When coming into a wound healing, people might have various perceptions about a proper wound healing. When you have your wounds treated by medical professionals, you are likely to follow whatever the method they say to be suitable for your wound. However, treating your wounds at home leaves you more choices, especially between leaving a wound uncovered as told by our elderly and covering it with wound dressings as discussed in many modern journals.
Principles of wound healing
A wound is a disruption of skin normal structure. Major wounds may not only affect the surface of the skin—the dermis and epidermis, but also the beneath blood vessels and tissues. A proper treatment on these wounds will promote faster wound healing and is likely to minimize scarring. In order to promote a good wound healing procedure, some things have to be paid attention to. A proper wound healing requires repaired wound bed, repaired tissues, no infections, and moist environment. Repaired wound bed and tissues are done by skin cells by producing collagen, which is essential for new skin cells formation. No infections should present during the healing process as it may disrupt the process and make the wound even worse. To promote proper skin cells growth, moist environment is needed.
Wound healing is classified into several phases, including blood clot, where the body releases certain substances to make the blood clot after it is used as a cleansing agent for the broken area. The next stage causes the wound to swell and redden with a considerable amount of fluids which function as a cleansing agent. This stage also involves scab formation, which protects the fragile new skin cells from hazardous substances. Under the scab, the skin tissues re-grow and new skin forms over these tissues. When the skin surface is fully formed, the scabs fall off, resulting in scars with different texture and color with its surrounding skin. Overtime, this scar should fade.
To cover or not to cover?
Seeing through the principles needed for wound healing, it is advisable that a wound is better to get covered. Covering a wound will promote a hygienic environment, which is essential in preventing infections. Infections may delay wound healing and is potential of making it worse, instead. Exposing wounds to free air may contaminate it with existing bacteria which leads to infections. Changing the dressing regularly is also important in promoting proper hygiene. Covering a wound is also protecting it from extreme temperature, dirt, bugs, and other harmful substances. In addition, covering a wound prevents it from accidental scrape and bumps which may cause re-injury.
Do wounds heal better when covered or uncovered?
A lot of people think that oxygen is a substantial element of wound healing, so that it is good for wounds to be exposed to open air to breathe. It is true that oxygen is an important element for wound healing, yet exposing wounds to open air is not a fully proper way to get the substance. When a wound is covered, damaged blood vessels heal properly, providing sufficient oxygen for the new skin cells. A covered wound also heal more tenderly than uncovered wound, which tends to heal too tightly. In an uncovered wound, scabs are fast to form, yet this may delay the healing process and promote worse scarring. A moist environment, in addition, is required for new skin cells to grow and replace the damaged cells. Therefore, a moist wound dressing—not wet is beneficial. However, moist environment may also transmit unwanted bacteria. Therefore, you will need to change the dressing regularly, before it shows any bleed-through. With some researches, an outcome seen, that a wound heals faster when covered, since dressing a wound gives it a necessary environment and protects it from extreme weather which may transmit unwanted debris and substances. Covering a wound also helps preventing the desire of doing scab picking, which when done may slow down the haling process, as some tissues are re-damaged. Uncovered wound is also prone to re-injury which is caused by carelessness. This is definitely likely to cause delay to the whole healing process, as the process is restarted from the initial phase of bleeding.