Bacterial infections are the main risk for complications in wound healing. Many antiseptics act by destroying or denaturing the cell wall of a pathogen and disturbing the pathogen’s metabolism resulting in cell death. Compared to antibiotics, antiseptics have the advantage that resistance occurs much less frequently, and may be even virtually non-existent for some antiseptics.
Modern antiseptics have a high therapeutic index and good tolerability, and, in contrast to antibiotics, are also suitable for preventive use in certain clinical indications. These measures can render prolonged treatment unnecessary in many cases. The indication for antisepsis depends on the stage, severity, location and degree of contamination/infection of the wound.
Optimal wound healing requires absence of penetrating pathogens and “tranquil” healing conditions. A moist environment is also essential if the wound is to heal quickly without scarring, as cells responsible for closing the wound multiply and move particularly quickly under moist conditions.