Hydrogen Peroxide on Open Wounds

Hydrogen Peroxide on Open Wounds

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I know that H2O2 is a chemical with high oxidative potential. It can deliver nascent oxygen which can destroy bacteria.

I understand that open wounds have cells that are dividing at a fast rate to effect healing. Is it good to add a substance that can cause damage to cell membrane and possibly cause mutation in the DNA of these fast growing tissues?

Can H2O2 be safely used to sterilize wounds?

There will be few rapidly-dividing cells in a fresh wound (which is the wound to which H2O2 is applied). In general, it is a good idea to avoid applying irritants to rapidly dividing tissue.

Hydrogen peroxide is a weak mutagen. It is produced in many body tissues, ingested in drinks, produced by mouth bacteria, etc. It may well cause some cancers. Some OSHA-mandated literature does warn that it is a mutagen and must be handled with care, but these are warnings to people who work with concentrated solutions.

However, a relatively weak hydrogen peroxide solution, even if it is mutagenic, would need to be left in place and active (or renewed) for a long period of time to produce skin cancer. As it has been a staple of first aid kits for decades, and this association has never been made clinically, my best guess is that the benefit (as a bacterocidal agent) far outweighs the risk in the treatment of minor wounds. As in all things, however, prudence is advised. (I myself don't use it because soap and a lot of water is quite effective. Nor is it used in the care of wounds in Emergency Rooms where it is considered to be detrimental to wound healing. If I were in a country where clean water and soap were in short supply, I might well use it if necessary.)

Because it is an irritant (and many irritants can be considered mutagenic), it is actually used to treat precancerous skin lesions, the finding being that it affects the more rapidly dividing pre-cancerous cells than the rest of the epithelium.

Far more potent peroxides have been used topically, which may increase the risk of skin cancer.

Interestingly, one of the responses of skin cells to H2O2 is the generation of an oxygenase to fight the effects.

Topical sulindac combined with hydrogen peroxide in the treatment of actinic keratoses
Effects of Peroxides on Rodent Skin: Epidermal Hyperplasia and Tumor Promotion
Heme oxygenase is the major 32-kDa stress protein induced in human skin fibroblasts by UVA radiation, hydrogen peroxide, and sodium arsenite
Recent Advances in Wound Care, Michael K. Abraham, MD, MS, and Jason S. Oh, MD

Hydrogen Peroxide: A Potential Wound Therapeutic Target?

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a topical antiseptic used in wound cleaning which kills pathogens through oxidation burst and local oxygen production. H2O2 has been reported to be a reactive biochemical molecule synthesized by various cells that influences biological behavior through multiple mechanisms: alterations of membrane potential, generation of new molecules, and changing intracellular redox balance, which results in activation or inactivation of different signaling transduction pathways. Contrary to the traditional viewpoint that H2O2 probably impairs tissue through its high oxidative property, a proper level of H2O2 is considered an important requirement for normal wound healing. Although the present clinical use of H2O2 is still limited to the elimination of microbial contamination and sometimes hemostasis, better understanding towards the sterilization ability and cell behavior regulatory function of H2O2 within wounds will enhance the potential to exogenously augment and manipulate healing.

Keywords: Hydrogen peroxide Therapeutic target Wound healing.


The roles of hydrogen peroxide…

The roles of hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2 ) in wound healing…

Debunking Myths of Wound Care

There are a variety of old wives’ tales when it comes to wound care. Whether it is a medical blog advocating leaving your injury uncovered at night or an old generational family remedy that insists peanut butter can prevent wound infection, erroneous healing claims can be found everywhere. To avoid getting caught up in all this hoopla, here are a few popular wound care myths to be aware of, and what the recommended sources of treatment actually are:

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the more controversial sources of wound antiseptics, mainly because its effectiveness in usage continues to be debated today. It’s also still one of the most commonly used solutions for wound irrigation and trying to rid fresh injuries of infection. However, more studies continue to accumulate indicating that hydrogen peroxide is not only ineffective when it comes to aiding overall wound healing stages, but can also slow down the entire process. The bubbling on the wound surface common when hydrogen peroxide is applied is believed by many to be caused by the solution attacking bacteria within the lesion, when in fact it’s also damaging your own cells in the process. Simply using a safer solution, such as saline, can provide moisture and help cleanse an injury without risk of cell damage.


Another commonly used source for cleaning wounds is rubbing alcohol. While it is true that alcohol can work to minimize germ activity within the wound surface, it will also burn your skin immediately. Skin cells can be damaged when put in contact with rubbing alcohol and swelling or itching that results might be misread as inflammatory symptoms. Your first choice for cleaning a wound should be through rubbing water over the injury to initially minimize infection. If excess debris is visible, contact your clinician.


It’s easy to see how people may misinterpret the formation of a scab as a healthy sign of wound healing. Once the injury is crusted over eliminating access to open air, thinking that the job is done is conceivable. However, this progression of hardened fluid and debris formulating over your cut or scrape actually interferes with the entire healing process, ridding the injured area of essential moisture and leaving it more susceptible to infection. Keeping the wound moist by using appropriate types and levels of ointment or cream will help maintain a balanced level of hydration for the injury and work to avoid scabbing over, which usually results in scarring. If a scab does form, do not pick at it, because you are likely to then develop a wound infection.


Experiencing sensations of itching can mean a lot of things, such as an allergic reaction to a wound dressing or antibiotic ointment, rather than being a natural part of the wound healing process. If itching continues to worsen in severity or fails to go away after a few weeks, it’s definitely time to see a clinician to determine whether an infection has developed. Even if the itching is caused by inflammation, better safe than sorry when it comes to avoiding long-term health ailments.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.

Please note: blog posts are rarely updated after the original post. Because the medical industry is ever changing please make certain to reference the current product list as well as up-to-date industry information when considering product selection or treatment. Always consult a physician to discuss specific concerns or questions related to your health.

Applying to Wounds

Just like the way ancient humans used honey, scientists have primarily focused on using honey to treat wounds. “There is a lot of scientific evidence that shows that honey allows complex wounds to heal,” says Edwar Fuentes Pérez, a biochemist at the University of Chile.

This is good news, because bacteria can run amok in complex wounds like ulcers. Carter says these wounds are more likely to have multiple bacterial strains living together inside something called a biofilm, which is a self-produced matrix of bacterial slime. These types of wounds require strong topical antibiotics to treat. Researchers are finding that honey is one of the best options.

“Most antibiotics will slow down wound healing, and they will cause cellular damage as well, whereas honey seems to actually kill the bacteria and promote healing,” says Carter.

As for smaller, run-of-the mill cuts? Carter says honey still has an advantage over things like Neosporin and hydrogen peroxide spray. Neosporin has three antibiotics, so it’s effective against a range of bacteria — but not if the bacteria are resistant to one or more of the antibiotics. And hydrogen peroxide on its own (not within honey) can damage tissues while killing bacteria.

“Honey has none of these issues — you can use it as much as you like without any side-effects,” Carter says. She uses honey herself, most recently after a small procedure on her face. But, before you do the same, Carter emphasizes buying medical-grade honey, since it has been sterilized and is FDA-approved.

Also, there’s less evidence from studies to show consuming honey has antibacterial effects within the body, Carter says. This means the jury is still out on whether the honey in your tea is capable of doing anything more than soothing a sore throat.

The Problem With Hydrogen Peroxide: Why You Shouldn’t Use It For Wound Care

Kids have a knack for scraping their knees and collecting cuts, and in the first step of defense against infection parents tend to reach for a brown bottle in the medicine cabinet. Hydrogen peroxide is the antiseptic known for the bubbles and fizzes it produces as it hits the surface of an open wound. But on a microscopic level — what is it really doing?The guys over at SciShow break down the science for viewers. Peroxide kills bacteria by attracting the electrons out of cells, which rips the membranes opened. The fizzing is a reaction occurs when peroxide comes in contact with catalase, which forms water and oxygen gas. But as it rips open bacteria membranes, it also attacks healthy cells that are also packed with catalase.Hydrogen peroxide is too good at scrubbing a knee scrape clean, but because it also destroys healthy cells in their wake, even the cells that are trying to keep the wound clean in the first place. A simple soap and water cleanse should do the trick, and if it’s more serious a visit to the doctor may be in order.For more insight into the inner workings of hydrogen peroxide’s fizzing and stingy, watch the video for a scientific breakdown. Youtube

Hydrogen peroxide is the brown-bottled antiseptic parents reach for every time their child falls and scrapes their knees. It bubbles and fizzes once it hits the surface of an open wound, but on a microscopic level, what is it really doing? And is it really the best way to clean a cut?

Host of YouTube's SciShow Hank Green tackled the topic in a recent video. Green explained peroxide kills "scraped-knee bacteria" by attracting electrons from their cellular membranes, essentially ripping those membranes open. The fizzing occurs when peroxide comes into contact with an enzyme called catalase, which forms water and oxygen gas. But as the antiseptic rips open bacteria membranes, it also attacks healthy cells also packed with catalase.

Cells produce hydrogen peroxide as waste when the body processes sugar, Green said, "so cells are stocked with catalase to help turn peroxide into water and oxygen before it can do any harm." Peroxide from a bottle, though, can't differentiate between wounded and healthy cells together. As an alternative, parents should consider a simple soap and water cleanse.

For more insight into the inner workings of hydrogen peroxide, watch the video above.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Peroxide on Wounds?

Hydrogen peroxide has been thought to be an effective way to clean wounds, because it is an antiseptic that is not painful when applied to open flesh. Some studies, however, have indicated that hydrogen peroxide might not useful for treating wounds, because it damages new tissue, resulting in delayed healing. Many experts believe that hydrogen peroxide is helpful for cleaning surface dirt and debris from minor wounds when soap and water are not available, but long-term use of peroxide on wounds is discouraged because of the abrasive nature of peroxide.

The application of peroxide on wounds produces an effervescent bubbling that makes it look like the wound is being thoroughly cleansed. Researchers who discourage the use of peroxide as a wound treatment do not deny that peroxide kills dirt and bacteria. A major disadvantage of peroxide is that the solution is so abrasive — even when diluted with water — that the natural healing process that takes place within the skin cells is halted following application. The damage that peroxide does to the skin might manifest with dryness, itching and discoloration around and inside the wound. Wounds that have been treated with peroxide typically take longer to heal than wounds that have been treated with soap and water, and a wound that is open longer has a greater risk of infection.

Although hydrogen peroxide is not recommended as a primary treatment for wounds, it can help keep a wound clean in an emergency. When soap and water are not available, peroxide can clean the wound by dissolving dirt and debris or pushing it out with its foaming bubbles. Peroxide is low in cost and portable, and it is often used on minor wounds acquired during outdoor accidents when other treatment methods cannot be accessed. When there is dried blood on the surface of the wound, peroxide can be highly effective, because it will dissolve the blood and leave the wound clear for other treatments.

Experts recommend rinsing a wound with water and cleaning it with soap instead of regularly using peroxide on wounds. Antibiotic ointment can be applied to prevent infection or treat existing infections. A medical professional should be contacted when a wound is severe or an infection has persisted for several days. Antibiotic ointment is preferred over using peroxide on wounds, because antibiotic ointment is gentle and moisturizing, promoting healing instead of hindering it. The wound should be cleaned with soap and water at least twice each day, and all instructions on the packaging should be followed when applying antibiotic ointment, until the wound has healed.

Curing Viruses with Hydrogen Peroxide Can a simple therapy stop the pandemic?

(OMNS August 21, 2020) In an earlier OMNS article, a number of highly effective therapies for COVID-19 were itemized and briefly discussed, along with supporting scientific references for the facts that were presented. [1] Many of these therapies, alone or in combination with other approaches, have been consistently seen to cure cases of COVID-19, including many cases that were very advanced and even ventilator-dependent. Yet in spite of all of this information, most physicians, researchers, and the medical literature they generate in abundance continue to ignore this information. And it is now clear that some medical centers and the physicians that represent them will actively suppress the dissemination of this information. Conscientious physicians who speak out to the contrary face losing their hospital-based employment, and many also face challenges to their licenses from state medical boards. Regardless of where you or your physician stands on the validity of any therapy, the primary fact that dictates whether a therapy is embraced depends almost entirely on how much money can be generated for the doctor, the hospital and the pharmaceutical company.

In addition to the obvious differences between the money generated for natural therapies versus prescription drugs, there are physicians who continually cry out for all clinical therapies to be validated with "large, prospective, double-blind, and placebo-controlled clinical trials." Truth be known, very few prescription drugs meet this standard. It is important to note that such trials can only be performed by deep-pocketed drug companies or well-endowed research institutes capable of spending enormous amounts of money (often in the millions of dollars). And neither the research institute nor the drug company has the slightest interest in establishing that expensive drugs can be undercut by any of many effective natural remedies. Finally, it should be understood that enrolling very sick patients in trials that have a placebo group is highly unethical when the therapy has already been clearly established to have a positive clinical impact with no significant toxicity. These large clinical trials are really only appropriate to establish how effectively a drug relieves disease symptoms along with determining the incidence and degree of toxicity that it can produce.

Stopping the Pandemic: Inhalation Medicine

The only way to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to prevent or deal with any such future calamities, is to apply a therapy that is highly effective, completely nontoxic, readily available, and inexpensive. Lacking any one of these four aspects of a potential therapy can cripple how well a pandemic can be promptly and readily resolved.

Inhalation Medicine is a growing branch of medicine that is providing a wide array of new approaches to disease via the inhalation of therapeutic agents into the lungs. Although the application of agents via inhalation has been around since ancient times, the current and widely available technology of inexpensive and highly efficient nebulization devices is rapidly expanding this form of medicine application.

Nebulization is a well-established procedure utilized to deliver any of a wide variety of therapeutic agents into the lungs to combat infection and/or improve lung function in different medical conditions. [2-4] Patients with chronic lung disease and asthma are regularly treated with this procedure. The therapeutic agents are dissolved in a solute (often water or saline solution) and converted into a fine mist of such a tiny particle size that it can reach deeply into the lungs. At the same time, such a nebulized agent is also reaching inside the sinuses, along with all the mucosal surfaces in the nasopharynx and oropharynx. Nebulization therapy is being used effectively for the prevention of pneumonia in patients supported on mechanical ventilation. [5] It is also being increasingly used as an additional option for the delivery of different drugs in patients on mechanical ventilation. [6]

COVID-19 infections, along with the common cold, influenza, and any other respiratory viral infection, are ideally addressed by nebulizing agents that inactivate viruses and kill cells already having a high virus content. While early intervention with an appropriately prescribed and nebulized pathogen-killing agent can serve as an effective monotherapy, it is best to regard all of the applications of Inhalation Medicine as natural adjuncts to other indicated medical therapies for both respiratory conditions as well as for various chronic diseases. While respiratory infections are most accessible by nebulization, many other conditions in the lungs and the rest of the body can be positively impacted by the nebulization of appropriate agents.

It is important to note that this article seeks only to describe a therapy that is highly effective, potentially accessible to any person on the planet, exceptionally inexpensive, and easily available without requiring a prescription. I am not trying to convince the reader to just nebulize HP and do nothing else. It is vital to your general health as well as to overcome COVID-19 to take all of the quality supplements available and affordable to you, including, but definitely not limited to, vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K2, iodine, zinc, and quercetin. [1] That said, however, prompt HP nebulization can be expected to reliably eradicate respiratory and pharyngeal pathogens and to facilitate the rapid recovery from any infection entering the body through the nose or mouth, including COVID-19.

Hydrogen Peroxide (HP) Biochemistry and Physiology

Many people, including physicians, simply regard HP as an effective disinfectant capable of decontaminating surfaces from contaminating pathogens. They recognize its ability to readily clean and disinfect open wounds as well. In fact, HP has been documented to readily kill all pathogens against which it has been tested, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Some pathogens require a higher concentration and a longer exposure time to HP in order to be killed, but they all have been documented to succumb. [7-10]

Like all other agents capable of causing oxidation, HP is toxic in high enough concentrations. However, at the low concentration levels to be discussed in this article, it is completely nontoxic. Even the best pharmaceutical drugs can harm and kill. Over 100,000 Americans die annually due to the toxicity of prescription drugs properly dosed and administered for various conditions. Nobody dies from hydrogen peroxide applied at its established, therapeutic concentrations.

A tiny nonionic molecule, HP readily crosses the membranes of both pathogens and cells in the body. HP is literally present everywhere in the body, both inside the cells and in the extracellular spaces. [11] The normal physiology of the body involves the continual generation of HP throughout the body. Furthermore, HP molecules are actually quite stable and not prone to oxidize surrounding molecules except when certain local conditions exist, as is present in acute and chronic infections. [12] Pathogens have high levels of reactive (unbound) iron inside them, and it is a process of electron donation from iron to HP inside the pathogen-filled cells or inside the invading pathogens themselves that forms the highly destructive oxidizing agent known as hydroxyl radical. Hydroxyl radicals quickly kill pathogens and also readily destroy cells that are already heavily laden with pathogens.

Because of this ability of HP to generate hydroxyl radical in iron-filled pathogens, it serves as a primary way in which the body mounts a natural defense against infection. In every sense of the word, HP is the body's natural antibiotic. The generation of HP has been shown to increase in the presence of greater degrees of infection and inflammation. [13] Activated phagocytes responding to a site of infection and inflammation naturally generate massive amounts of HP into the extracellular space to help deal with the pathogens. [14,15] Very interestingly, phagocytes also have high concentrations of vitamin C, which can help supply the electrons to HP via the free iron present to form hydroxyl radicals. Also, vitamin C is known to help generate increased amounts of extracellular HP for better pathogen-killing. [16.17]

Also, as one might expect from a natural defense mechanism, the by-products of HP that result from its normal metabolism and from its anti-pathogen effects are completely nontoxic, in striking contrast to virtually all prescription agents utilized to treat infections. When HP has been metabolized, only water and oxygen remain. One can actually think of HP as being an effective storage form of oxygen, waiting for the right microenvironment in which to release it. This means that HP can kill pathogens and improve the health of the microenvironment in which the pathogens were killed at the same time.

In a normal, uninfected state, pulmonary epithelial cells, the cells lining the airways of the lungs, naturally excrete and express HP. [18] This process finely coats HP onto the exposed side of these cells, protecting the lungs from the new pathogens contained in every breath. Of note, when inflammation and infection are already present, increased amounts of HP are found in the exhaled breath. [19] This is consistent with a natural compensatory mechanism to help contain the infection and keep it from spreading. HP has also been documented to be present in human urine, where it can also provide its anti-pathogen effects. [20] The ubiquitous and essential role of HP in the body is further reflected in its vital role as a signaling molecule in both the intracellular and extracellular spaces, directly influencing and modulating multiple metabolic processes. [21]

In addition to its presence throughout the body, both inside and outside the cells, HP is present in drinking water, rain water, and sea water. It is also assimilated from the diet. The relationship of HP to water and oxygen in general is also reflected in the fact that it can be spontaneously generated in microdroplets of water, with tinier droplets resulting in greater degrees of production. [22,23]

HP Nebulization for Respiratory Infections, Including COVID-19

The search for an effective, nontoxic, available, and inexpensive respiratory virus therapy could end with HP. In particular, HP nebulization would be the HP application of choice in this pandemic. Intravenous HP infusions of the correct concentration and administered properly are also highly effective against viruses and other infections, but this application of HP will not satisfy the availability requirement needed to quell a pandemic.

As should now be apparent from the role that HP already plays in the body in protecting against infection, the nebulization of HP into the sinuses, nasal passages, throat, and lungs is just a straightforward and quite elegant way to augment the body's natural expression of HP to combat infection and inflammation. Individual sensitivities to inhaled HP can vary widely, but a 3% concentration or far lower (even as low as 0.1%) will reliably kill pathogens where they encounter the HP. When the pathogens have been killed, sensitivity to the inhaled HP increases and it is then less well-tolerated, since the mucosal lining cells can be irritated by the HP when it no longer has pathogens upon which to exert its killing/oxidative impact. The only "toxic" effects of inhaled HP consist of minor degrees of nasal and throat irritation that rapidly resolve upon termination of the nebulization. [24]

Also, while HP is known to kill all pathogens, it is especially effective against viruses encountered via respiratory routes, which is the case with all cold and influenza-causing viruses, including coronaviruses. Large studies examining this clinical impact of HP nebulization remain to be done, but it is already clear that this therapy is effective for many patients, extraordinarily safe, and of inconsequential cost (less than ten cents of HP per nebulization). There is everything to be gained and nothing to be lost in applying HP in this manner. It does not need to displace traditional therapies, as it can augment the positive impact of any other clinical intervention. There are no traditional therapies that nebulized HP works to counteract in any way.

For early onset and treatment of coronavirus:

Regular off-the shelf 3% HP can be utilized. Preparations of greater pharmacological purity can be obtained if desired (food grade). Food grade HP typically comes in concentrations greater than 3% and must be appropriately diluted. HP in a concentration greater than 3% should never be nebulized.

For most adults, the 3% concentration can be utilized in the nebulization chamber undiluted. This optimizes the degree and rapidity of the antiviral and anti-pathogen effect. However, don't be reluctant to dilute the 3% solution if not easily tolerated. Note that the first few partial inhalations might not be well-tolerated, but these initial inhalations effectively "coat" the mucous membranes with the HP mist, and subsequent inhalations are not only well-tolerated but relaxing. However, never continue inhaling any agent that makes breathing more difficult.

When a runny nose or slightly sore throat is already present, it is recommended that 5- to 15-minute nebulization sessions be undertaken several times daily or until a symptomatic relief is realized. Many individuals report significant improvement only a few hours after the first one or two treatments. However, it would be advisable to persist in these treatments several times daily for at least 24 to 48 hours after you feel everything is completely normal in your sinuses, nose, and throat to assure a complete resolution of the infection.

For some, the 3% concentration results in too much stinging/burning in the nose or soreness in the throat. Such individuals can dilute with water until they find their highest comfortable concentration. Anybody can tolerate a low enough dilution of the HP solution with water. Additional water can always be added until the nebulization is completely comfortable. Lower HP concentrations can be utilized with clearly beneficial effect, but a positive clinical response can be expected to occur more rapidly with the higher concentrations.


As it is a completely nontoxic therapy, HP nebulization can be done as often as desired. If done on a daily basis, a very positive impact on bowel and gut function will also often be realized, as killing the chronic pathogen colonization present in most noses and throats stops the 24/7 swallowing of these pathogens and their associated toxins. When done in the absence of clinical infection, just 1 to 2 minutes of slow, deep breathing with the nebulizer should serve as an excellent preventive measure.

If daily prevention is not a practical option, be ready to nebulize whenever you feel you have had a significant pathogen exposure, as when somebody sneezes in your face or when you finally get off of the plane after a long flight. Don't wait for initial symptoms. Just nebulize at your first opportunity. Prevention is always easier than remediation.

Of great practical significance, HP nebulizations can also be expected to rapidly resolve a positive COVID-19 test after killing the virus in the nose and nasophyrynx, and quarantine periods can then be shortened, often by many days.

Hydrogen Peroxide Doesn't Work

It was one of those unquestioned rituals of childhood: after getting a little scrape or cut (generally in the knee or elbow area), your mother dutifully applies some hydrogen peroxide to the injury. The peroxide burns, but the pain is just evidence that the peroxide is working. The cut is being cleaned. That, at least, was my childhood understanding of bacterial theory. Only it turns out that hydrogen peroxide isn't useful at all. In fact, it may actually make things worse:

In a study published in The Journal of Family Practice in 1987, scientists compared the effects of various topical treatments by taking a group of volunteers, administering several small blister wounds on each of their forearms, and then infecting their wounds with bacteria. After applying a different treatment to each wound, they measured bacterial amounts and rates of healing. They found that hydrogen peroxide did not inhibit bacterial growth and that wounds treated with the antibiotic bacitracin healed far more quickly.

Another study, in The American Journal of Surgery, looked at more than 200 people who had appendectomies and found that hydrogen peroxide did not reduce the risk of infection at the site of their incisions.

How long before the empirical facts actually change our habits? My guess is that we won't stop applying hydrogen peroxide to minor cuts any time soon. The burn lets us pretend that we are doing something, and that's powerful medicine.

More like this

The benefit of hydrogen peroxide is the bubbling, the creation of all that oxygen drives large things out of a deep wound. I would have suspected that it would not work on a small blister like the researchers used. I would use alcohol or anti-biotic cream on a shallow wound.

I use hydrogen peroxide as a germicide on fresh fruits and vegetables.

It does a nice job of detecting where a citrus rind has began forming fungal spores, as it foams immediately even if the spot is too small for the naked eye to see.

I get 8 pounds of grapefruit a week from a farmers market for $2, and the hydrogen peroxide wash does minimize my losses due to fungus.

Interestingly, such things seem to be cultural. I grew up in the US, but have lived in France for the past two decades. It was common to put hydrogen peroxide on scrapes when I was a kid, but here they simply don't use it. They use "real" disinfectants (generally betadine, which contains iodine, and is what is used here in hospitals).

Never saw it used in the Netherlands either.
But I have been frequently smeared with iodine.

Oddly enough, I've always wondered if such things as hydrogen peroxide don't do more harm than good. I mean, H2O2 is a very strong oxidizer -- shouldn't it contribute to cell breakdown of native tissue as well as foreign bacteria? (Besides which I have an uncle who is a chronic abuser of the stuff -- takes mouthfuls of it straight out of the bottle and uses it as mouthwash. I can't imagine making a regular habit of that is good for mucous tissue.)

. I have an uncle who is a chronic abuser of the stuff -- takes mouthfuls of it straight out of the bottle and uses it as mouthwash.

I'm nearly certain I've seen H2O2 as mouthwash recommended on many an H2O2 bottle. It seems that in recent years the recommendation has been altered to include (further) dilution with water.

Yes, hydrogen peroxide does kill a few cells when used for wound cleaning. However, the strong oxidation does kill anaerobe bacteria, especially tetanus, as well as bubbling dirt, debris and dead cells from the wound. It should only be used for initial cleaning, followed by TAO, betadine, or the like.

H2O2 was not used for skin cleansing, but in diluted mixes to cleanse mucosal surfaces, ie, mouth / lips -- trying to remove clotted blood from injuries in these areas can do more damage.

Betadine / iodine is used on the intact skin surrounding the wound, not on the wound itself as betadine / iodine will destroy the subcutaneous / vascular cells that you need for internal wound repair.

Copious normal saline irrigation is best for cleansing a wound betadine / iodine for the skin around the wound.

Some wounds should not be closed, but left open and packed with a saline gauze. The fine gauze should be packed into the wound cervices so the debris and dying tissue can be removed when the dressing is removed. The wound packing is usually wet to dry (but it can be moistened just before removal so that there is no further damage by pulling the away healthy tissue.)

The skin should be cleansed of the betadine / iodine and then covered with a dry dressing because the skin itself does not like to be wet for too long.

Most likely, more than you want to know.

When the 'non-painful' topical antibiotics came out, people were reluctant to use them because they did not 'sting' when applied and, hence, did not seem to be working!

H2O2 is used to control microbial activity in hydroponics systems.

I just don't agree with this article. Peroxide is cytotoxic to bacteria and fungi. I'd have to see other studies-- 200 patients in one study is hardly conclusive. Peroxide 1% mouthwash kills toothache pain. Peroxide works as a topical remedy for fungus.

All in all, piss poor research here from an otherwise good writer who just isn't equipped to weigh in on the subject of medicine.


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Hydrogen Peroxide facts

Hydrogen Peroxide is an inorganic chemical found abundantly in nature. Pure H 2 O 2 is a clear liquid that is pale blue in color. It is the simplest known peroxide, the general term for any compound with a single covalent bond between two oxygen atoms.

Hydrogen peroxide structural formula (Photo Credit : Sassospicco/Wikimedia Commons)

Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizing and bleaching agent. Storage of hydrogen peroxide is also notably difficult, as it slowly decomposes in the presence of light. Therefore, it is stored in brown bottles that prevent light penetration, along with the help of some added stabilizers (chemicals that slow down the oxidation of H 2 O 2 ).


You mentioned Hydrogel. Your thoughts on Aquaphor, please

I got in touch with Dr. Keller, the wound care specialist in my blog post. Here is what he says: “Hydrogel (many types and names) basically is Saline .9 % 90-98& and a gel ( a collegan) for open wounds for healing

Aquaphor is a skin treatment for dry skin,cracked skin ,protection of skin but not open wounds.

Aquaphor has 41% Petrolium (like vasaline) mineral oil, Cersin , Lanolin (Fat from sheep) Alcohol, and Glycerin.”
I hope that helps Fran.

I wanted to mention that even if/though peroxide can hinder the healing process, it’s not as if you’re putting it on everytime that it dries. So knowing that, and knowing that the half life of peroxide is something like 2 minutes or what-not than it would only affect the wound that first time.

I’m not being an a**hole, it’s just the way I communicate with people and it doesn’t always offends people especially when they find out why. Anyhow, I’m not a doctor or a bio-chemist or anything in the health related fields, it’s just something I though of when i began reading your article.

Thanks for the info, and if you care to reply then let me know what you think

I poured hydrogen peroxide into my deep wound that I had stitched four days ago and woke up to pain. That’s when I found i should NOT have done that and am likely killing the healing bacteria. What should I do now? Leg hurting bad

Shelley, it’s been a few days since you posted your comment. I’m sorry I didn’t get back right away. My advice would have been to check with your doctor. What did you end up doing? How is your leg now?

” ..the healilng bacteria …” . You seem to have a massive misunderstanding of biology .. THERE ARE NO SUCH bacteria! They are ‘foreign’ organisims’ who are tremendously likely to be BAD/Dangerous , and only in extremely rare circumstances could I, a physician, even IMAGINE bacteria presence in any wound to be beneficial !!

I have always used peroxide with the first clean up let fizzle than rinse with water. I dry it well with a hair dryer apply healing antibacterial and band aid or tape. I take the band aid off the next day and have had no problems with wound healing. My husband had a diabetic foot ulcer I discovered when I noticed blood on the floor when he was walking in his socks. I treated it the first time with peroxide dried with a hairdryer and applied healing antibiotic and a gauze pad and tape. I took a picture of it to give to his doctor and every week I took a new one. I cleaned it out believe or not with a make remover pads I used for my face, applied ointment and coved it in gauze and tape. Within three weeks it was a very small ulcer and the doctor told him “whatever your wife is doing keep it up”.

I’m having a terrible time with healing from a removed toenail. Been over a week now, still oozing and sore. Any thoughts? Have discontinued peroxide. Doctor suggested oral antibiotics but they upset my stomach and cause hives. Please advise.

Thank you out of all of the articles I have readed this one is the one that stands between them all this one is the best.

I am in the beauty industry and you will not believe how many scars could of been prevented if the general public knew this ! Keep up the good work!

Just another good use for peroxide. It’s great at getting blood out of clothing if you should accidentally cut your self in the kitchen. This was passed on to me by an wonderful Greek physician many years ago. Just pour some on the fabric, watch it bubble up and presto! Not sure about colored fabrics but I have used it on neutral colors with no issues. Btw, my husband was a patient of Dr. Keller’s a few years ago. The best

Thanks for that Linda. I wonder it would take out a raspberry stain. I was weeding this weekend and managed to plop down on some raspberries. Got scratched on my legs, too. And let’s not forget attacked by mosquitoes! I was a mess but the raspberry bushes seemed happy!!

DO NOT EVER SOAK A FINGER OR TOE IN PEROXIDE..I did this once after only soaking my infected finger in peroxide for approximetly 4 minutes, and within a few days my nail started to peel off. After a while the entire nail came off and took 4 months to grow back a new nail..

Thank you, It is the best than the other I read out of all of the article. Many scars could have been prevented if the general public knew this! Keep it up!

I have been suffering from a infected wound after a breast biopsy. I went through a round of antibiotic and was cleaning every morning and night with peroxide. Everything this article said happened. Scabbed over with infection underneath. When I went back to the doctor she told be to stop using the peroxide and to use MediHoney, it’s a sterile form of honey. Within one week it was all healed.

Big Pharma would love everyone to stop using a simple inexpensive solution as hydrogen peroxide that speeds up wound healing and can make the difference between avoiding infection and dealing with an overly long healing process. I had a burn years ago on my thigh, listened to all the Internet advice don’t use hydrogen peroxide, it destroys tissues, etc and only used ointments. The burn got infected, ointments were acting like all ointments I have used, keeping the wound moist, and PROLONGING the healing process, and ALLOWING all kinds of complications that hydrogen peroxide, when properly used, eliminated. After several days of needless suffering, I got out my hydrogen peroxide that has always quickly taken care of all kinds of tough wounds, including those on dogs who one cannot properly wash, etc, and within a day had a noticeable turnaround, and after that quickly healed, as the hydrogen visibly took care of the infection from the moist ointments, and soon the burn shrank and healed. Afterwards I used vit e oil and had no scarring. Hydrogen peroxide works. It requires knowing it is caustic and works on tissues when used in the length of time it fizzles when applied on cuts, scrapes, blisters etc, but it is not for deep wounds as one person reported here they applied it to. For OTC type of wounds, cuts, it works wonders and prevents needless complications. And there are many OTC treatments to apply on a healed new scar in order to make it disappear, and so the natural healing process is not something we should scoff at. I love to see a scab as it means the open wound vunerability is gone and soon after the healing process, things like arnica gel, etc, take care of eliminating scars. No reason to get paranoid to omit normal scab in order to sidestep scars, as that is putting the cart before the horse. For people as myself who cannot tolerate oral antibiotics, hydrogen peroxide saves the day, over and again. However, don’t soak any body part in it as it WILL burn it. It is meant only for application that is not on more than one minute. Spray, dab, pour, let it fizzle, air dry, that is it.

Vivian, I’m glad that it worked for you. The thing is, I interviewed a doctor who specializes in wound care and has many years of experience. I know him and don’t believe for a second that he would give advice that he couldn’t back up.

Hello Diane – I fell asleep on a heating pad (definitely recommend one that has an automatic shut off) and got a pretty good blister from it. The blister of course was accidentally opened and an infection settled in. After trying to just keep it clean along with using a triple antibiotic ointment for the infection didn’t work, I went to see a doctor. By this time, swelling, pain and redness that extended up to 6 inches from the wound had appeared. He wrote a prescription for silver sulfadiazine cream and told me to wash it with soap and water twice a day, apply the cream afterwards and leave it uncovered during the day, but covered with a gauze bandage at night. He also said about every 3rd day, use peroxide on the scab to open the wound and pick most of the scab off, use the cream afterwards and continue as before. My husband and daughter (retired pharmacist and an RN) said I needed to be put on antibiotics also so I’m doing that too. The doctor said doing the peroxide bit would make the wound get smaller and smaller until gone. Any thoughts on this?

im on blood thinners and when my nose starts to bleed it pours out and it takes me hours to control the bleeding

any ideas how I can control the bleeding sooner

also I will stop taking the blood thinners for a few days is this good or bad

I never knew that healthy skin cells work under the scab to form new tissue. My sister’s daughter had a scrape on her knee and is wondering how to properly treat it. I’ll share this with her so she knows how to deal with it.