How Does Alcohol Affect Wound Healing and Scarring?  | Biodermis

How Does Alcohol Affect Wound Healing and Scarring? |

In relation to wound healing and the scarring process, there are two ways alcohol can negatively impact the way your body heals after surgery or injury. The first is to use rubbing alcohol to clean wounds in an attempt to prevent them from becoming infected. However, this can damage tissue and do more harm than good. The second is by drinking alcohol excessively, which can inhibit the body’s immune system and wound healing response. The best way to avoid scarring after a wound is to avoid alcohol altogether. If you must drink, the best practice is to drink moderately to avoid any complications with the healing process and to avoid the formation of abnormal scar types. Luckily, if you do happy to acquire a scar that you are unhappy with, there are scar therapy products that can be purchased online or through your physician.

Continue reading to learn how alcohol affects wound healing and scarring and what you can do to help manage your scars.

Alcohol and wound healing
Most health concerns associated with drinking alcohol occur with heavy drinkers over the course of many years. This is not to say that it’s safe or healthy to drink heavily once in a while—moderation is important when it comes to your wellbeing. But aside from the fact that drinking alcohol increases the likelihood that you will injury yourself (a large number of trauma injuries are alcohol related), drinking is also known to affect the immune system and slow down wound healing. Wounds attained from car accidents, dog bites, fires, etc. are much slower to heal in binge drinkers than in moderate drinkers. Binge drinking also increases the chance of acquiring surgical-site infections after a medical procedure. Wound infections can be serious if they aren’t treated immediately with antibiotics, and patients with infections tend to stay in the hospital for longer periods of time.

Another aspect of alcohol that can affect wound healing is the application of rubbing alcohol directly to the wound site. Alcohol, along with hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds, has been used for decades by mothers wanting to disinfect their child’s cuts and scrapes. These products, while good at disinfecting, are too harsh to be used on wounds and can cause damage to skin tissue. Rather than helping wounds heal, alcohol can cause pain and irritation and slow down the healing process. Instead, dirt and germs can be removed from a wound with running water and by using a gentle soap or cleanser. After the wound has been cleaned, you can apply an antibacterial ointment or cream and cover it with a bandage. Exercising proper wound care techniques can reduce scarring and the risk of complications.

Post-operative scar therapy
Alcohol-induced injuries can often lead to scarring later in life. This is especially true of long-time binge drinkers who develop cirrhosis—a condition of the liver that replaces healthy tissue with scar tissue caused by chronic liver damage. While internal scarring of the liver cannot be cured, there are ways to mitigate scarring that develops in response to wounds on the face or body.

Medical grade silicone gel for scars is the only clinically-proven topical therapy for post-surgical scar treatment that is currently available to patients and physicians. For more than 30 years, topical silicone has been used as the first line of defense against hypertrophic and keloid scars. Silicone gel works simply and effectively through the mechanisms of dermal hydration and oxygen, creating the perfect balance (homeostasis) that allows scars to blend in with the surrounding skin tissue. With many options to choose from, like silicone sheets, sticks, and ointment, treating your post-operative scars has never been easier.

Biodermis is an innovative market leader with 30 years of expertise in the medical silicone industry. Visit today to explore a complete range of scar management and post-operative care solutions.

Biodermis offers custom tailored referral programs designed to simplify and reduce the cost of your patients' post-op care. Additionally, we offer professional pricing if you opt to retail our products. Give us a call at 800.322.3729, and we will be happy to provide additional details on these programs.