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How to Help Heal Wounds Faster
We all have the same goal when it comes to treating cuts and scrapes: help heal wounds faster and reduce the risk of scarring. Yet many of us don’t take the best care of our cuts and scrapes simply because we don’t know how to care for our wounds in the proper way and not taking proper care of your wound can delay the healing process. We rely on what our parents taught us or what we have heard during high school health class. But with today’s treatment options we all have the power to help wounds heal faster, we just need to know the wound healing stages and the right action steps.
Step 1: Clean The Cut or Scrape
The best starting point for treating a wound is to by cleaning the cut or scrape it out. Without cleaning the wound, debris could remain in the wound, which impairs healing. Thoroughly flush and clean the affected area with mild soap, water and BAND-AID® Brand HURT-FREE® Antiseptic Wash* and allow to dry. This wash is specially formulated to temporarily relieve pain and discomfort while helping to remove dirt and germs.
(*For adults and children 2 years and older.)
Step 2: Treat the Wound with a Topical Antibiotic
The next step to help wounds heal faster is to treat the cut or scrape with a first-aid antibiotic ointment because wounds that become infected take longer to heal. Ointments include NEOSPORIN® + Pain, Itch, Scar,* which provides 24-hour infection protection. NEOSPORIN® + Pain, Itch, Scar helps heal minor wounds four days faster** and may help minimize the appearance of scars.
(*For adults and children 2 years and older.)
(**versus bandage alone)
Step 3: Cover The Cut or Scrape
While step three may go against convention for some, it has the power of science on its side: Cover the affected area with an appropriate bandage like BAND-AID® Brand SKIN-FLEX® Bandages—and keep it covered until the wound is completely healed. This creates a moist wound healing environment and it helps protect the wound from dirt, and germs that can cause infection and delay healing.
Without this protective covering, you risk infection and are likely to scab, which actually creates a barrier to the skin’s healing process and increases the chance of scarring. Remove and reapply a fresh bandage daily, keeping your wound covered until your wound is completely healed.
Now that you’re feeling like you could ace a “how to help heal cuts faster” quiz, let’s do a quick review just to make sure our bases are covered.
An uncovered wound…
- Has a greater risk of infection
- Has a greater chance of scabbing & scarring
- Heals more slowly
A covered wound…
- Has less chance of infection
- Has less chance of scarring
- Heals faster
For more information on how covering a wound affects the healing process, read this article on uncovered vs covered wounds.
Now you truly know how to treat a cut or scrape properly and you’re ready for your next adventure – so click here to discover where you can get stocked up on these BAND-AID® Brand First Aid supplies and then go get back out there.
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When it comes to choosing an ointment, Rogers says you should look for simple, minimal ingredients. “Since ointments are made to protect and heal severely dry and damaged skin, you want it to be free of common causes of irritation,” she says. “When your skin is damaged, it will absorb more of the chemicals from the products you apply, thus increasing the risk of allergy or irritation. My advice is to keep your ointments simple, especially when it comes to ingredients. Look out for ointments with the shortest, purest ingredient lists and avoid common allergens.”
While applying the ointment straight up is the best way to treat dry skin, Rogers says that you can also mix the ointment into your moisturizer, which helps if you are washing your hands a lot and are experiencing dryness. She adds that it will increase the moisturizer’s hydrating power while making the ointment less sticky: “After I wash my hands, I apply a mixture of 50% Vanicream and 50% Doctor Rogers Restore Healing Balm on my hands, and then I use a tissue to blot my fingertips so I can use them as the product sinks in.”
So now that we have the basics down, it’s time to find an ointment that works for you. Take a look at our favorites below (and some salves, too).
Rogers’s balm is 100% plant-based and can treat a variety of skin problems, like eczema symptoms, dryness, chapped lips, and burns. “I often recommend people apply my Healing Balm to their areas of concern before bed and then sleep in gloves, socks, or tight-fitting clothes to keep the ointment in place,” she says. “After lasering, I have patients apply my balm and then a face mask to expedite the healing process.”
CeraVe’s ointment contains hyaluronic acid to retain moisture, and it doesn’t have a greasy feel. Apply to any dry or cracked spots on your body.
A few years ago, my dermatologist gave me a bunch of samples of these tubes and told me to apply it throughout the day in between using my prescription ointments. I put them in practically every bag I own, and I still buy them in bulk. It really helps keep my hands moisturized, especially after washing them.
I’m a big fan of Vanicream’s moisturizer because it doesn’t contain any ingredients that irritate my sensitive skin. And I have the same feelings toward the brand’s ointment. It’s helpful for skin conditions or concerns like dryness, itchiness, psoriasis, and eczema.
This ointment is formulated to heal minor cuts, scrapes, burns, and improve your skin barrier. Plus, it leaves your skin extra moisturized.
Made with plant oils like lavender, geranium, and blue tansy, this balm also works some aromatherapy magic. It’s good for all skin types, too.
The all-purpose ointment also has colloidal oatmeal for some sweet relief. It’s paraben-, phthalate-, sulfate-, and mineral oil–free. Use it on your lips cheeks, body, hands, and feet to treat rashes, dry spots, and irritation.
I was introduced to Lucas’ Papaw by a makeup artist on a shoot a few years ago, and it’s become a staple in my makeup bag (and in my handbag, car, office desk…). I use it to moisturize dry, cracked lips and on any dry spots like my elbows. And for those who don’t know, papaw equals papaya.
Apply this balm to your face at night, and it will work its magic while you sleep. It will help with dryness, dullness, and redness. The formula includes oils (olive, almond, borage, linseed) to leave your skin hydrated.
This ointment is made of a blend of essential oils, vitamin E, and herbal extracts. It’s good for your face and body and even works well to moisturize cuticles.
If you’re experiencing inflammation, this ointment might be the solution for you. Key ingredients include antioxidants, vitamin E, essential oils, castor oil, and olive oil. You can also use it to treat sunburns and razor burn.
The honey in this salve provides moisture and antioxidants to your skin. It’s safe to apply just about anywhere on your body, from your lips to cuticles to legs to elbows. You can even use it as a brow gel or to keep your flyways under control.
For constantly dried-out hands, this salve from Kiehl’s can protect and repair. It’s specifically formulated for people who do a lot of work with their hands.https://e02f8f17a27ddae39ecb991d2f3336a1.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
This ointment gives you 24 hours of protection as it locks in moisture and is a defense against nature’s drying elements, like wind and brisk temperatures. It also works on cuts, scrapes, and burns.
Dry, cracked skin can feel so painful. This salve will help heal and moisturize it. It contains medicated soap, lanolin, and Vaseline, along with plant-based ingredients like eucalyptus, lavender, and rosemary.
I’ve used this balm for my eczema before, and it’s one of my picks because it really stops my skin from feeling so itchy. You can apply it on your face or body, wherever you’re experiencing dryness or an eczema flare-up.
Avène’s balm is formulated for eczema, but it also works to treat redness, psoriasis, irritated skin, and dryness. Thermal spring water is another ingredient in the balm that is supposed to have soothing and calming properties.
Ingredients in this salve include colloidal oatmeal, hemp seed oil, and avocado oil, which all work to calm, relieve, and hydrate skin. It’s okay to use it all over your body and even to smooth your eyebrows and hair.
Use this ointment on dry spots all over your body to heal and seal in moisturize. It’s also baby-friendly.
If it’s good enough for the cows, I guess it’s good for us. Bag Balm has been used by farmers to keep their cows’ udders from getting chapped. This one’s a favorite in our office. Our editors use it for dry and chapped lips, but you can use it on your hands and feet and for minor cuts and burns.
This multipurpose balm can be used to moisturize your face and even over acne spot treatments. It will soothe redness and irritation while strengthening your skin’s barrier.