Skip to Content

Minor Cuts Are Simple to Treat

SUNDAY, July 15, 2018 -- There's no need to panic if you cut yourself with a knife or broken glass, one dermatologist says, since most cuts can be treated at home.

"The most important thing to do is to gently wash the cut to prevent an infection," said Dr. Laura Ferris, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

"Beyond that, most minor cuts and scrapes stop bleeding and heal quickly with a few simple steps," she added in an American Academy of Dermatology news release.

Ferris offers the following advice:

First, wash your hands with soap and water. Then gently wash the cut, using cool or lukewarm water and a mild soap or cleanser to gently remove dirt or debris.

Next, use a clean washcloth or gauze to apply pressure to the cut to stop the bleeding. Maintain the pressure for one to two minutes or until the bleeding stops.

Apply petroleum jelly to help keep the wound moist for faster healing, and continue applying it until the cut heals. Using petroleum jelly from a tube instead of a jar will reduce the risk of dirt contamination and possible infection. Do not apply antibiotics to the cut.

Cover the cut with a sterile bandage to protect it and prevent it from reopening. Change the bandage daily, and keep the cut covered until it heals.

An over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), can help relieve pain.

If your cut was caused by a dirty or rusty item, make sure your tetanus vaccination is up to date. If you're not sure, contact your primary care doctor.

"Most minor cuts heal in one week or less; however, if your cut is longer than three-fourths of an inch, more than a quarter-inch deep, or won't stop bleeding, seek immediate medical attention," Ferris said.

"As your cut heals, if you notice any signs of an infection -- such as pus or increased redness, swelling or pain -- call your primary care doctor or a board-certified dermatologist," she added.

© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2018

Read this next

How to Care for Your Skin During Radiation Therapy

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21, 2020 -- Proper skin care is crucial for cancer patients receiving radiation therapy, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says. Itchiness, redness,...

A Guide to Acne Care for People of Color

SATURDAY, Sept. 19, 2020 -- Dealing with acne can be especially difficult for people of color, a skin expert says. Acne affects up to 50 million people in the United States each...

Frequent Hand-Washing Tough on Those With Eczema

FRIDAY, Aug. 21, 2020 -- Hand-washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses, but for people with skin conditions like eczema, lathering up...