Growing up, much of our childhood is spent outdoors, exploring nature and getting exposed to many elements. As we eventually transition to adulthood, the way we interact and learn about our world largely remains the same. Throughout this experience, our body is protected by our largest organ–the skin.
Our skin is found all over our body, covering and protecting our muscles, bones and organs, along with the many networks of nerves and blood vessels (1). This makes our skin essential to our daily survival.
The skin’s main role is to protect our body from injury and harmful external substances we may encounter. In addition to this, our skin regulates our body temperature, gives us our sense of touch, and lets us feel warm and cold (1).
Our skin is our lifelong companion, and taking good care of it is a big step towards taking care of our overall health. However, our skin is not invincible–it can be broken, exposing the body to germs and other external microorganisms that can harm the body (3). Let’s take a closer look at wounds and the healing process.
What makes a wound?
Any break in the skin is a wound. Wounds are not limited to injuries sustained during accidents. Medical procedures and operations where incisions and punctures are made on the skin are also wounds (4).
When the skin is broken, the risk of germs and other harmful external microorganisms entering the body, causing an infection, increases.
Wounds can vary from cuts, scrapes, puncture wounds, burns or pressure sores (3). It is important to know how to address and take care of simple wounds. Of course, the deeper and larger the wound is, the more care it needs and the longer it takes to heal (4).
Stages of wound healing
Once the skin is punctured, it goes through several stages before it is fully healed. To equip yourself with wound healing care tips, get to know each stage here:
- As soon as the skin is broken, the body’s blood vessels work on maintaining its normal state. To reduce blood loss, if any, the blood vessels connected to the wound constrict, and blood platelets gather on the site to form a clot (5).
- Once the clot has formed and sealed the wound, the blood vessels dilate to allow maximum blood flow to the site, causing inflammation. In this process, the body’s white blood cells will clean the site and remove bacteria and other foreign agents that may infect the wound (5).
- New skin tissue is then built on the site of the wound through building new layers of collagen (5).
- The wound contracts and reduces in size as it heals, as surface skin cells cover the wound to form new skin (5).
- Lastly, the wound may or may not form a scar, depending on your skin and the type of injury sustained (5).
Wounds don’t heal overnight, but good wound care can prevent infection and minimise scarring. If you are curious to know more about wound healing and how to tell if a wound is infected, keep reading.
How the body heals our wounds
To aid the body’s healing process, make sure to do the following:
- Keep the wound clean and dry, protected from anything that can further damage or puncture it (4).
- Avoid picking or scratching at the scabs (4).
- Avoid strenuous physical activities, especially if wound site is involved (3).
- See a doctor if you notice any signs of infection such as pus, rapid increase in pain or swelling, the unusual or disagreeable odour coming from the wound, or if you develop a fever (6).
Our body’s capability to heal is connected to how healthy we are, which is why it is important to keep our body in tip-top shape throughout this healing process. Our bodies need vitamins and minerals to heal (5) which is why keeping a healthy diet that consists of plenty of water, vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and high-fibre foods can help boost the immune system and keep it ready for wound healing (5).
Vitamins and minerals for wound healing
Here are some vitamins and minerals that can help with wound healing:
Zinc can be found in the skin. This supports wound healing by contributing to the production of collagen, the most abundant component of our skin (7). Collagen helps with the skin’s structure and integrity (8).
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that has diverse functions when it comes to our skin, such as maintenance and promotion of skin health and elasticity (9). Among its many health benefits include supporting immune system health, which may help improve the body’s response as it goes about wound healing (9).
Our skin can benefit from a vitamin B complex or the B group of vitamins. These support skin health by protecting the skin from irritants (10) and boosting the skin’s moisture (11). Vitamin B-complex also maintains healthy immune system function (12).
Vitamin C is important in a lot of the skin’s functions, like supporting the production of collagen as well as aiding in the healing of minor body tissue injuries (13). Aside from that, Vitamin C also supports healthy immune system function through various cellular functions, improving our body’s response to wound healing (14).
Cranberries are available in fruit and supplement form. They are rich in antioxidants that help reduce free radicals formed in the body (15). They contain the bioactive compound proanthocyanidins, which helps maintain and promote skin health and integrity through supporting collagen formation (16).
You may consider including cranberry in your diet either via food or supplements to support wound healing and skin repair.
The skin’s capability of retaining water is improved through collagen, the most abundant protein in our body (17). Collagen helps maintain the skin’s integrity and structure which is crucial in the wound healing process (17).
Biotin or vitamin B7 is another water-soluble B-vitamin that supports healthy skin by playing an important role in metabolism and regulating the activity of our genes (18). Deficiency in biotin can often lead to skin problems, so boosting your diet with biotin via food sources and supplements may help promote skin health (18).
These vitamins and minerals can conveniently be a part of your daily diet with Vitable vitamins, a monthly vitamin subscription that lets you have your custom multivitamin fill daily. Vitable offers a reliable vitamin delivery service to help you stay healthy in a convenient way. Get your own custom multivitamin packs through Vitable Australia now!
Find out more about other supplements that can support skin health:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
- Stanford Children’s Health Content Team. “Anatomy of the Skin”. Stanford Children’s Health: Stanfordchildrens.Org. Published on https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=anatomy-of-the-skin-85-P01336. Accessed January 17, 2022.
- Choi, J. & Minochi, R. “Skin structure and function”. The Australian College of Dermatologists: Dermcoll.Edu.Au. Published on https://www.dermcoll.edu.au/atoz/skin-structure-function/. Accessed January 17, 2022.
- Medline Plus Content Team. “How wounds heal”. Medline Plus: Medlineplus.Gov. Published May 17, 2020 on https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000741.htm. Accessed January 17, 2022.
- Kids’ Health Content Team. “Wound healing and care”. Kids’ Health: Kidshealth.Org. Published May 2019 https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/wounds.html. Accessed January 17, 2022.
- Better Health Content Team. “Skin cuts and abrasions”. Better Health: Betterhealth.Vic.Gov.Au. Published on https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/skin-cuts-and-abrasions. Accessed January 17, 2022.
- Seattle Children’s Hospital Content Team. “Wound Infection”. Seattle Children’s Hospital: Seattlechildrens.Org. Published on https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/wound-infection/. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Angelo, G. "Minerals and Skin Health”. Oregon State University: Lpi.Oregonstate.Edu. Published January 2013 on https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/minerals. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- National Institutes of Health Content Team. “Office of Dietary Supplements - Zinc”. National Institutes of Health: Ods.Od.Nih.Gov. Published March 26, 2021 on https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Davinelli, S., Nielsen, M., & Scapagnini, G. “Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehensive Review”. US National Library of Medicine: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published April 22, 2018 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946307/. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Better Health Channe Content Teaml. "Vitamin B". Better Health Channel: Betterhealth.Vic.Gov.Au. Published May 14, 2020 on https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/vitamin-b. Accessed on January 18, 2022.
- Tri-City Medical Center Content Team. “B Vitamins: Your Secret to Good Skin Health”. Tri-City Medical Canter: Tricitymed.Org. Published October 1, 2019 on https://www.tricitymed.org/2018/08/b-vitamins-secret-good-skin-health/. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Maggini, S., Pierre, A., & Calder, P. “Immune Function and Micronutrient Requirements Change over the Life Course”. US National Library of Medicine: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published October 17, 2018 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6212925/. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Pullar, J., Carr, A., & Vissers, M. “The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health”. National Library of Medicine: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published August 12, 2017 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Carr, A., & Maggini, S. “Vitamin C and Immune Function”. National Library of Medicine: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published November 3, 2017 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Blumberg, J. B., Camesano, T. A., Cassidy, A., Kris-Etherton, P., Howell, A., Manach, C., Ostertag, L. M., Sies, H., Skulas-Ray, A., & Vita, J. A. “Cranberries and Their Bioactive Constituents in Human Health”. National Library of Medicine: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published November 6, 2013 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3823508/. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Hemmati, A. A., Foroozan, M., Houshmand, G., Moosavi, Z. B., Bahadoram, M., & Maram, N. S. “The Topical Effect of Grape Seed Extract 2% Cream on Surgery Wound Healing”. National Library of Medicine: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published October 28, 2014 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4802053/. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Bolke, L., Schlippe, G., Gerß, J., & Voss, W. “A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study”. National Library of Medicine: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published October 17, 2019 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835901/. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Content Team. “Biotin – Vitamin B7”. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Hsph.Harvard.Edu. Published July 24, 2019 on https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/biotin-vitamin-b7/. Accessed January 18, 2022.