Is there a way to promote skin healing after an injury or a laser treatment?

Hello, I am 33 years old and experienced an extreme injury to my face, specifically my cheeks. My skin at the current moment is red, raw, and dry. Do you have natural product recommendations to help my skin heal? Thank you! Rebekah

You sound very uncomfortable!   First….have you seen your primary care doctor or you dermatologist to make sure this isn’t infected or needing special treatment like might be needed for a burn.   Please see your doctor, if you haven’t!

There is, of course, a lot of science on how to promote skin healing and especially wounds related to burns, and also to leg ulcers which can be very hard to heal.   In the last 10 years or so, there’s been more research on skin on the face, with the increasing popularity of laser treatments. Skin on different parts of the body is surprisingly different in how it heals and how likely it is to scar.

Here’s 5 things to know and do to promote healing and avoid scars if at all possible:

  1. Assuming you’ve seen your doctor, the literature supports that when wounds are occluded (like vaseline) or kept covered, it can promote skin healing. It’s because the covering allows the moisture under the vaseline or dressing to be preserved and then the skin cells (keratinocytes) can migrate faster from the edges of the wound back into position to create new skin.   If the wound is draining (clear or yellowish liquid)  though, that isn’t good either and the drainage needs to be soaked up and dried out a bit first.  But not too dry!
  2. It’s imporant to watch for signs of infection……..redness at the edges is spreading, pus developing, and increasing pain or tenderness.  See a doctor right away.  Infections make a wound much more likely to scar.  More on scars.
  3. It’s important to watch for signs of irritation/allergy.   Many common things like Neosporin, for example, or tea tree oil and many other things may cause irritation in open skin when they might be fine on normal skin.   If the wound is getting worse, stop all the topicals except vaseline and see your doctor.
  4. Once the skin forms that first fragile layer over the top of the wound, it take 3-4 weeks for the skin to be normal again.   Treat it very gently and moisturize as many times a day as you need to to keep it from drying out.   Use sunscreen!!
  5. Other helpful products to consider are zinc paste like the ones used for diaper rash.  Zinc also inhibits bacteria to some extent.  Silicone based “scar” products may help …….but they should only be used on intact skin, not open skin.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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