If you’re not putting a bandage on even seemingly small cuts, you could be hindering their ability to heal quickly and smoothly. The advice that you may have gotten as a child to “air out” your cuts isn’t actually the best remedy at all. Here’s what you should be doing instead.
Keep It Clean and Moist
When you let your wound stay exposed to the air, a hard, crusty scab will form over it. The problem with this, though, is that a scab—which is made up of dead skin cells and dried blood—can prevent new skin cells from forming over the cut.
Instead, the best way to promote fast and effective healing is to keep your cuts clean and moist at all times. To do this, make sure you wash them once or twice a day with soap and water, and then apply a moisturizing ointment like Vaseline or Aquaphor and cover the affected area with a bandage. This will prevent scabs from crusting over the wound, allowing plenty of space for new cells to grow and repair. After the first few days, it’s not essential that the bandage stays on all of the time, but at least for a first couple weeks you should always keep the cut clean moist with ointment.
Help to Reduce Scars
Another added benefit of keeping your cuts clean and moist rather than letting them dry up is that this method can help to minimize the appearance of scars after you’ve healed. The amount of scarring can depend on the severity of the wound and the time it takes your body to heal. And because scabs can actually lengthen the healing process, they can result in more noticeable scars.
If existing scars or other skin issues are a concern for you, talk with your dermatologist about possible treatments that may be able to help.