Superficial Injuries

Superficial Injuries

Whether it’s a paper cut or scraped knee, superficial wounds are an unavoidable and common occurrence in our daily life.  Since the skin is our biggest organ and best defense against infection and disease, it’s vital to know how to treat these minor wounds to keep yourself healthy and prevent bigger problems down the road that could have been easily avoided.  It’s also a bonus if you can accomplish this with minimal scarring as well.

Superficial skin injuries typically fall into four different categories: burns, scrapes, cuts, and punctures.  While each of these has slightly different tricks and tips, the basic treatment of them is similar with cleanliness and disinfection being your most important concern.   (Note: These are only general guidelines.  You should always consult and follow your physician’s instructions when applicable.)

General Care for Superficial Wounds and Injuries:

  1. Apply pressure to stop any bleeding.
  2. Once the bleeding has stopped, you’ll want to wash the wound.  Generally, running it under cold clean water for about 10 minutes (especially for burns) or wiping with a clean cloth and a mild soap will do the trick.
  3. Disinfect the wound with hydrogen peroxide or other antibiotic gel.
  4. Cover the exposed area with a sterile, non-stick bandage or wrap.  Breathable materials are recommended to allow the wound to heal and scab.

Once the wound starts to heal, there’s a good chance that it will eventually cause a scar to form.  Although not entirely avoidable in many cases, there are steps that you can take to minimize the scarring.  Unless you’re going for the sea battered pirate look, here are a few tips that can help reduce scar tissue:

  • Use minimal antibiotic creams and salves to let the wound breath as much as possible.  Your body naturally produces a fluid (called exudates) to facilitate in the healing process.
  • Keep the scab as dry as possible.  Lengthy exposure to water will break down the scab and lengthen healing time.
  • Keep the wound out of direct sunlight since UV rays can increase scarring.
  • The best tip to avoid scars:  Don’t pick at the scab!  Let your body shed the scab at its own rate to allow it proper healing time below the surface.