The Importance of Collagen in Open Wound Treatment
The human body has an amazing natural ability to heal itself. But, in the case of open wound treatment, sometimes it needs a little extra help. There are treatments and supplements that can help close wounds faster, prevent infection, and return your body to a healthy state.
One such supplement is collagen.
Perhaps you’ve heard the buzz around collagen for wound healing. And specifically, how collagen helps with open wound healing.
Even if you weren’t aware of the benefits of collagen for wounds, by the end of this article, you’ll understand some key points surrounding open wound treatment and collagen, including that:
Collagen is a key building block in the wound healing process, playing front and center in numerous bodily functions.
We have the ability to speed up recovery times by fueling our body with the tools it needs to heal wounds.
- Not all open wounds are created equal. Thus they each require a slightly different treatment approach.
But before we dive into the role of collagen in open wound treatment, let’s discuss what constitutes an open wound.
What is an open wound?
Understanding open wounds will help to paint the picture of how collagen plays a role in wound care solutions.
Open wounds are injuries that involve an external break in body tissue and/or the skin. This break leaves internal tissue exposed, hampering our skin's ability to protect the organs, tissues, and other structures inside the body.
We’ve all suffered cuts, falls, and/or accidents with sharp objects while growing up. Most likely, these injuries were treated at home using natural remedies and household products like bandaids.
This is the case with most open wounds, as they’re not severe enough to garner a need for professional medical intervention.
However, if you or someone close suffers a severe accident containing lots of bleeding and internal exposure, you should seek immediate medical care. Your skin is your first and most robust barrier of defense against infections, so it’s important to ensure proper wound care.
So let’s discuss the various types of open wounds and how their treatment varies.
Different types of open wounds
Understanding the different types of open wounds is crucial for effective treatment and healing. Here are some of the common types of open wounds:
An abrasion is an open wound caused by skin rubbing or scraping against a rough or hard surface.
Abrasions are the most common types of wounds needing open wound treatment, often happening to the elbows, knees, shins, and ankles.
The common denominator amongst all these body parts is that they are often the first part of our body to make contact with the ground during a fall or collision. They are also only protected by a very thin layer of muscle between the skin.
Although painful, you can treat most abrasions at home. If you’re unsure how to treat an open wound, there is significant bleeding, or there is obvious contamination of the area, then you should seek medical attention.
Laceration wounds are caused by blunt force impact, causing a split or tear in the skin, mucus membranes, or internal organs. Unlike abrasions, none of the skin is missing. The blunt force is usually caused by sharp objects like glass, knives, or machinery.
Because lacerations can be deep, bleeding can be extensive.
Treatment for lacerations includes stopping the bleeding, cleaning the wound, dressing the wound, and applying stitches to deeper cuts.
Stitches may be required when:
- A cut is more than half an inch deep.
- Muscle, bone, and/or fatty tissue is exposed.
- The laceration is still bleeding after 10 minutes.
Note: Licensed professionals should always perform stitching.
A puncture is a small hole caused by a long, pointy object. Compared to lacerations, puncture wounds are more likely to extend into deeper tissue areas depending on the length of the pointy object and/or the force applied when breaking the skin.
Another difference is that punctures are less likely to bleed as much, however, they can cause damage to internal organs layered below the skin and muscles.
Because of this, punctures may be more difficult to treat properly because you can’t always see all of the affected areas to determine the damage or cleanliness.
Punctures are usually caused by long pointy objects like needles, nails, animal teeth, knives, and even bullets.
Exposure to animal bites and rusty metal leaves puncture wounds at heightened risk of bacterial and viral infection if not properly addressed by an open wound treatment specialist. Medical professionals know how to treat an open wound, and have the proper tools to ensure you won’t end up with an infection.
Avulsions are a particularly painful open wound, caused by a partial or complete tearing away of at least three layers of skin and tissue. These wounds are more serious and extensive, mostly caused by traffic and heavy machinery accidents.
Layers of skin are often removed or lost, necessitating skin grafting as a part of the open wound treatment and reconstruction process. Treatment of avulsions should always be seen by a medical professional.
Burns are caused by overexposure to heat, radiation, or electrical or chemical agents. Burn wounds have three classifications: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree.
First-degree wounds are usually easily treated at home, but second and third-degree burns will most likely require careful medical assistance to prevent infection and excess scarring.
Without proper treatment, serious burn wounds can pose a hazard to your health.
The dangers of an open wound
The main long-term complication of an open wound is infection. This is why some open wound treatments cannot be administered at home, and may require medical intervention to prevent long-term complications.
Some signs of a wound not healing due to infection include:
- An increase in drainage
- Increased redness around the wound
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Thick, discolored pus
- A foul odor
- A fever of over 100.4 ° F (38°C)
Most open wounds become infected within 72 hours if not properly treated. Some common infections to look out for include:
Staphylococcus (staph infections)
Most of us have heard of staph infections, but many don’t know that staphylococcus bacteria naturally makes up approximately 30% of the population on our skin flora.
Staph Aureus can begin to dominate the skin flora, especially after trauma or surgery, when the bacteria is allowed to break through the skin barrier.
Staph infections that penetrate the skin evolve into boils, carbuncles (a collection of boils), and even deep abscesses full of pus. They can even be life-threatening if they make it into the bloodstream, bones, or internal organs.
Tetanus, commonly called lockjaw, is a life-threatening bacterial disease that affects the nervous system. Most people contract it through cuts or open wounds that become infected with the tetanus bacteria. Spores from the bacteria can enter through pathways as tiny as scratches.
The tetanus bacteria produces a toxin called Tetanospasmin that causes severe muscle spasms, particularly in the jaw area - thus its nickname. In extreme cases, this neurotoxin can lead to death by suffocation as the person cannot open their mouth or swallow.
Luckily, tetanus is a vaccine-preventable disease, as vaccines have nearly eradicated tetanus in the United States. The CDC recommends that adults get a tetanus booster shot every 10 years.
Cellulitis is a common bacterial infection caused when bacteria enters a wound or area where there is no skin. The affected skin becomes inflamed, swollen, and painful to the touch.
If not treated properly, cellulitis can persist and impede proper healing of the wound site.
The last dangerous bacterial infection we’ll look into is necrotizing fasciitis. This rare bacterial infection kills soft tissue, developing suddenly and spreading rapidly. It can lead to sepsis, toxic shock syndrome, organ failure, and death.
Surgery may be required to remove infected tissue and sometimes surrounding tissue if not treated quickly with effective open wound treatment methods.
Clearly, bacterial infections are a serious matter, so it’s important to know how to treat an open wound as quickly and efficiently as possible.
One great way to do that is with collagen.
Why collagen helps wound healing
Collagen plays a vital role in open wound treatment, as it acts as a scaffold in connective tissue. In fact, it's the main building block when it comes to the creation of new body tissues.
Collagen in open wound treatment attracts fibroblasts and encourages new collagen deposition to the wound bed. This helps your body’s natural healing process work more quickly.
There are many effective medical uses for collagen protein because collagen has all the necessary properties to aid in the open wound treatment process.
Collagen for open wounds is a non-toxic, natural material that our bodies already create. Because of this, it is recognized by our cells - which means there’s a very low risk of an inflammatory response.
Moreover, collagen supports clotting and wound contraction. The body needs protein to multiply cells, repair damaged cells, and synthesize healing - which make collagen crucial in all four stages of wound healing.
Collagen in the four wound healing stages
The four stages in the wound healing process include: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling.
During hemostasis, collagen mediates by maintaining the integrity and stability of the vascular wall.
In the second stage, glycine in collagen helps fight inflammation and has immune-system supporting effects.
During the proliferation phase, collagen fibrils are sent to the wound site to build new tissue and repair broken blood vessels.
Lastly, during the remodeling phase, your body will remodel the newly placed collagen fibrils to smooth and strengthen the scar tissue.
As you can see, collagen is a vital component of the wound healing process, and getting enough of it in your diet is important when you have an open wound.
So you may be wondering how much collagen for open wounds you should be getting, and in what form. Let’s take a look at some of the ways collagen can be used in open wound treatment.
How collagen is used in open wound treatment
There are a number of different ways that collagen can be used in open wound treatment, including collagen dressings, topical collagen, and collagen supplementation.
Collagen dressings are sheets, pads, and gels made from collagen. They can help the wound heal by keeping the area moist, fending off infection, and supplying the area with ample collagen during open wound treatment.
Topical collagen can be just as effective in wound closure as non-absorbable sutures.
Because collagen for wounds plays a pivotal role in this process, externally applied collagen may help stop bleeding, recruit immune/skin cells, and stimulate new blood vessel formation.
Oral collagen supplements
When it comes to healing (and most other benefits of collagen), topical collagen for wounds doesn’t quite stack up to oral collagen supplements. That’s because you can fully digest and absorb oral supplements to send the collagen proteins exactly where they need to go.
Taking liquid protein for wound healing ensures that you have ample internal stores of collagen protein to take on the wound healing process as swiftly as possible. Topical collagen, on the other hand, doesn’t usually get fully absorbed through your skin barrier, so you won’t reap all the benefits.
A study of burn victims found that a hydrolyzed collagen-based supplement could significantly improve wound healing and greatly reduce the length of hospital stays in patients.
So it’s obvious that collagen can help with wound healing, but what is the best kind of collagen supplement to take?
The best collagen for open wound treatment
The best collagen supplements for open wound treatment are hydrolyzed or nano-hydrolyzed collagen supplements - also referred to as collagen peptides. This means the collagen protein has been broken down into smaller particles that are easier for your body to absorb.
Consuming hydrolyzed collagen as an oral supplement can help give your body more access to the collagen it needs during open wound treatment. Better yet, look for a medical-grade collagen supplement that is FDA approved and trusted for use in medical facilities.
When it comes to collagen for open wound treatment, we strongly recommend the powder or liquid collagen products from ProT Gold. ProT Gold medical-grade collagen is nano-hydrolyzed, so you can achieve full absorption in just 15 minutes or less.
ProT Gold has been chosen for use in medical nutrition by thousands of medical facilities in the United States, and taking this simple supplement could make all the difference in your open wound treatment.