and find the cut.
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  3. Part the hair away from the cut until you can see the whole wound.
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  4. Clean out debris, and irrigate the head wound with water.
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  5. Start at one end of the head cut. From one side of the cut, twist a sprig of hair between your thumb and index finger. Do the same on the other side of the wound with your other hand.
    -
  6. Cross the sprigs over each other like making an X. Pull with enough tension to close the part of the wound under the sprigs.
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  7. Glue the sprigs down.
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  8. Repeat steps five through seven until the wound is closed.
No hair?

Use glue and tape like you would for other cuts.

If you have strong thread or dental floss, you can snip it into four-inch strips. After step four, lay one strip lengthwise on the open cut. Go through steps five and six, then tie the strip around the crossed sprig to keep it in place. That way, you don’t have to use glue on your head.

 

  • fear no

    please can you tell me what has happened to my scalp wound /scar , I had acupuncture and the needles were put into my scalp I forgot at the time I didn’t know where the needles were going , afterwards my scalp started to have a slow fluid movement , after a year it is still happening now I have a oral fluid I knew it is the fluid from the scalp , I had to get a forensic laboratory to test the fluid it is loose connective tissue , collagen and adipose cells I can feel a bubbling by the scar , can the tissues under the scar come away and be broken up and separate away from where they are supposed to be , can you tel me what has happened and what surgeon can help can it be repaired

    • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      Perhaps, see your family doctor or dermatologist.

  • Astral_Element

    Hello dr. Hubbard, my mother has fallen and hit her head. She has a wound to the back of her head which has now stopped bleeding but has not been treated. She says she is feeling alright and is lying down at the moment. We live in a very remote area and she does not want to get medical treatment .I wanted to rinse out her hair and the wound with warm water but she declined and wanted to let the natural healing take place. What do you advice how to aproach her injury at this moment? Thank you for any help.

    • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      In general, at some point a wound needs to be cleaned to get any big clots of blood out, remove hair stuck to it and of course, remove any germs. If it is not a particularly dirty wound, that can wait a few hours, I suppose. Although, I doubt if it will get less painful to do, so I would say the sooner the better.

      • Astral_Element

        Thank you dr. Hubbard for your reply. Since I did not want to pressure her into cleanining the wound, I let her go to sleep with the wound drying up. However the cut is still covered with dried up blood and hair. As long as it is healing as it is without further attention is the risk of it becoming infected too great?

        • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

          Without seeing the wound, I can’t say how much risk there is. In general, soaking the wound with a clean water-soaked cloth, then cleaning off the blood is one way to start cleaning it.

          • Astral_Element

            After letting it heal for 9 days my mother washed her head which revealed it was just a minor head wound. This was contrary to my suspicion since it bleeded profusely but for a very short time. Once more I would like to express my gratitude for your advice, you provide a very valuable service to many people. Keep up the great work!

          • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

            You’re welcome.

  • Ginny

    Hi! I am so glad I came upon your article. Was looking for a way to close the 1.5 inch scalp wound of our housekeeper. It was about 4 mm wide. I was about to shave the hair around it and apply some butterfly tapes, when I thought to google the best way to do it and came upon your article. As we don’t have string, superglue, or floss, I thought of doing a french braid from right before the top of the cut down to right below it. Thankfully, the site was still somewhat numb at the time so I was able to braid it a bit tightly. I think it’s working well at the moment; she was afraid she was going to get some stitching AND a shaving! Thanks again for the idea of using one’s own hair.

    • http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

      You’re welcome, Ginny.

  • http://www.alwaysprepared.info AP

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a means of closing up a wound like this. Thanks for the article. :)

    • http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

      Your’re welcome, AP. Gland you liked it.

  • http://FB Ramona Lauzon

    I love the info. My question is what type of glue. Is there a type that will come out of the hair like elmers of what about superglue. Will you have to cut it out???

    • http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

      Ramona.

      Use superglue and you would need to keep the area as dry as possible. And, yes, you’d need to cut it out or deal with a clump of sticky hair. Of course, you could use the alternative of tying with a strong string.

  • http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

    You’re welcome, Cherub.

    Remember, this info is for if you can’t get to a health care provider.

    Best wishes for a full recovery.

  • Cherub

    Thanks for the great article, this is going to come pretty handy for my 2 inch scalp laceration.

  • http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

    Thanks for the feedback, Ryan. It’s great to know the blog’s helping.

  • Ryan Tribbe

    Thank you for creating this blog! I think its a great idea and I hope you continue adding to it.
    In the first minute of visiting I learned several things I hadn’t heard of or wouldn’t have thought of on the fly, like closing a head wound with hair. I’m like a sponge when it comes to simple medicine, and this is one tidbit I will be able to easily recall the next time I happen upon a neighbor fallen down the stairs, bleeding from the head (which happened recently.)