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Healing burns and scrapes: Here's a better way to do it

Petroleum jelly for wound care

If you’ve ever burned yourself with a curling iron or even skinned your knee, you usually clean the wound when it first happens. And if it’s not too severe, let it dry out to form a scab. 

But that might not be the best way to get the wound to heal.

“If you have a first- or superficial second- degree burn or skin your knee, keeping the wound moist with petroleum jelly is the way to go,” says Ascension Medical Group family medicine physician Art Windholz, MD. “We were always taught as kids to leave those types of wounds 'out to the air' to let it dry, but they would tend to scab over and crack back open, taking a long time to heal.”

Dr. Windholz tells patients to keep the wound moist, which will actually help the wound heal faster. He doesn’t recommend using antibiotic ointments, as they are meant for wounds with an infection and can sometimes lead to a red, itchy rash at the wound site.

So the next time you or a family member have a minor wound, be sure to reach for the petroleum jelly.