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Factors That Impact Wound Healing and Scaring

We all want our wounds to heal quickly and neatly but it’s a complicated process and sometimes other factors can slow it down. Slow wound healing often causes more scarring as the body gets stuck in the Proliferative phase which is when the new tissue is built.

Here are some things that can slow down wound healing:

Age

Unfortunately we can’t do much about this one. The body’s oil and sweat glands naturally shrink with age, which makes the skin drier. Dry skin takes longer to heal than moist skin. Skin also becomes thinner with age. It’s less resilient and elastic, which makes it harder for wounds to repair.

Smoking

A rich blood supply helps with healing. Smoking is known to reduce the body’s blood flow as well as reduce the amount of oxygen in the blood which reduces the body’s ability to renew cells. If you need help to stop smoking, the NHS has details about various options here.

Illness

When you are ill, your body is fighting off infection. Therefore, your body will be spending less energy on regenerating new skin cells and more on combatting infection through your immune system. Those with long term health issues that affect circulation can expect their wounds to heal more slowly.

Vitamin Deficiency

Eating foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals gives your body fuel for faster and more effective healing. Zinc, for example, helps boost your body’s immune system and accelerates skin cell renewal. This is present in spinach, wheat germ, lamb and lean beef. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and boosts healing. It is also needed for the body to make Collagen (protein that forms scar tissue) eat high C foods such as broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage and oranges. Foods rich in Vitamin D improve your immune system and help stave off infections. Strong sources of Vitamin D include whole milk, wild-caught salmon and fortified cereals.

Lack of Sleep

Several studies have shown that the body does its best healing when its asleep. Your skin rejuvenates more quickly because your body sends out healing hormones. If you don’t get enough restful sleep, your body can’t regenerate as efficiently.

Picking Scabs

A scab is nature’s plaster and needs to stay in place until it falls off naturally. A scab protects the wound from dirt and germs and is an important part of the healing process. Every time you pull off the scab, it sets back this process and exposes the area beneath to possible infection. (see above)

Excessive Submersion In Water

While moisture helps the skin to heal faster, submersion for long periods of time can make the scabs or softened new skin fall off. Immersion in cold water for more than a minute or two slows down blood flow, which in turn slows down wound healing.

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a no-obligation chat.