Healing Cuts and Scrapes: The myths and truths revealed
(NC) - It's a challenge to know how to properly treat life's little cuts and scrapes. With the vast amount of information available, it's tough to know if a wound should be covered up, left to the open air, kept moist or left to scab over.
Here are some common myths and truths about the treatment of wounds to help get you on the path to better healing.
To Bandage or Not to Bandage
Myth: The best way for a cut to heal is to keep it exposed to allow a scab to form.
Truth: Use a bandage to help a wound heal faster. The protective covering of a bandage forces the cut back together. A scab is dry skin that acts as a wedge forcing the broken skin apart, making it more difficult for wounds to heal quickly, without scarring. Scabbing shouldn't happen because dry, crusted wounds don't heal as fast and studies have shown that wounds covered with a bandage have lower rates of infection.
Keep It Moist
Myth: When treating a wound, keep skin as dry as possible.
Truth: Moist skin heals fastest because the task of healing a wound requires the activity of cels. Cells cannot function in a dry environment. They need moisture to do their repair work.
As the wound dries out, it begins to crust, forming a scab causing the cells to work harder to repair the injury. The key to healing a cut is maintaining the right amount of moisture. Keeping the cut covered with a bandage and adding a medicated ointment will ensure it stays moist.
Myth: Always let blood run through a cut to disinfect the area.
Truth: It is important to keep the area around the cut or scrape clean and to remove excess oil, dirt and grime from the skin that may prevent the bandage from sticking. Carefully cleanse the affected area with water, add a medicated ointment and then quickly apply a protective bandage.
Taking it Off
Myth: The best way to rip a bandage off is in one quick pull.
Truth: It's actually better to pull the bandage off slowly and in the direction of natural hair growth. If the bandage is difficult to remove, dab the edges with baby oil or rubbing alcohol to allow the bandage to lift off with ease. Ripping the bandage off could cause the wound to reopen.
"To ensure minor wounds heal properly, the right steps need to be taken," says Stephanie Neskas, Brand Manager for Nexcare products at 3M. "Once a cut or scrap has been carefully cleaned, the appropriate bandage should be applied. To get the best results, Nexcare has a full assortment of bandages including the Waterproof, Comfort and Active bandages that are designed to adhere to the skin to provide complete healing action no matter what you are doing."