Minor cuts and grazes are a part and parcel of almost everyone’s daily life. You can get them when the outer layer of your skin gets cut or scraped off, for example, while mowing your lawn, working in the kitchen, or falling down on the ground. Although these injuries are not deep enough, they do require care and attention.
A cut normally penetrates deeper into the skin than a graze and causes bleeding and pain. Grazes result from friction on the skin against a rough surface as a result of abrasion. This causes the outer surface of the skin to be ripped away. It can be painful and may bleed a little.
Usually, a graze will cover a larger area of skin than a cut. Eventually, a scab will form over the affected area and the graze will heal quickly.
Immediately after getting a cut or a graze, the first and foremost step is to stop the bleeding by using a clean cloth or tissue. Once the bleeding has stopped, thoroughly clean the wound with an antiseptic soap and water followed by dressing the wound.
Standard Treatment for Cuts and Abrasions
You can rely on your doctor to help you with wounds that are difficult to manage. Your doctor will examine whether your wound requires stitching or not.
Your doctor will recommend suggestions on how to take care of your wound, including the following:
- Keep the affected region clean and dry.
- Protect it with a bandage or an adhesive tape that can facilitate the movement of air. Avoid binding it very tight.
- Povidone-iodine (Betadine) and antibacterial ointments such as Neosporin, Polysporin, and Bactine can help ward off bacterial infections from the site. These are available over-the-counter and can be used without a prescription.
- Do not pick on the scabs. This can act as a gate of entry for bacteria to go into the skin.
Taking Care of Your Minors Cuts and Grazes at Home
Minor cuts and scrapes have a tendency to heal within a few days except in some cases. The affected area is covered with a scab while the healing process takes place. The scab will fall off once new skin is formed at the injured site.
To speed up the healing process and tend to your small scrapes and cuts, you can employ the following home remedies.
1. Coat the Wound with Aloe Vera Gel
You can also use aloe vera to speed up the healing time of cuts and grazes. It is soothing, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial and, hence, recommended by experts to facilitate healing of minor cuts.
- Break open a small leaf from an aloe vera plant and extract the gel.
- Apply the gel on the affected area and allow it to dry on its own.
- Repeat every few hours.
2. Smear Honey on Minor Cuts
Honey is a time-honored remedy for minor cuts due to its several skin-friendly enzymes and natural antibacterial properties. It also keeps the affected area moisturized, clean, and free from infection to facilitate healing.
It is better to use manuka honey for this purpose and choose the unprocessed version to tend to your wounds.
- Slather some pure honey on the affected area.
- Bandage it and leave it on for 1 hour.
- Remove the bandage and rinse the area well with water.
- Follow this remedy several times a day for a few days.
3. Moisturize Your Wound with Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil is a good moisturizer and helps prevent the penetration of infection in minor cuts and lacerations. As it is a natural moisturizer, virgin coconut oil will heal your burns so that your skin does not slough off.
- Take 2-3 drops of virgin coconut oil and apply it gently to the cut. Cover your wound with a bandage. Repeat this simple remedy two to three times a day.
4. Rinse the Laceration with Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has antiseptic, antimicrobial, and healing properties that can help treat minor cuts and grazes. It fights infection, promotes healing, and helps soothe any associated pain.
- Mix about a ½ tablespoon of tea tree oil in 1 cup of warm water. Use this solution to rinse the cut and the surrounding skin twice a day.
- Alternatively, you can dilute a few drops of tea tree oil with 1 tablespoon of almond oil or olive oil. Apply this diluted solution on the affected area two to three times a day.
5. Use Garlic to Heal the Cuts
Garlic is an old remedy for healing cuts and grazes due to its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. The use of garlic can also reduce pain and speed up the healing process. Plus, it has an antimicrobial compound called allicin that helps prevent infection.
- Crush a few garlic cloves, mix in a little honey, and put it over the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the garlic and clean the area with warm water.
Repeat either of these remedies two times daily until the skin heals completely.
Note: If garlic causes skin irritation, stop using it.
6. Wash Your Cuts with Calendula Flowers
Calendula, also known as marigold, is an antiseptic herb that can reduce inflammation, slow down bleeding, alleviate pain, and encourage quick healing of cuts and grazes.
According to studies conducted on animals, calendula flowers can promote granulation and elevate the levels of collagen and glycoproteins at wound sites.
- Add 1 tablespoon of dried calendula flowers to 1 cup of water and boil it for 5 minutes. Strain the liquid and allow it to cool. Use the solution to wash the affected area two to three times a day.
- You can also apply calendula creams and lotions on the affected area several times a day to promote new skin growth and quick healing.
7. Use Slippery Elm
Slippery elm is a common ingredient in herbal medicine and is accredited with emollient and anti-inflammatory properties.
Hosting plenty of mucilage, slippery elm has supreme calming and healing properties. The abundance of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins in slippery elm helps in keeping infections at bay and in regenerating new skin tissue on the injured site.
- In 1 cup of boiling water, mix 1 teaspoon of the dried powder of slippery elm bark. Let it cool. Soak a clean cloth in the elm solution and apply it on the affected area.
Caution: Perform a patch test before you apply the slippery elm solution on your skin to check for any allergic reactions. Use it only if your skin does not show any redness, irritation, or itching after the patch test.
8. Soak the Cut in Castor Oil
Castor oil is known to have potent antimicrobial effects. It can help speed up the process of wound healing by stimulating tissue repair and regeneration and inhibiting the accumulation of the dead skin cells.
Castor oil also keeps the wound moisturized and prevents the entry of any external foreign particle.
In one study, wounds dressed with films containing castor oil as an ingredient showed swift healing.
- Dip a cotton ball in castor oil, apply it gently to the cuts, and dress the wound.
The following remedies are neither backed by scientific evidence nor are they reviewed by our health experts. Nonetheless, a number of general users have reported an improvement in their condition using these anecdotal remedies.
1. Pour Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Applying lavender essential oil can help draw out the infection, keeping the injured site inflammation-free.
- Take 1-2 drops of lavender oil and apply it to the lacerated skin. Make sure the wound is cleaned and bandaged properly. Let it breathe in between the day. Repeat this a few times a day until required.
- To 2-3 drops of coconut oil, add a drop or two of lavender oil. Pour this oil blend over your scrapes and cuts. Tape it with a bandage. Do this one to two times a day until needed.
2. Dab Apple Cider Vinegar
Take advantage of the antimicrobial and disinfectant properties of apple cider vinegar. It can help prevent inflammation, reduce the pain, and hasten the healing process.
- Soak a washcloth in apple cider vinegar. Dab this cloth onto your grazes and cuts.
3. Layer the Cut with Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper can halt the bleeding at the site of the wound in as early as 10-12 seconds. Also, it reduces the chances of infection owing to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Mix coconut oil and cayenne pepper in equal parts in a small pan. You can also use olive oil.
- Warm this mixture until it is blended evenly.
- Let it cool.
- Apply this mixture to the cut or grazed site.
- Use a bandage or a gauze pad to secure the layering in place.
- Keep adding the cayenne pepper layer to moisten the injured site.
- Repeat this until needed.
Caution: Use this remedy only for a minor cut or scrape. For severe wounds, consult a professional.
When to See a Doctor
Although minor cuts and grazes can be tended to at home with the aforementioned remedies, it is not always a sure-fire approach. Several cases warrant caution and must be dealt with professional help.
- If you had a tetanus shot administered 5 years ago you suspect a tetanus-prone wound, consult a doctor for a booster dose.
- A minor cut or graze that has become infected requires medical intervention. The signs and symptoms that your minor wound has become infected include the following:
- Has a foreign particle embedded inside
- Has pus
- Is persistent and is making it difficult for you to move the affected body part
- Is either spreading or showing signs of inflammation, such as swelling, redness, or tenderness
- Check in with your doctor if the minor wound you have is:
- Bleeding profusely without stopping
- In and around the eye
- From an animal bite
- Either contaminated or soiled with dirt
- Certain health conditions can delay the process of wound healing. The people who are afflicted with the following conditions should seek professional help if they have a minor wound that ceases to pass away. Such conditions include:
- Zinc deficiency
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Deficiency of human growth hormone (HGH)
- Cover the affected area with an adhesive bandage or gauze-type bandage to promote healing and reduce the chance of scarring. Tight bandaging can suffocate the wound. Make sure you cover the wound lightly to allow some air circulation. Change the bandage daily to prevent infection.
- Keep the area moisturized to speed up healing, prevent cracking, and reduce the chance of scarring.
- If scab forms, do not pick at it as it may lead to infection and interfere with the healing.
- Protect the area from direct sunlight to avoid skin darkening.
- Eat foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E to aid in the healing process.
- Boost your protein intake to speed up recovery time.
- Drink plenty of water to keep the body and skin hydrated.
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