An article by the Los Angeles Times received input from Dr. Kazu Suzuki, director at Tower Wound Care Center in Los Angeles, who said, “In the wound care world, we say, ‘Don’t put anything on your wound that you wouldn’t put in your eye.”
Here are five things it is suggested to never put on a wound …
1. HYDROGEN PEROXIDE
The use of hydrogen peroxide on wounds seems logical at first: the bubbling action removes debris from the wound that could potentially lead to an infection. However, experts agree that hydrogen peroxide is too harsh and irritating for an open wound. According to wound specialist Dr. Walter Keller, “The hydrogen peroxide bubbling releases pure oxygen, which kills bacteria but also the healthy cells, slowing down wound healing.” Therefore, hydrogen peroxide is one thing you should never put on a wound.
2. RUBBING ALCOHOL
The same reason it is advised to never put hydrogen peroxide on a wound applies to rubbing alcohol as a topical antiseptic: it’s too irritating! While it’s true that rubbing alcohol will kill some bacteria, it will also kill and irritate healthy skin and the wound bed.
Betadine, also known as povidone-iodine (PVP-I) or iodopovidone, is an antiseptic used for skin disinfection before and after surgery. It is a chemical complex of povidone, hydrogen iodide, and elemental iodine, containing from 9% to 12% available iodine. Betadine works by releasing iodine which results in the death of a range of microorganisms.
Since Betadine is sold over-the-counter, many people use this solution as a home remedy to prevent wound infection. Once again, however, experts agree that Betadine is too harsh to put on a healing wound. Side effects include skin irritation, but if Betadine is used on large wounds it may cause kidney problems, high blood sodium, and metabolic acidosis to occur in some cases.
Ice seems like the perfect remedy for skin that has just been burned, right? While it may seem like common sense, this is another home remedy that is less than helpful. In fact, there is even research to support that ice should never be used for burns. For instance, one study published in the journal Burns compared the use of ice cubes for 10 minutes to ease burns with other remedies and found that ice caused “the most severe damage.” Ice is too harsh and may further aggravate the already damaged skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, putting ice on a burn can cause frostbite and damage the skin.
Putting butter or other types of grease on a burn is another older tale that may cause even more damage to tender skin. First, the grease will slow the release of heat from the skin, which is the opposite of what you want after a burn. Also, clothing or other materials can get stuck to the butter on the burn, causing damage to the skin or pulling the skin off completely.
WHAT YOU SHOULD PUT ON A WOUND
In the LA Times article, Dr. Suzuki recommends immediately rinsing an open wound, such as a cut or deep scrape, with clean running water for a few minutes. For a burn, the Mayo Clinic suggests running cool water over the area and taking a pain relief.
Dr. Suzuki states that keeping your wound moist until it heals completely “results in the fastest wound healing with minimal scarring.”
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