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Facial Laceration

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 4, 2023.

A facial laceration is a tear or cut in the skin. Facial lacerations may be closed within 24 hours of injury.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have a fever and the wound is painful, warm, or swollen. The wound area may be red, or fluid may come out of it.
  • You have heavy bleeding or bleeding that does not stop after 10 minutes of holding firm, direct pressure over the wound.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your wound reopens or your tape comes off.
  • Your wound is very painful.
  • Your wound is not healing, or you think there is an object in the wound.
  • The skin around your wound stays numb.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Antibiotics may be given to prevent an infection if your wound was deep and had to be cleaned out.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for your wound:

Care for your wound as directed to prevent infection and help it heal. Wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after you care for your wound. You may need to keep the wound dry for the first 24 to 48 hours. When your healthcare provider says it is okay, wash around your wound with soap and water, or as directed. Gently pat the area dry. Do not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean your wound unless you are directed to.

  • Do not take aspirin or NSAIDs for 24 hours after being injured. Aspirin and NSAIDs can increase blood flow. Your laceration may continue to bleed.
  • Do not take hot showers, eat or drink hot foods and liquids for 48 hours after being injured. Also, do not use a heating pad near your laceration. The heat can cause swelling in and around your laceration.
  • If your wound was covered with a bandage, leave your bandage on as long as directed. Bandages keep your wound clean and protected. They can also prevent swelling. Ask when and how to change your bandage. Be careful not to apply the bandage or tape too tightly. This could cut off blood flow and cause more injury.
  • If your wound was closed with stitches, keep your wound clean. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you apply antibiotic ointment after you clean your wound.
  • If your wound was closed with wound tape or medical strips, keep the area clean and dry. The strips will usually fall off on their own after several days.
  • If your wound was closed with tissue glue, do not use any ointments or lotions on the area. You may shower, but do not swim or soak in a bathtub. Gently pat the area dry after you take a shower. Do not pick at or scrub the glue area.

Decrease scarring:

The skin in the area of your wound may turn a different color if it is exposed to direct sunlight. After your wound is healed, use sunscreen over the area when you are out in the sun. You should do this for at least 6 months to 1 year after your injury. Some wounds scar less if they are covered while they heal.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

You may need to follow up with your healthcare provider in 24 to 48 hours to have your wound checked for infection. You may need to return in 3 to 5 days if you have stitches that need to be removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.