What Is Wound Gel?

Wound gel is one of several types of first aid product designed to help speed the body’s healing when it comes to lacerations, minor cuts and scrapes, and even certain surgical incisions. Some even provide immediate pain relief and on-site soothing. Most of the time these are used in conjunction with gauze or other bandages. Their main role is to help protect the wound as it heals, which makes them a little bit different from skin bonding products often used in major surgeries or serious wounds to replace stitches. Gels aren’t usually able to close the skin, but they are able to help protect the injured tissues and deliver fast, easily absorbed medications, cleansing agents, and other nutrients needed in skin regeneration. They can also be beneficial when it comes to cushioning and protecting the area as the body works to regenerate what was lost. There are usually several different types of wound gel on the market in most places. Some, particularly the most mild, are available in pharmacies and chemists, usually near the bandages and first aid supplies. Others, including most with added medication, are more often available only from a physician or hospital.
Basic Concept
People sustain minor skin injuries all the time, and for various different reasons. The body is generally well adapted to healing itself, but this can and often does take a bit of time. For certain wounds, particularly those that are in frequently-used places like the elbows or knees or that are, for reasons of personal activity or lifestyle, unable to be kept still and protected, prompt healing presents more of a challenge. A specially-formulated gel is often really desirable in these circumstances. Its main goal is to provide extra cushioning and protection and to give the body a bit of space and help in order to heal itself.
The first records of using gel on wounds date back to 1750 BC when aloe vera gel, extracted from the aloe plant leaf, was used to treat topical wounds, punctures, burns, and frostbite; aloe vera was even used to treat some chronic wounds caused by diabetic ulcers. Honey has also been a popular folk remedy for minor lacerations for centuries. The gel is still commonly used in many places as a remedy to treat things like sunburn. Modern gels are more often chemically derived and streamlined, and began entering the markets in most places in the mid-1960s. What started as a simple protective jelly has become today a range of different products with medications and topical agents that can help in a variety of different ways.
How and Why it Works
On a basic level, the gel works by cushioning the wound and providing a barrier against external contamination. Many gels also contain a pain-relieving element that can make an injured patient more comfortable. Sometimes gels even contain cooling or warming properties to further soothe a painful injury. Most products also are designed to “debride” or cleanse the wound as well, and generally require a bandage covering after application. Application also usually has the added advantage of facilitating easy bandage removal without damaging the underlying tissue, as can happen with a gauze bandage alone.
Settings and Common Uses
In most cases, wounds can be classified as either “dry” or “wet.” Dry wounds include scabs or scrapes, and are called “dry” because they don’t usually involve much blood or other fluids. While gels can be used on these sorts of injuries, they aren’t always able to do much more than the body is already doing for itself. Gels typically are made of about 50% water and can help release moisture, though, which can be helpful, and can make people more comfortable, too.
Even still, wet wounds are usually where these gels are often thought to be most useful. These are the wounds that are actively bleeding or leaking fluid such as pus. Gels allow for the free passage of water and oxygen and prevent the accumulation of fluid at the wound surface; they also can absorb up to twice their weight in excess fluids as well. This helps restore balance and accelerates cell renewal, resulting in significant improvement in wounds that were difficult to heal before the invention of synthetic gels.
Use at Home
Wound gels used in the home may be applied without prescription to treat minor cuts and abrasions. They usually come in squeezable tubes or aerosol applicators and are typically easy to apply. Once the wound is cleaned, most gels need to be reapplied once or twice a day. A physician should be consulted for more serious wounds. There are many gels available to treat a wide variety of more severe injuries, though many of these have to be ordered or prescribed by a doctor.

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