Whenever our skin is damaged, wound healing will occur as the natural physiological response. The stages of wound healing are complex because our body's different systems must work together to repair the injured tissue.

In this article, learn about the different phases of wound healing that take place and why each stage is required to enable proper wound healing.

4 stages of wound healing with pictures

There are several important stages of wound healing, following four processes: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation and maturation. Depending on the internal and external patient conditions, some wounds can worsen or improve a quicker pace than usual.

Hemostasis (blood clotting)

Stage one of wound healing starts at the onset of injury and is designed to stop any bleeding. Blood vessels constrict, restricting the blood flow to allow blood clotting. Platelets then stick together, essentially forming a dam to block the drainage of blood.

This stage may take up to two days for larger wounds.
medical illustration of hemostasis

Inflammation (preventing infection)

The next stage of wound healing occurs once the bleeding has stopped and involves the body's key defence mechanism – inflammation. Localised swelling is caused by the injured blood vessels leaking transudate (made up of water, protein and salt).

Inflammation enables the wound to be cleaned and ready for new tissue growth. In this phase, white blood cells enter the wound to destroy bacteria and remove debris. This stage can be painful as blood rushes to the wound to clean it.

Inflammation usually takes up to six days and should go away, but look out for signs of wound infection like excessive pain, pus and reddening.
medical illustration of Inflammation

Proliferation (rebuilding)

Once the wound is clean, the next phase involves closing the wound. Proliferation can be broken down into three mini-phases:

  1. Filling the wound: The woundbed is filled with connective tissue to help form new blood vessels.
  2. Contraction: The edges of the wound contract and pull toward the centre, causing a tightening feeling.
  3. Covering the wound: Cells that created a protective barrier, called epithelial cells, flood the wound and multiply until the wound is covered with epithelium.

Proliferation can take between four and 30 days, depending on the size of the wound.

medical illustration of Proliferation

Maturation (strengthening)

First, the repairing cells used in stage 3 are no longer needed, so they are removed by apoptosis.

The new tissue that was built in the proliferation stage needs to build strength and flexibility. Water is reabsorbed so collagen fibres can lie closer together.

Maturation can take the longest of the four stages of wound healing. This starts around three weeks after an injury and may take over a year to fully repair in some cases.
medical illustration of Maturation
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Elastoplast Wound Care Routine

Following the Elastoplast Wound Healing will help your wound heal safely and quickly:

  1. Cleanse your wound from dirt, bacteria and visible particles with the Elastoplast Wound Spray to prevent infections.
  2. Protect your wound from bacteria and dirt with a plaster or sterile wound dressing from Elastoplast.
  3. Heal wounds quickly and lower the risk of scarring by applying the Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment.

Once the wound closes, you may notice a red or pink raised scar. Healing will continue for weeks, months or even years after this. Elastoplast Scar Reducer Patches make scars flatter, softer and lighter.

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Always see a doctor if the wound is deep, bleeds heavily or shows signs of infection like reddening, swelling or warmth.

Please note that, although these were compiled with great care, the tips and advice given on this website by no means substitute medical advice and treatment. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult a doctor and follow medical advice regardless of what you have learned on this website.

Always read carefully and follow the instructions for use or the product leaflets. For further information about our products, please contact us via email at ConsumerRelationsUK@Beiersdorf.com.