Thursday, April 4, 2013

DIY Wound Care Vaseline Replacement

Yesterday, I went to the dermatologist to have a couple cysts removed - one on the back of my neck that was about the size of a garbanzo bean, and one on my face that was still very small (ball bearing sized?), but was growing.  He had been comfortable at the first visit that these were just cysts but agreed it would be a good idea  to get them removed.

The removal went without a hitch - the one on my face came out cleanly and shouldn't return -  the one on the back was 'crumbly' and took a bit more effort to get it all, but he's sure he did and the odds of it returning are low.

I'm glad to see them gone - the one on the back especially was noticeable enough to cause well meaning total strangers to ask me if I know it's there and to suggest I get it 'looked at'.  Done, and gone.

After each area had been sutured up and bandaged, he gave me my aftercare instructions - twice a day, gently wash with soap and water, apply some Vaseline, and cover with a regular bandage.

Er... awhile ago, I got rid of the aged and mostly non-used jar of Vaseline I had, and have no interest in applying petroleum jelly on a wound now.

I asked if the purpose for that was to keep it moist, and he affirmed - moist and covered will speed healing and reduce scarring.

Grudgingly, we stopped at a drug store on the way home, and I hesitated in the aisle where the wound care products were.  There was the ever-present Vaseline, and near it was a jar (I can't recall the brand name) of a petroleum jelly substitute touted as a wound protection salve.  The ingredients looked pretty good - beeswax, soy oil, vitamin E, and rosemary essential oil.  The price, though, was ten times the cost of a similar sized jar of Vaseline.

I hesitated some more, nearly picked up the Vaseline... and then stopped and thought. I have everything in that salve except the soy oil - and  that's the one ingredient in there I'm iffy about. I have several other oils, though, and I bet I could figure this out.  I wouldn't need to use it until the following morning, so I had time to do this.

I left that aisle, bought some waterproof bandaids, and when home to see if I could make something that felt like petroleum jelly.

I chose to use grapeseed oil, but I think olive oil, almond oil, avocado oil - any of these would work, and on further contemplation, avocado oil would have been my choice.  Choose a liquid oil that won't go rancid quickly, and one that has properties that are good for the skin are the best bet.

I had to go through more effort than necessary because my beeswax was in a big, hard brick (bad choice when  I bought that - there is a good reason they sell this in pellets!).  I tried to grate it and that was getting nowhere fast, so I put it in my wax melting metal pitcher and set that in a pot of boiling water to melt the whole brick down.  After it melted, I poured what I needed for the salve into a half pint mason jar, and poured the rest into a muffin tin to harden. I'm now storing these much more manageable rounds of beeswax in a container for future use.

Here's the recipe, with my 'live and learn' improvements factored in:

Wound Care Vaseline Replacement

1 ounce beeswax pellets
1/2 cup healthy liquid oil (olive or avocado oil)
1 Tablespoon Vitamin E
20 drops rosemary oil
20 drops lavender oil

Combine beeswax and liquid oil in a small mason jar.  Set in a pot of water (careful - don't let water get into the jar), heat to boiling, and simmer until wax has completely melted.  Keep a close eye on this - the wax is flammable.

Once fully melted, remove from heat and stir well to completely combine. I used the back of a wooden spoon and 'whipped' it in the jar for about a minute.

Let the jar start to cool - when the bottom of it starts to look hard, add the Vitamin E and the essential oils, stir again to recombine well, and then let it sit until cool.

The finished salve will be firm, yet soft to the touch, and once you have a small bit scooped up, it will soften a bit from body heat and feel just about identical to Vaseline - except that it will smell wonderful, and the Vitamin E and rosemary and lavender all help promote healing and ease scarring, and both of the oils have antiseptic properties.

I tried it this morning for the first time - it worked perfectly, and I've experienced no sting or itching.  This is a total winner!

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  1. Very, very good idea, much better than Vaseline. I've made this (I call it balm) and it keep really well, especially with essential oils added. Frankincense and Benzoin Essential oils are really good for healing.

  2. What a wonderful idea! I was given a homemade salve (in a tube) several years ago and loved it. I've been wanting to make my own, I'll have to give this a whirl! Thanks for sharing on the HomeAcre Hop!

  3. Great idea. What's in the things we use is so bad for us. I think Coconut oil may have been good to use too. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    We may have met by chance...but we become friends by choice.

  4. Great idea! Thanks for linking up with Eat. Pray. Love :)

  5. I was just going to suggest coconut oil which is supposed to be good for the skin when I read the comment above.

    Do you think this could also be used by gardeners to soften their hands after working in the garden?

    I would love for you to link up this tip at my Fabulously Frugal Thursday linky -

  6. I agree on coconut oil - I was not sure about consistency, since it's either solid or liquid (until yesterday, things were pretty chilly here). Because this was being used on a tender spot, and I needed it by the next day, I decided not to experiment to much and risk it being too firm to use. But definitely, play with adding it! I will next time I make some. I think it'd be amazing for chafed gardening hands - I've been using it for everything - on the stitches, but also as a moisturizing gel and lip balm, too. I'm going to make a little bit with some menthol oils to use for respiratory care, too.

  7. Excellent! I love it when our convictions and needs meet up and we discover a better remedy. Thanks for sharing on Hearth & Soul Hop. :)

  8. This sounds wonderfully healing and natural. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  9. I have never thought about making my own healing ointment, but I think it is a great idea! Thank you for sharing!

  10. Good idea in order to avoid the petroleum. Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Greens!

  11. I have made something similar with coconut oil, a bit of olive oil, beeswax and bitter almond oil (because that is my favorite scent in the whole world) and it was lovely! :)

  12. Wow, you made you're on? I'm so impressed! I was also surprised that he suggested vaseline on a wound. I thought we weren't supposed to do that anymore, but maybe that's just for burns. Clearly I need to read up on vaseline, lol!

    Thanks so much for linking up to the "Making Your Home Sing Monday" linky party today! :)

  13. This looks great and I've pinned this! Thanks for sharing this at my Pin Me Linky Party.

  14. Great idea, I bet my feet and hands would love to be soothed by this!

  15. Ooh, this looks great! I have been trying to convince myself to throw away my Vaseline for months, but sometimes there isn't any suitable replacement for it. I am going to make this and throw that jar away!

    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday! I am headed to pin this now :)

  16. This sounds so much nicer than petroleum jelly :) Thank you so much for sharing this on The Creative HomeAcre Hop! I hope to see you again tomorrow. :)

  17. Amazing what we can come with on our own sometimes isn't it? Thanks for linking up. Glad you are feeling better now.

  18. Fantastic idea! Thank you for sharing this on Wellness Wednesday. I'm pinning and sharing on facebook :)

  19. I recently got a nasty scrape while hiking that I've been covering up with vaseline and duoderm bandages, but I HATE the smell of vaseline. I will have to try your awesome beeswax recipe- what a great idea!