Preventing Skin Damage – Bruises and Scratches

Bruises develop when capillaries near the skin’s surface are broken, due to the impact of an injury. When this happens, blood leaks out of these capillaries and causes a red, purple or black mark. Think of it as bleeding under the skin. With time, our bodies reabsorb the blood and the mark fades.
Preventing Skin Damage – Bruises and Scratches
Bruising becomes more common as we get older, because our capillaries start ageing and their walls become more fragile and prone to rupture. As our skin becomes thinner due to less collagen production, there is less cushioning and protection around the blood vessels and they become more susceptible to injury.

It’s also interesting to note that bruising is more prevalent in people with a vitamin C deficiency. If a bruise is accompanied by extreme pain and swelling, or hasn’t improved after two weeks, it’s recommended that you visit a doctor for advice.
  • The best way to treat a bruise is with an icepack applied to the area for 20-30 minutes, which will help to reduce the swelling and speed up the healing process. No ice pack? No problem. A bag of frozen peas works just as well. Never apply dry ice or an icepack directly to the skin – wrap them in a dishtowel as this will protect the skin from ice burn which can be painful and damaging to your skin.
  • If the bruise does not have an accompanying scratch, there is no risk of infection. If however, a bruise is the result of a fall that has broken the skin, it’s essential that it’s cared for correctly. Follow these steps to ensure you protect your wound the right way:

    • Stop any bleeding by applying pressure to the wound.

    • Clean the wound or scratch with a little disinfectant mixed with water.

    • Remove any dirt from the wound with a cotton cloth.

    • Apply an anti-bacterial product such as Vaseline petroleum jelly GermSafe to the wound to protect it from any germs. It has excellent anti-bacterial properties and keeps 99.9% of germs out, whilst still locking in moisture. Also, by regularly applying it to the cut or wound, you’ll diminish scarring.

    • Cover the wound or scratch with a plaster.