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Should I use hydrogen peroxide to clean a wound?

By: Amber White

While some people will clean a wound with alcohol most people choose to use hydrogen peroxide because it does not burn. However, if it gets absorbed into the skin it can actually cause more harm than good.

Peroxide is made up of hydrogen and oxygen. It is a strong oxidizer and can be used as a cleaning agent and to prevent infections. When used topically, this liquid foams due to the enzyme catalase. As the catalase comes in contact with the skin it turns the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen gas.

When your skin absorbs hydrogen peroxide, it can reduce the amount of fibroblasts, a particular cell that is imperative for cleaning and repairing damaged tissue. So basically it kills off the bad stuff but it also kills off some of the good things that your body needs to naturally heal. It’s ok to use it the first time you clean a wound but I would not recommend using it again.

The next time you find yourself with a cut, scrape, or minor puncture wound, opt out of hydrogen peroxide. Instead follow these tips offered by The American Academy of Family Physicians:

-Run cool water over the wound, either by pouring from a cup or holding the area under running water.

-Using a soft washcloth and soap, gently clean the skin.

-Avoid applying soap directly in the wound.

-Clean a pair of tweezers with isopropyl alcohol then use the tweezers to remove any dirt or debris in and around the wound.

-Avoid using strong cleansing solutions such as hydrogen peroxide or iodine. Use plain water unless otherwise directed by a doctor.

If you feel the wound could use medical attention please call us for an appointment at 731-554-0571 or stop by our office at 149 Northstar Drive Jackson, TN 38305