Wound Care, Proper Cleaning, and Recovery Process

The human body contains amazing healing properties for recovery from injuries to the skin. Whether the injury is caused by accident or surgery, the body will almost immediately begin to seal and repair the wound site, eliminating the potential for infection. Scarring is a natural process in healing of small and large wounds or lesions, with the scar appearance determined by the healing process.

Although scars are unavoidable in major injury instances, the visibility of scarring is partially dependent on wound care treatments, with at-home after-care playing a major role. Successful healing of minor wounds such as scratches and skinned knees is possible when guidelines suggested by your dermatologist or associated medical practitioner are followed. Here are some tips for reducing the noticeable appearance of scars.

  • Keep the injured area clean at all times. Cuts, scrapes and scratches should be washed with mild soap and warm water for removal of foreign germs and other objects.
  • Stop the wound from drying out by using a cream as recommended by your dermatologist. Wounds with scabs take more time to heal and sometimes result in a scar that is larger than it need be. The cream will also help avoid itchiness associated with the healing process.
  • Keep the skin covered with a bandage. Adhesive bandages are best, with larger scrapes, burns and other sores further assisted if the adhesive bandage contains healing gel properties.
  • Make sure to change the bandage regularly to keep the wound site clean. Sensitive skin may respond better to non-adhesive gauze pads. Always follow the instructions when replacing bandages and healing pads.
  • For deeper cuts that have been sealed with stitches, follow your treating doctor’s advice regarding wound care while the stitches are in place and after they have been removed.
  • Once the wound has healed, sunscreen can be applied to help reduce the potential of darkening or discolouration of scar tissue. Broad-spectrum sunscreen can be reapplied frequently. 

The above tips will be helpful for minor injuries, cuts and scrapes. They can be applied at home and are easy to perform. In cases where the injury is painful, deep, or appearing infected, a medical consultation is required as soon as possible to avoid additional scarring.

Scars are natural and impossible to completely eliminate, although Pymble Dermatology clinicians can give appropriate advice if the scar is taking too long to heal or appears unsightly.  Additional information regarding wound care is given below. 

Wound cleaning

If the wound has been bandaged in a clinical environment, the bandage will probably need to stay in place for at least the first 24 hours. Apart from keeping the wound moist and clean, the bandage is used to prevent bleeding. Once the bandage has been removed according to your doctor’s instructions, cleaning should be performed softly and delicately.

Water shouldn’t be sprayed with force onto the wound site. Gently run water across the wound when rinsing off soap. Softly pat the area dry before applying any healing ointment and re-bandaging the area. Avoid immersion of the wound under water for at least one week in cases where stitches have been removed.

Restrict activities

It’s understood that wound sites only have a small percentage of their strength immediately after surgery, so movements should be gentle or avoided altogether during the first few weeks of healing. Flexing or stretching can open the site, requiring re-commencement of healing and the possibility of greater scarring. Physical activities should be gradually re-introduced once healing is well progressed.

Bleeding of the wound site

In some cases, a wound will bleed unexpectedly or due to inappropriate activity. In most situations, bleeding can be halted by applying pressure with a soft clean bandage or towel for around ten minutes. If required, keep time to ensure pressure is applied for the full ten minutes and don’t peek until time is up. Then, slowly release pressure to ascertain if the wound has stopped bleeding. If bleeding continues or restarts at a later time, inform your physician for further advice.

Infection of the wound site

Despite the best intentions during wound care, infection can still arise on occasion. Although a little redness is natural during healing, it should slowly fade, so if the wound becomes increasingly red, hot, swollen or painful, an infection has likely taken hold. Contact your dermatologist or doctor for advice.

Pain during wound recovery

Cuts, scratches and abrasions are always somewhat painful as a natural part of the healing process. It’s also normal to experience some swelling. If pain persists an over-the-counter painkiller can be taken in most cases. If in doubt, or if pain becomes difficult to tolerate it could be a sign of a more significant problem requiring the assistance of your medical professional.

As dedicated skin treatment specialists, dermatologists have the answers you require regarding recovery from wounds and any other skin problems you may encounter. Conveniently located to service the Sydney region, Pymble Dermatology experts are available for consultation, diagnosis and treatments that will help you heal, return to health and look your very best.