How Long Should It Take for a Small Wound to Heal?

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Cover cuts and scrapes to keep out harmful bacteria
Cover cuts and scrapes to keep out harmful bacteria (Image: band-aid image by Rick Sargeant from Fotolia.com)

The Wound Healing Process Can Take Months or Years

The healing process goes through three recognized stages, according to the Wound Care Information Network (Reference 1). From the moment of injury the blood starts to clot to seal the wound (the inflammatory phase). Between two days and three weeks after the injury, new collagen and capillaries are formed, and the wound edges pull together (the proliferative phase). For up to two years after the injury, new collagen forms scar tissue and strengthens the wound (the remodeling phase).

Many Factors Affect Healing Speed

Cuts and scrapes should be cleaned, covered and treated with antibiotic cream to encourage the healing process and protect against infection, according to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (Reference 2). Factors that may prolong or complicate the healing process include age and sex hormones, stress, diabetes, obesity, a poor diet (Reference 3), medications and smoking, according to the Center for Wound Healing and Tissue Regeneration at the University of Illinois at Chicago (Reference 4).

Bottom Line

A wound can take anywhere between a couple of months and a couple of years to heal completely. Consider your age, lifestyle, diet, health status, and whether you are taking any medications that may impair healing. Applying the correct first aid immediately following an injury will help healing process and prevent against infection.

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