No matter how careful you are, you cannot escape minor cuts or wounds in life. A wound in which skin is torn, cut or punctured is known as a minor wound. It can include cuts, scrapes, incisions, puncture wounds, minor burns, and pressure sores.
Causes of Minor Wounds
In most cases, these types of wounds are caused due to accidents or injuries. There are certain risk factors that may make a person more prone to wounds like:
- Steroid use
- Excessive smoking
Signs and Symptoms of Minor Wounds
Some of the symptoms that accompany wounds include:
When to See a Doctor
A wound that requires medical attention can include any of the following symptoms:
- Inability to properly cleanse the wound
- Inability to control the bleeding
- Inability to properly close and cover the wound
- A deep wound
- Signs of infection (heat, redness, pus, and pain)
- Any wound that will not heal
Home Remedies to Treat Minor Wounds
Here are 10 home remedies for minor wounds.
1. Clean the Wound
Use cool water, under moderate pressure, and mild soap to wash the wounded area for 10 to 15 minutes. If you do not have filtered water, use boiled and cooled water, or distilled water.
This will help remove as much dirt, debris, and bacteria as possible. Gently pat the area dry using a clean towel, and then cover it with a sterile dressing or bandage.
2. Coconut Oil
- Apply extra-virgin coconut oil on the wounded area.
- Put a bandage over it to seal in the moisture.
- Reapply coconut oil and change the bandage 2 or 3 times a day.
- Follow this remedy for several days to prevent scarring.
3. Indian Lilac
Indian lilac, also known as neem, has a high content of essential fatty acids that build collagen, help maintain skin elasticity, and promote wound healing. Plus, it has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Blend and extract the juice of a handful of neem leaves. Mix 1 tablespoon of this neem juice and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to form a paste. Apply this paste on the wound. Leave it on for several hours, and rinse with warm water. Reapply again and repeat for several days.
- Alternatively, grind equal amounts of neem leaves, turmeric, and Chebulic myrobalan (Hartaki) together with a little lime juice. Apply it to the wound and allow it to dry. Follow this remedy 2 or 3 times a day.
According to a study published in the Journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, the curcumin in turmeric improves wound healing by modulating collagen and decreasing reactive oxygen species.
- If there is slight bleeding, you can apply some turmeric powder directly on the wound to help control the bleeding.
- To promote optimal healing, mix ½ tablespoon of turmeric in enough linseed (also known as flaxseed) oil to form a paste. Apply it on the wound 2 or 3 times a day to reduce pain and prevent infection.
- Mix ½ tablespoon of turmeric powder into enough coconut oil to make into a paste and apply 2 to 3 times a day to the affected area.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has long been used to treat wounds. It has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and soothing properties.
Also, its gel is rich in phytochemicals that can ease the pain, reduce inflammation, increase the moisture content in the skin and promote healing.
On the downside, scientific studies about its effectiveness show mixed results. In one study, aloe vera even seemed to delay healing in a surgical wound.
- Cut open an aloe vera leaf and extract the gel.
- Apply this gel on the wound and allow it to dry on its own.
- Clean the area with warm water and pat dry with a soft towel.
- Repeat several times a day until the wound heals completely.
Garlic has been used to treat wounds for years due to its antibiotic and antimicrobial properties. It can stop bleeding, reduce pain and promote healing. Also, garlic boosts the body’s natural defenses to prevent infection.
- In case of slight bleeding, clean wound with water and apply a few crushed garlic cloves on the injury.
- To help the wound heal, crush a few garlic cloves into a paste, and spread it on a piece of sterile gauze. Put the dressing over the wound and wrap a sterile bandage around it. Leave it on for 20 minutes, and rinse with warm water. Repeat twice daily until the wound heals entirely.
Calendula can also be used to treat minor wounds. Calendula has anti-inflammatory and mild antimicrobial properties that can reduce inflammation and pain as well as encourage quick healing.
- Crush fresh calendula flowers to extract the juice. Apply this extract on the wound 2 or 3 times a day.
- You can also buy a calendula salve at any health food stores and apply it on your wound as directed.
- Grind a handful of fresh plantain leaves into a paste.
- Apply the paste on the wound.
- Allow to dry, and rinse it off with warm water.
- Follow remedy several times a day until the wound is healed.
Along with the indefinite shelf life of honey, it is also antimicrobial and antibacterial in nature, which makes it excellent for treating wounds.
While all kinds of honey have the healing properties, the honey that is produced from the manuka bush (tea tree), known as manuka honey and native to New Zealand is known to have the highest concentration of antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
- Spread honey across the cleaned wound.
- Repeat 2-3 times in a day.
Sugar, also known as glucose, dextrose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, maltose, and lactose, has high osmolality. It can draw fluid out of the wound, and reduce water content in the wound, thereby inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
Sugar is also helpful in removing the dead tissue while preserving the live tissue.
- Mix 3 parts of powdered sugar with 1 part of cooking oil uniformly.
- Apply a thick layer of this mixture on the cleaned wound.
- While the sugar dehydrates the bacteria and kills it, the oil will cover the outer bacterial membrane and thereby prevent the entry of bacteria or water into the wound.
Bonus Tip – Eat Healthy
Many vitamins and minerals can help in the healing process of different types of wounds.
- Eat zinc-based foods like whole grains, meats, shellfish, dairy, eggs, nuts, and seeds to stimulate wound healing.
- Eat foods high in vitamin A like carrots, sweet potatoes, greens, cantaloupe, pumpkin, apricots, and tomatoes to promote new cell growth.
- Eat vitamin C-rich foods like broccoli, grapefruits, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, and bell peppers to help increase the body’s ability to make collagen and new skin tissues.
- Eat foods with vitamin E like wheat germ, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and oil, almonds and spinach to promote healing.
- Eat foods with B-complex vitamins like whole grains, meat, eggs, cheese, spinach, legumes, and fish to aid wound healing and skin health.
Additional Tips for Wound Healing
- Apply ice to the affected area if there is bruising or swelling to help reduce discomfort and inflammation.
- Avoid smoking and drinking as they can delay healing.
- Soak a cloth in witch hazel and cover the wound to reduce swelling and speed up recovery.
- Keep the wound clean and exposed to open air at regular intervals.
- Do not scratch or excessively touch wounds as it can cause infection.
- Avoid stress if possible, stress may slow healing.
- If your doctor allows, do some light exercise to increase blood flow and supply nutrients to the site of wound.
Expert Answers (Q&A)
Answered by Dr. Bobby Buka, MD (Dermatology)
About Dr. Bobby Buka: He is a leading dermatologist in New York City, the founder of Bobby Buka MD Dermatology, contributing Founder & Chief Science Officer of the First Aid Beauty skin care line, and author of Buka’s Emergencies in Dermatology, and the newly launched Top 50 Dermatology Case Studies for Primary Care.
Does a wound heal faster if it’s properly secured by a bandage or if it’s left open to allow it to breathe?
This all depends on the circumstances–covering a wound with a bandage can encourage maceration, and being left open leaves it vulnerable to both dryness and airborne pathogens; either condition will cause it to heal more slowly. It’s best to cover it while you’re doing physical activities or traveling and to let it breathe while at home. A good mix of both will ensure the fastest healing possible.
What are the tell-tale signs to indicate that the wound is beyond the purview of self-treatment and requires medical assistance?
For most wounds, depth is a good indicator of a potential need for medical assistance. Even a small laceration that cuts deeply into the skin may require professional care. Depending on the size of the wound, it should heal within 3-5 days. After that length of time, it should be examined by a professional, as such a failure to heal may indicate a more serious condition.
Can normal tap water be used for cleaning wounds?
Absolutely! There’s nothing in tap water that won’t help clean out your cuts. Even ‘hard’ water with higher mineralization won’t slow the healing process.
What is the quickest and preferred way to stop the wound from bleeding?
Every bleeding wound should be treated with pressure. Hold a clean cloth tightly to the cut for at least 2 minutes. While applying pressure, be sure to keep it consistent: don’t check the wound as this will encourage the bleeding to start all over again. Uninterrupted pressure will stop bleeding 99% of the time–if it persists, seek medical help immediately.
How do you get rid of pus in a wound at home?
This depends on the size of the wound: a small amount of pus can be removed using a sterile needle or the corner of a razor blade. Needless to say, this option isn’t for the squeamish. Be sure to heat up the tool in order to disinfect it.
For larger amounts, removal at home won’t help as the skin will get re-blocked and the pus will likely regenerate. This is called an abscess and should be addressed by a medical professional.
Following Questions Answered by Dr. Leona Yip, MBChB, FACD (Dermatology)
Dr. Leona Yip, MBChB, FACD: Dr. Yip is an experienced medical, surgical and laser dermatologist for adults and children. She is also an alopecia (hair loss) expert. Dr. Yip is a Fellow of The Australasian College of Dermatologists (FACD), a qualification obtained after four years of intensive dermatology specialty training that concludes with fellowship examinations.
Do minor wounds often lead to infections if left untreated?
Most minor wounds do not get infected if kept clean and dressed properly. However, leg wounds tend to get infected more easily, especially in individuals with diabetes and in smokers.
Is it important to take a tetanus shot after a minor wound?
Yes, for all skin wounds except for minor ones where there is only superficially abraded skin (e.g. a scrape) where there is less tetanus infection risk. A tetanus booster is required if your last immunisation was more than 5 years ago.
What is the most effective way to stop bleeding?
Apply firm finger pressure on the wound for 15 minutes usually stops most bleeding. Applying an ice pack or cool compress can also help.
Do minor wounds lead to blood contamination?
This is usually not a concern unless the wound is deep and left uncleaned and open for long periods of time.
Is it necessary to take antibiotics after a minor wound?
Not usually necessary unless the wound is deep. Leg wounds, especially in those with diabetes, tend to get infected more easily and antibiotics are commonly prescribed in those circumstances.
Is turmeric a good agent to use as a topical treatment over a minor wound?
It is not a standard medical treatment for minor wounds though commonly used as a home remedy due to its wound healing properties. However, this should be used with caution as it is not suitable for all wounds and some people may develop allergies to it. It’s therapeutic use for wound healing is the subject of ongoing research.
Are there any other important notes to consider when dealing with minor wounds?
Do not pick at the wound as it delays healing. Keep the wound dry and covered for the first 1-2 days and then it should be left opened and cleaned in the shower regularly to prevent infection risks. Avoid sun exposure directly on the wound until full healing as it can make reactive pigmentation changes worse.
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