We’ve all had our fair share of cuts, scratches and grazes when we were kids.
You fall over, your knee gets bloodied.
You put a band aid on it.
After a few days it starts to scab over.
Then you pick it off because, well, you just can’t resist.
Then it scabs over again, and you don’t pick it off this time because Mom will kill you.
Finally the scab falls off and leaves fresh pink skin underneath.
What we’ve described above is the natural wound healing process, known as dry wound healing. It’s rather efficient, and it works.
And keeping the wound dry is one of the key factors to making this work.
That’s why the doctor always says, keep the wound dry.
However, is there a better way?
In recent years, research has emerged that shows it might, in fact, be better to keep the wound wet.
What does this mean exactly?
The science of moist wound healing reveals that skin actually rebuilds itself better in a moist environment.
This particular study found that a wet healing environment led to faster healing (wet wounds healed after six days, moist wounds healed after seven days and dry wounds healed after eight). Also, moist and wet wounds were less inflammatory and resulted in higher quality skin to be regenerated.
This particular study showed that there was no difference in the rate of infection between dry and moist wound dressings.
Finally, this extensive study showed that a moist wound healing environment led to faster closure and healing of the wound, less inflammation and scarring, and facilitated the delivery of nutrients and molecules to the wound.
This is not new.
This isn’t exactly new. Back in the days of Greeks and Romans, and even in civilizations before then, people were using things like animal fats and honey to dress wounds. While this was probably due to reduce the chance of infection and seal the wound, what they didn’t realize (or maybe they did!) was that creating a moist environment sped up the healing of the wound.
It’s only with modern science that we’re able to understand why moist wound healing works, and has allowed us to invent the right tools to facilitate it.
Why does moist wound healing work?
The healing of a wound requires the growth of cells, and cells require moisture to grow. This is the underlying concept of moist wound healing.
You might notice when you have a bad wound, that a clear fluid tends to weep from the wound during the healing process. This is a medium that the body uses to deliver nutrients and also cells of the immune system to help fight infection.
However, once the wound scabs over, it becomes a lot harder for the cells to regenerate. This is why you might notice that while a wound scabs over very quickly, it often takes a lot longer to progress once the scab has formed. This is because the hardened shell makes it difficult for cells to deliver the necessary nutrients and molecules through the wound for healing.
In a moist or wet wound environment, this changes. The body can deliver everything it needs to the wound with ease, and thus the healing process is quickened significantly.
How to create a moist wound dressing
There are various products on the market now to create keep a wound moist, and to be honest some are more complicated than they need to be. In fact, some people have had great results just using simple petroleum jelly or Vaseline, or even just household honey.
If you are going to use basic household items like this, the most important thing is to ensure the product is sterile.
Don’t use the honey that your toddler has been digging his spoon in and licking the jar every day. The same goes with the three year old tub of Vaseline that’s had an endless stream of greasy fingers jammed into it.
Spend some money on a brand new product, keep it tightly sealed, and use it only for your wound dressing.
The best moist wound dressing product?
I’ve now treated several wounds with moist wound healing methods, and I can vouch for them 100%. From deep burns, staph infections and odd cuts and grazes, I always treat my wounds this way and the results have been incredible.
No scars. Fast healing. Sometimes a little messy, but it’s all worth it.
The product I have been using to do this is manuka honey.
Manuka honey is a very unique honey only found in Australia and New Zealand. It’s produced from the melaleuca plant, which allows the bee to produce this rare antimicrobial, antibacterial honey that is now becoming extremely sought after around the world.
In fact, across the web you will find testimonials from people who have cured deep staph infections, MRSA, and many other ailments using this honey alone – often when some of the most powerful antibiotics have failed.
The amazing thing about this honey is that not only is it highly antibacterial, it also produces a thick, moist wound dressing which is absolutely perfect for wound healing.
How to dress a wound with manuka honey
First thing you’re going to need is a quality manuka honey. I have an extensive guide on the different ratings and certifications of manuka honey, and how to know what a quality manuka honey looks like.
Step 1: Clean the wound
Clean the wound with warm water. You should use some antiseptic wipes to clean your hands, but do not use antiseptic wipes on the wound itself. The alcohols are toxic to cells, and you do not want to kills the cells inside the wound. In fact, you need them to help regenerate and close the wound.
Step 2: Dry and dress the wound
Dry the wound with a sterile gauze, and then cover the wound with honey.
Get a little blob on a sterilized spoon or knife, and then apply it to the wound. Make sure you cover the wound entirely, you do not want it exposed to open air, as this will cause it to scab.
Step 3: Cover the wound
Once the wound is completely covered in honey, place a piece of sterile gauze over it, and then tape it down with a piece of micropore tape.
Micropore tape is ideal, because it allows the skin around the wound to breath, while still holding the wound dressing in place.
Step 4: Replace the dressing regularly
Replace the wound dressing twice a day in the beginning, and then once a day after you see the wound beginning to close and heal. Replacing the dressing becomes less important once the wound has shrunk and the risk of infection is minor.
Step 5: Repeat
Repeat this process until the wound is healed.