In pharmacy, customers often ask to have a wound assessed. Happily, we can often help with simple wound care advice, although sometimes this is a very tricky area of care. The skin is the largest body organ. It protects our body, keeping the harsh insults outside and keeping a perfect environment inside the body. Breaks in the skin may invite germs in. Skin has many kinds of cells including immune cells and protective good bacteria. Skin grows through layers so sometimes wounds can take a very long time to heal. (These are called chronic wounds.)
In Dermatology (the science of skin), the presentation of eg a 'rash' can change over time. I often recommend people take photos.
People worry about infection, so here are my basics to check:
a) Is the area MORE RED?
b) Is the area INFLAMED?
c) Is it MORE SORE than it was before?
d) Is the wound HOTTER than normal skin?
These may also be signs of normal skin healing but, IF ALL FOUR SIGNS ARE THERE - take extra care. If you have a fever, we will highly recommend that you visit your Doctor.
When cleaning a wound, use a gentle, non-soap or pH balanced cleanser. Some stronger washes can kill all the tiny, growing skin cells.
'Cuts' covered with a dressing WILL actually heal more quickly, with less pain and less scarring. The research was done on this in the 1960's over 50 years ago!
Dressings work because:
- the healing space is a bit warmer (like inside the body)
- a moister environment lets the cells grow together more quickly. Cells won't dry up and crack apart.
- better healing gives less scarring.
- dressings and moisture protect damage on nerve ends
IF your covered wound looks soft and yellow when the dressing comes off, this is NOT likely to be pus / infection. The scab top softens so skin cells can grow. This does not usually have to be washed away because that would disrupt healing. CHECK the four signs.
You can also try evidence based wound gels such as Solugel or supplements that assist healing. Ask us about zinc, vitamin C, arginine or sea buckthorn. Topically, arnica, comfrey, tea tree, silica, feverfew, or manuka honey creams may help. There are some amazing new dressings we can help you with too. Some use 'seaweed' or 'silver' technology.
If in doubt, come in and ask us at Friendlies. Remember to tell us of any medicines you use as some can slow down wound healing. Some medical conditions can also make healing more difficult. Come in and ask us...we're here to help!
The team at The Friendlies Chemist are the authors of this news feed.