Topic: Why aren't my skin wounds healing?
June 18, 2019 / By Edmund Question:
A couple of months ago the weather was really bad, and it was cold all the time. I got a bad cold rash on both my hands. ( My skin would sometimes crack and bleed ). The weather is fine now, but my hands still look pretty bad. ( They don't bleed anymore but they appear rather scaly ) The same happened to my knee, I tripped during a run and badly scrapped my knee on the concrete. That was a while ago, and it still looks purple where I had the scrap. Why aren't my wounds healing? Is this a fixable problem? If so, what alternatives can I make to help fix these problems?
Camden | 4 days ago
The scrape on your knee may have been bad enough that it turned into a scar, which can be a permanent mark, or it can last a few months. However, if you're noticing consistently that wounds aren't healing normally, even small wounds, or that you scar more easily than others, you need to mention that to a doctor; that can be a sign of certain diseases, like Diabetes, autoimmune disorders (like Lupus), genetic diseases of the collagen/connective tissue (like Ehlers-Danlos) or it can be a sign of more severe vitamin deficiencies. So if your wound healing is remarkably slow, and your scarring is very unusual, have it checked.
Otherwise, you may just be experiencing a normal reaction to the types of wounds these are. Sores or rashes or cracked skin from the cold can take a long time to clear up, especially if they are not moisturized properly - in order for the scaly skin to clear up, you need to moisturize with a medical strength product at least 2-3 times a day. Many regular hand lotions, especially the perfumed "luxury" lotions, (Bath and Body Works, cheap drugstore scented lotions, etc.) actually contain ingredients that dry the skin even more (such as alcohol). These lotions really are not formulated for exceptionally dry cracked skin (even though they may say so). Try using a medical lotion - the best one, which is available over the counter, is Aquaphor, hands down. I have worked in many hospitals, and this is the lotion they use for patients with chapped hands, cracks, slow healing, etc. There are a lot of lotions out there that claim to be for severely dry or chapped hands, but none of them work like Aquaphor. The reason is because it contains a lot of strong oils, like mineral oil, castor oil, petroleum jelly (vaseline), paraffin, beeswax, etc. and nothing else that will dry out the skin. If you absolutely cannot get Aquaphor, you can try A&D Ointment (not the diaper rash cream, the regular first aid ointment) or Eucerin; you can also try the original Vaseline hand lotion (the one for severely dry skin), or the Vaseline Intensive Clinical Therapy lotion; Burt's Bees Almond Beeswax lotion can help too, although I definitely recommend Aquaphor before any of the others.
Again, make sure you apply the lotion at least 2-3 times daily - morning, noon, and right before bed. Aquaphor is greasy, so if that bothers you, use it at nighttime and get a lighter, less greasy lotion for use during the day (such as the Burt's Bees Almond Beeswax). Scaly hands won't heal without proper moisturization; this is common.
For the scrape on your knee, if it was a pretty bad scrape, it would be normal to have a scar (purple at first, then it will fade to brown/dark skin color) for awhile afterward. You can try Mederma, Bio Oil, or Scar Zone treatments; most of these are available in the drugstore (sometimes with the facial care stuff, sometimes with the lotion) and they do really help speed healing of the wound and help remove the scar.
Otherwise, make sure you're taking in enough vitamin C (crucial for wound healing) and check with your doctor next time you see him/her if you continue to experience slow wound healing or excessive scarring.
I would definately see a good Internist. Self-diagnosis rarely helps and the antibiotic use may be aggrevating the condition. Also examine your diet. Are you underweight? Or, are you very stressed out? These are just a few things that can deplete our immune systems. Skin ulcers can be a sign of systemic illness so don't rely on internet answers alone. The best practice is to see your doctor and voice your concerns.
Wounds should be healed within 4 to 6 weeks depending on how bad it was but no longer then 6 weeks. If your wounds have taken longer then 6 weeks to heal then you seriously need to go see a doctor. There may be something else wrong. Hope this helps. May God Bless