Luckily there is a variety of gels and ointments that speed healing, reduce pain, and prevent infection.
While many products exist, several stand out among the crowd for their ability to treat and soothe even the most stubborn injuries.
Iodosorb Gel for Open Wounds
Iodosorb is an advanced wound care gel used to treat open wounds, stalled wounds, and infected wounds.
The gel design provides an excellent wound healing environment while slowly releasing antibacterial iodine into the wound bed.
Iodine concentrations at the wound site suppress bacterial populations, including antibiotic resistant strains like MRSA, while leaving the body’s cells unaffected.
For more information, read our review of Iodosorb Gel.
For an alternative to Iodosorb Gel, see Medihoney Gel below.
Medihoney Gel for Open Wounds
Honey has been used in wound care for thousands of years to prevent infection and speed the healing process.
Medihoney gel works similarly to Iodosorb gel by keeping the wound bed moist and slow releasing an antibacterial agent into the wound site.
In this case, however, the antibacterial agents are hydrogen peroxide and methylglyoxyl instead of iodine.
Most normal honey has varying levels of hydrogen peroxide, but Medihoney specifically uses Manuka honey, which also contains methylglyoxyl. This helps it to fight a wider range of bacteria strains.
Visit our complete review of Medihoney Gel for more information.
B&W Ointment for Burns and Open Wounds
Burns and Wounds (B&W) Ointment is a honey-based dressing used as an alternative burn treatment in Amish communities.
A range of anti-pain and anti-inflammatory ingredients, including aloe, is mixed with honey and beeswax to provide fast relief from minor to medium burns.
Although it has not been tested extensively, several scientific studies showed it to be an effective burn treatment. B&W Ointment should not be used on third degree burns unless hospital care is not available.
I have also used this product personally with good results, read here about my experience with B&W Ointment.
Traumeel Wound Healing Ointment for Swelling
Traumeel helps heal soft tissue wounds that do not break the skin, such as bruises, swelling, and joint injuries.
It has been around for over half a century as a treatment method, and its efficacy is well supported by scientific research.
To read more about Traumeel and its benefits, visit our full article: Traumeel Ointment for Pain Relief.
Penetrex Wound Healing Cream
One of the most popular creams I have found is Penetrex. The company claims that it is a miracle cure for everything from chronic pain to inflammation to osteoarthritis, and it seems that everyone who uses it feels the same way.
As with all “miracle cures” I was justifiably skeptical, so I bought a jar for my mother who has osteoarthritis in her hands. She has tried some other treatments; and none of them worked; so it is pretty stubborn chronic pain.
She applied it to her hands twice daily for 6 weeks. She did notice some gradual lessening of the pain, but certainly not as dramatic as the praise in the reviews would have you believe.
Although the pain did not magically go away, we are talking about chronic osteoarthritis, so any improvement is surprising. For less stubborn pain and inflammation Penetrex may well work as quickly as they say, but I'm still skeptical.
The active ingredients in Penetrex are all linked to beneficial effects on inflammation, pain, and specifically osteoarthritis. Glycerol opens up the skin so that the active ingredients can penetrate. Below are the active ingredients and their linked benefits:
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) - Used to treat osteoarthritis as a food supplement. Natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory .
- Vitamin B6 - Vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with chronic inflammation conditions .
- Boswellia Serrata - An herb from India used to treat osteoarthritis and inflammation .
- Cetyl Myristoleate - Used to treat osteoarthritis as an alternative to NSAIDs .
It should be noted that all of these ingredients were ingested in the studies, and the benefits were measured after 6 to 8 weeks, not after several hours.
Which Product is Best For Me?
- For internal injuries that don't break the skin, like bruises and swelling, Traumeel Ointment is the best option for quick healing and pain relief.
- For infected wounds, ulcers, slow-healing wounds, or cuts and scrapes in general, use Iodosorb Gel or Medihoney Gel. Both suppress bacteria and speed the healing process. If you cannot use iodine for health reasons, Medihoney is a great Iodosorb alternative.
- For first and second degree burns, B&W Ointment provides an effective alternative to hospital treatment.
- For chronic pain, inflammation, or arthritis, Penetrex will take the pain away and decrease inflammation.
- Traumeel Ointment Product Guide
- Medihoney Gel Case Studies
- Wound Dressing Guide
- Burn Clinical Practice Guideline
- Usha, P. R., and M. U. R. Naidu. "Randomised, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled study of oral glucosamine, methylsulfonylmethane and their combination in osteoarthritis." Clinical drug investigation 24.6 (2004): 353-363.
- Shen, Jian, et al. "Association of vitamin B-6 status with inflammation, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammatory conditions: the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study–." The American journal of clinical nutrition 91.2 (2009): 337-342.
- Kimmatkar, N., et al. "Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee–a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial." Phytomedicine 10.1 (2003): 3-7.
- Hesslink, Robert, et al. "Cetylated fatty acids improve knee function in patients with osteoarthritis." The Journal of rheumatology 29.8 (2002): 1708-1712.