How to Treat Minor Wounds

You can treat skin wounds such as burns and minor cuts on your own with the right products; to do so, read our tips and make sure your first-aid kit contains all the items mentioned below. 

What to do in case of minor injuries and what products to keep handy?

Always start by washing your hands with a mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water (or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer).

How to Treat Minor Burns and Protect the Skin

Minor Wounds

What you’ll need:

  • Compresses
  • Non-stick sterile gauze pads
  • Bandages
  • Aloe vera cream
  • Calamine lotion
  • Moisturizing sunscreen lotion
  1. Place the burned area in cool water (or hold under running tap water) or cover with wet compresses until pain subsides (10 to 20 minutes). Remove any jewellery or clothing near the wound. 

    Tip: You should never use cool water or ice to cool a burn, as it could damage skin tissue. 
  2. Once the burn has been cooled completely and the skin is washed, apply an aloe vera cream to moisturize the skin and ease the pain (except on blisters). You can also use calamine lotion to relieve itching. 

    Tip: You should never put ointment, butter, oil, or toothpaste on a burn, as this slows the skin cooling process and worsens the pain. 
  3. Without applying pressure, if needed, cover the burn with a bandage or a non-stick sterile gauze. Avoid bursting blisters, as they help to protect the skin during the healing process. 
  4. Take a pain reliever, e.g., Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, if pain persists. Avoid using aspirin for burns as it may delay healing.
  5. While the wound heals, and in the weeks afterwards, always protect your skin from the sun by wearing long clothing or by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. 

How to Treat Cuts, Scrapes, and Other Skin Wounds

Minor Wounds

What you’ll need:

  • Sterile compresses
  • Tweezers
  • Gentle soap
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandages
  • Wound closure strips
  1. To stop the bleeding, apply pressure on the wound with compresses or with a clean cloth for at least 5 minutes.

    Tip: If the wound is on a leg or arm, elevate the injured limb above the level of the heart, to reduce blood flow and ease the pain.
  2. Thoroughly clean the wound under cool, running water for several minutes.
    • If there is still debris in the wound after rinsing, use tweezers to remove it. 
    • If there is a flap of skin hanging from the wound, don’t tear it off. Instead, use tweezers to reposition the skin over the wound. 

    Tip 1: You should never put ointment, butter, oil, or toothpaste on a burn, as this slows the skin cooling process and worsens the pain.

    Tip 2: Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are irritants and do not promote wound healing. Use rubbing alcohol only to disinfect instruments, like tweezers.

    Clean dirty skin around the wound with water and a gentle, fragrance-free soap, then pat dry.

    NOTE: Steps 1 and 2 can be done in reverse order.

  3. Apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment on the wound to keep it moist and prevent it from sticking to the bandage. 
  4. Cover the wound with an adhesive bandage. Change the bandage if it becomes wet or dirty. Otherwise, change periodically (2-3 days). For cuts, use wound closure strips.

When to Seek Medical Care

Consult a professional for these types of injuries:

  • Wound that is still dirty even after thorough cleaning 
  • Wound that continues to bleed even after applying pressure for 5 minutes 
  • Wound caused by a bite (animal or human) 
  • Wound caused by a dirty object puncturing the skin, e.g., a nail 
  • Deep cut with irregular edges or that can’t be held together with a bandage 
  • Tick bites 
  • First-degree burn on more than 10% of the body (adult) or 5% of the body (child) 
  • Second-degree burn on a surface greater than the size of the palm of the hand
  • Third-degree burn
  • Burn caused by fire, an electric shock, or a chemical product 
  • Burn to the face, hands, feet, or genitals, or near a joint (shoulder or knee)
Tip: Determining the severity of a burn
 Skin Colour Skin TemperatureSwollen SkinDegree of PainBlisters
1st Degree RedHotSometimesIntenseNone
2nd Degree Very RedHotYesVery IntenseForm immediately or within hours
3rd DegreeBlackened, white, or bright red with a leathery appearanceNot ApplicableSometimesNo pain, as the nerves have been damagedNone

Ask our pharmacists to help you determine whether a wound requires medical care or if it can be treated at home. They will help you choose the right first-aid products.