Practical Tips for Cuts and Scrapes


Minor cuts and skin scrapes are a natural part of an active life. As a mom of two young children, it seems as though I’m tending to a “boo-boo” almost every single day! As a busy dermatologist, I perform procedures on patients such as laser treatments and minor skin biopsies to evaluate for possible skin cancer. Just like the minor cuts and scrapes I care for at home, these small wounds require proper attention to help them heal quickly and reduce the risk of infection and scarring.

The best way to treat a minor cut or scrape is to gently wash the area with mild soap and water. The soap does not have to be antibacterial; any gentle soap is effective. No hydrogen peroxide or alcohol in the wound is needed and in fact, may actually slow down the healing process. After gentle washing, a thick application of ointment will create a perfect wound-healing environment. Healing ointments (found in your local drugstore) are best for minor cuts and scrapes because they provide a protective layer over the wound, which shields the skin from outside irritants that can slow down skin healing. Unlike petroleum jelly, they are also semi-occlusive, so air is allowed to flow through into the wound to help stimulate healing. These ointments can be used with or without a bandage and has been shown to support the natural ability of the skin to heal itself. I recommend products like these to patients, as they can be used on any minor cut, scrape or wound whether it be from a fun day at the playground or a trip to the doctor’s office.