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How to Remove Dead Skin From a Wound

Updated February 21, 2017

Removing dead skin or dead tissue from a wound is part of the process of cleaning it, and is absolutely vital in order for the wound to heal. Cleansing a wound of dead skin or necrotic tissue, while necessary, can be difficult, because you want to remove the dead skin and other debris from the wound with an appropriate pressure, yet at the same time not disrupt the healing tissue. Saline is a common, effective and inexpensive solution for this process.

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  1. Extract the sterile saline solution entirely into the syringe. Discharge the contents directly onto the wound. Repeat until all visible necrotic tissue is gone.

  2. Dab an amount of antimicrobial gel directly onto a gauze pad that is approximately the same size as the wound. The antimicrobial gel will prevent the wound from getting infected as it heals, and kill any infectious material already in the wound. Firmly but gently, place the gauze and antimicrobial solution on the wound. Tape into place.

  3. Change the gauze pad two to three times a day, providing the wound with a fresh microbial application each time. Each time you remove the gauze to put on a fresh pad, do so very gently as there is a risk of damage to the healing tissue encircling the wound.

  4. Tip

    For bigger, deeper wounds with a great deal of necrotic tissue, a sterile whirlpool might be needed.


    Wear protective goggles when treating another person's wound if there is danger of being splashed by droplets of their bodily fluid. Wear protective gloves when treating any wound, particularly another person's wound, if at all possible. If not, use layers of sterile cloth, plastic bags, or the most hygienic material available to prevent your hand from coming in contact with the wound.

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Things You'll Need

  • Sterile saline solution
  • 60cc catheter tip syringe
  • Antimicrobial gel
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Paper medical tape

About the Author

Lane Cummings

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."

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