5 Ways To Speed Up Wound Healing

Has that cut or scrape from a while ago still not shown signs of fading? There are a variety of reasons why your wounds are not healing as fast as they used to. While one cannot do much about factors like old age or diabetes, here are five other tips you can follow to improve healing.

1. Good nutrition

In general, you should follow a balanced diet which includes all the essential food groups. But since wound healing requires the use of several nutrients, the Cleveland Clinic advises including more of the following in your diet — protein, vitamins A, vitamin C, and zinc.

While protein can be sourced from meat and dairy/soy products, eat more of fruits and vegetables for a sufficient vitamin boost. In addition to many breakfast cereals which are fortified with zinc, you can also consider oysters, beans, nuts, and more.

2. Physical activity

Research suggested exercise could help accelerate the wound healing process. One explanation relates to how exercise boosts immune system activity. The increased blood flow from moving around may also reduce inflammation associated with damaged skin tissue.

Charles Emery, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University, led a study which found faster healing in older adults who exercised regularly. 

"The stress of exercise may enhance the regulation of cortisol," he said. "This increase in cortisol levels may represent a biological pathway by which exercise helps wounds heal."

3. Use of bandage

While the claims made by Band-Aid advertisements are not entirely proven, they are definitely helpful when it comes to minor wounds. For one, they clearly do protect from further trauma, be it accidental injury or skin-picking tendencies.

Additionally, the use of bandage can also prevent drying. It is said that wounds kept in a moist condition can speed up healing and also reduce the likelihood of developing scars and scabs.

4. Avoid smoking

If you are a smoker, the use of cigarettes can delay the healing process in more ways than one. Research has shown that smokers are more likely to experience poor healing after surgical procedures compared to non-smokers.

"The documented effects of the toxic constituents of cigarette smoke — particularly nicotine, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide — suggest potential mechanisms by which smoking may undermine expeditious wound repair," writes Paul Silverstein in a literature review

5. Limit alcohol intake 

Just like smoking, heavy drinking can also take quite a toll. According to a 2014 study from Loyola University, binge drinking reduces the levels of white blood cells and key proteins that are important for recovery.

Those who suffer an injury while under the influence are also at higher risk of bacterial infection as well as bleeding. Moreover, it is well-known that drinking above moderate levels can make you more likely to injure yourself.