The rate that wounds heal depends on a number of factors. The type and extent of the wound are key factors; however, the physical state of the patient and cleaning and treatment of the wound also play significant roles in the rate of healing.
A wound heals in three stages. The inflammatory stage happens immediately after the injury occurs and usually lasts around two to five days, depending on the severity and treatment of the wound. The proliferative stage is when new cells (fibroblasts, pericytes and keratinocytes) start to grow and replace damaged tissue cells. The remodeling stage is the final stage of wound healing when the dermal tissues are gradually replaced with new, more elastic healthy skin cells.
Cleaning Open Wounds
It is very important to properly clean open wounds to prevent infection and encourage rapid healing. Using soap and water is a good start, but try to keep the soap out of the wound itself as it can cause irritation. Remove any visible dirt or debris from the wound before applying an antiseptic or bandaging.
Antiseptics, Herbs and Essential Oils
Applying an antiseptic agent, such as alcohol or commercially available product, to an open wound is always a good idea. However, there are a number of other antiseptic agents that are useful for preventing infection and promoting healing. Aloe vera (gel or fresh juice/plant matter) is commonly used on wounds. Tea tree oil and clove oil are also known to have antiseptic properties.
Immobilization, Bandages and Fresh Air
It is important to keep tissue immobilized to maximize the rate of healing, although this can be difficult depending on the location of the wound. It is a good idea to put a bandage on an open wound after cleaning to protect it. Since wounds tend to heal faster in open air, remove the bandage when the wound is reasonably advanced into the proliferative stage.