Applying cleanser to cotton pad

How to Safely Cleanse Broken or Irritated Skin

Got some broken or irritated skin that you need to cleanse?

Here is everything you need to know in order to do that safely, along with a few tips on how to speed up the rate at which your skin heals.

Wash Your Hands

When dealing with broken skin, you need to make sure that you always wash your hands first.

It doesn’t take much for bacteria to enter into your wound, and this will only lead to an infection.

Wash your hands thoroughly before touching any broken or irritated skin.

Want to be extra safe?

Disposable gloves can be useful, especially if your wound is quite big.

Stop Any Bleeding

Is your skin bleeding?

If so, this is something that you should try to stop before you cleanse your skin.

How do you stop the bleeding?

The most effective way is by applying pressure to your wound, using a clean cloth or some gauze to do this. If the blood ends up soaking through the fabric you have used, don’t remove it. Instead, just place another piece of gauze or cloth over the top of this, and continue applying pressure.

Is the bleeding coming from one of your arms or legs?

Then raise this up so that it is higher than your heart, as this will help to slow down the flow of blood.

Here are a few other tips to help you to stop any bleeding:

  • Iceapplying ice to broken skin will help to shrink your blood vessels. This then enables your blood to clot more quickly, resulting in the bleeding stopping. Make sure that you wrap the ice in a clean cloth rather than applying it directly to your skin
  • Teaa compress made from tea bags can be extremely useful when stopping bleeding. Tea contains tannins, which contains astringents, resulting in blood vessels constricting and blood clotting. Tea also boasts some anti-inflammatory properties that will help to prevent an infection from forming
  • Witch Hazeldistilled witch hazel has been shown to stop bleeding when applied to a wound 

Many people also recommend slathering petroleum jelly over an open wound, but this is something you should avoid doing.

Why?

Because this interferes with your skin’s natural healing process. Your skin needs to clot and form its own microscopic film of protein over the cut, which basically acts like a natural plaster

Of course, if you give your skin some time to do this, you won’t cause any harm by applying the petroleum jelly afterwards. Just make sure that you wait for at least half an hour so that your blood can properly clot first.

Cleansing

It is now time to cleanse your broken skin. This is important in order to prevent infection.

How should you cleanse it?

Begin by rinsing it under clean running water. This will help to loosen up the skin and remove any debris that is lying on the surface.

How long should you do this for?

Between five to ten minutes should be enough.

Once you have rinsed the actual wound, it is time to cleanse the area around it. Do this gently, by softly dabbing a clean piece of cloth, or a piece of gauze, onto your skin. You can use a mild soap to help you with this, but make sure that you take extra care to prevent the soap from getting into your broken skin.

Wondering if you should use an antiseptic product?

You only really need to use one if you can see that your broken skin has been contaminated in any way. If not, try to avoid antiseptic products and any sort of topical antibiotics.

Why?

Because it won’t take long for all of the harmful microorganisms in your skin to become resistant to the antibiotics. This is becoming quite a common problem, so you would be best off avoiding them if possible.

Drying

Once your skin has been cleansed, it is time to dry it.

How?

Ideally, with a clean cloth. Use this to gently dab at your skin to soak up any moisture. Avoid rubbing your skin, as this will only cause friction and may end up making everything much worse.

Wondering if you can use a swab or a cotton ball to dry your skin?

It would be best not to. These often “shed” small strands of material, which can end up getting caught inside your wound.

Topical Ingredients to Speed Up Healing

Now that your broken skin has been cleansed and dried, there are a few ingredients out there that you can apply to your skin to help speed up its healing rate.

Here are a few ingredients to look into:

  • Fresh Aloe Vera Gelthis activates the cells in your immune system, enabling them to better fight against infection while encouraging the healing process. Aloe vera gel also contains anesthetic qualities that minimize any swelling or itching 

  • Honeyhoney features a low pH level and a high sugar content, both of which work together to prevent microbial growth in the skin. When applied to broken skin, honey is able to produce its own levels of hydrogen peroxide, which prevents infection. While most types of honey will work for this, manuka honey contains additional skin-healing properties, making this type the most beneficial 
  • Essential Oilssome essential oils, such as rosemary and tea tree, are fantastic for wound healing since they contain powerful antibacterial properties. Make sure that you dilute these oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, and apply the solution to your skin a couple of times a day
  • Turmerica natural antiseptic and antibiotic, this herb contains curcumin, which speeds up collagen production and therefore the wound healing process too
  • Coconut Oilnot only will coconut oil keep your skin cells moisturized, which will enable them to heal faster, but it also contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and can prevent scarring too.

Keeping It Protected

Whether you have chosen to apply one of the above ingredients to your wound or not, the next step is covering your broken skin over to keep it protected.

Wondering if this is really necessary?

Many people choose to leave broken skin uncovered, believing that airing the wound out will help it to heal faster.

Unfortunately, this isn’t actually true…

As part of the healing process, your skin produces new surface skin cells. These skin cells are very new, young and tender, making them susceptible to damage.

When you leave these uncovered and open to the environment around you, it doesn’t take long for these skin cells to dry out. This not only slows down the healing process, but can also be quite painful. 

This is why it is important to cover broken skin over after it has been cleansed. Not only does this enable the new surface skin cells to stay moist, fresh and healthy, but it also prevents bacteria, dirt and other impurities from entering into your skin and causing more damage.

So, what should you use to cover over your broken skin?

A clean bandage or sterile dressing is really all you need.

Try to make sure that whatever you use is waterproof. If not, then you will need to change the dressing each time it becomes wet.

Of course, if your skin has already scabbed over, then covering it up is not as necessary. 

The Skin Healing Process

Your skin goes through four main stages when healing.

Why do you need to know this?

Because it is important to keep an eye on the healing process so that you immediately know if your skin is not healing in the way that it should. If this is the case, you may need to see a doctor, which will be discussed in more detail further down.

These are the four main stages of skin healing:

  1. Hemostasisthis is when your blood clots over the broken skin, meaning that bleeding stops
  2. Inflammatorythis is temporary inflammation, and is actually needed in order to fight infection and rid the skin of any bacteria. This is also the stage when growth factors are produced to help the skin heal
  3. Proliferativeafter four to six days, your skin will start to create new skin cells. Your broken skin will begin to heal, and this is the stage at which a scar may form. If you notice one forming, it may be worth looking into ingredients that can help this scarring from becoming more prominent
  4. Maturationthis is when your new skin cells become stronger, meaning that they settle into place. This can happen in just a few weeks, but can sometimes take a couple of years Oral Supplements to Speed Up Healing

While applying one of those topical ingredients mentioned above can really help to speed up the rate at which your skin heals, nourishing your skin from within will accelerate this process even more.

Here are a few specific nutrients that are worth looking into, with each one usually easily available in supplement form:

  • Vitamin C/ Ascorbic Acidnumerous studies show that vitamin C speeds up the skin healing process, with its antioxidants helping to protect cells from damage 
  • Grape Seed Extracthelps to build new blood vessels, therefore strengthening skin cells and preventing any scarring
  • Bromelainsignificantly reduces tissue and muscle swelling
  • Zinczinc is used in just about every stage of the skin healing process, with experts believing that zinc can really help to accelerate wound healing. If you don’t want to take a zinc supplement, consume more foods that are rich in zinc instead, such as pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts and grass-fed beef 
  • Rutina plant-based nutrient that protects the blood vessels and intensifies the wound-healing effects that vitamin C has, making this a supplement worth taking alongside vitamin C

LED light therapy is also a good option for skin healing. By targeting different light wavelengths into the skin, the skin’s collagen and fibroblast production is stimulated, helping to quicken the skin healing process.

Wondering how you can include some LED light therapy into your skin healing and skin care process?

You can find LED light therapy offered at many medical spas. Depending on the types of LED machine and the area of treatment, it usually takes between 5-30 minutes to complete one treatment of LED light therapy.

Alternatively, you can also consider hand-held LED light therapy devices, such as the ones offered by Jelessi. These personal, portable devices are travel-friendly and can be used repeatedly.

Lifestyle Factors That Can Slow Down Skin Healing

If you want your skin to heal as quickly as possible…

There are a few lifestyle changes that you may need to make.

The main ones are to cut back on alcohol consumption, as well as smoking

How does that make a difference?

Alcohol slows down the skin healing process while increasing your risk of infection. Smoking does the same, and can also cause healing skin to break open again.

Stress is another thing that can drastically slow down wound healing. This can be a hard part of life to minimize, especially if your broken skin itself is what is causing your stress.

Don’t worry, there are so many stress reduction techniques out there – you just need to find one that works well for you.

Certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory NSAIDs and some corticosteroids, can also have a negative effect on how quickly broken skin heals.

Does Your Skin Need Medical Attention?

It can be difficult to know when to seek medical attention for broken or irritated skin…

So, how do you know if you need to see a doctor?

Here are a few signs that you may need a professional to take a look at your wound:

  • If your skin does not stop bleeding after ten minutes
  • If the wound on your skin is so deep that you cannot see to the bottom of it
  • If there is a foreign object or dirt in your wound that cannot be easily removed
  • If your broken skin was caused by a bite, whether this may be human or animal
  • If the wound has not improved at all after four weeks 

Delayed healing can lead to a number of problems, which is why you need to get this sorted out as soon as you notice that your skin just doesn’t seem to be improving.

Broken or irritated skin can be caused by a number of different factors. Whatever may have caused yours, it is important to understand how to properly cleanse and care for broken skin, as this will help to speed up the rate at which your skin heals, while also preventing scarring and infections.

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