From Dr. Mercola:
Getting cuts and scrapes are common, both inside and outside your home. These openings in your skin create an opportunity for bacterial growth and infections. Initial cleaning of your wound will help to flush out unwanted bacteria and create an environment to help the open area heal.
Most people either reach for the soap and water or hydrogen peroxide to clean the area before bandaging it. You’ll want to use the most effective cleaner without disturbing the tissue to encourage restoration of the area. One of these materials is definitely better to use than the other.
Why Hydrogen Peroxide Is an Excellent Option
Hydrogen peroxide has been used since the 1920s as an antiseptic because it is effective at killing bacteria. An antiseptic is a substance that prevents the growth of disease-causing microorganisms, such as bacteria.
When you had a cut or scrape as a child, your mother probably reached for the brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide.
When she dabbed it on your cut, you may remember it hurt. That pain or discomfort was a result of the peroxide activating pain receptors in your cut or scrape as it killed the bacteria in the area. It is far safer and more effective than rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol than is commonly used and less staining than iodine.1
Your Wound Needs Oxygen to Heal
Wound healing is a normal process your body initiates whether the wound is a paper cut or a large incision following surgery. In all cases your cuts, scrapes and wounds will heal faster, better and with less scarring when there is plenty of oxygen available.2
The chemical composition of hydrogen peroxide is H2O2, containing one more oxygen molecule than water whose composition is H2O. When hydrogen peroxide is put on a cut or scrape, you’ll notice bubbling from the area as the hydrogen peroxide releases one oxygen molecule and becomes water.
How Hydrogen Peroxide Kills Bacteria
Hydrogen peroxide works against bacteria, breaking the cell membranes open by attracting electrons. Inside the bacteria is an enzyme called catalase, causing the fizzing you see when the hydrogen peroxide reacts with the enzyme and releases one oxygen molecule.3
Hydrogen peroxide is a very good antiseptic but it isn’t able to distinguish between your healthy cells and those of the bacteria in your wound. The peroxide will attract electrons from your healthy cell membranes, killing them, and react with the catalase in your cells, producing the same fizzing.
Low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are actually produced by your body after metabolizing sugar or carbohydrates, promoting wound healing.
Your cells have catalase to inactivate the hydrogen peroxide produced inside the cells, but are powerless against the hydrogen peroxide you add to your cut from the outside.
Excessive oxidative damage to your cells from external hydrogen peroxide will slow wound healing and increase your risk of scar formation.4 Your cells use catalase to inactivate hydrogen peroxide produced by your body to oxygen and water after insulin metabolizes sugar inside