Why is my Wound Turning White? All Possible Reasons

By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: September 4, 2018
Why is my Wound Turning White? All Possible Reasons

The recovery process of a wound may be different from one person to the other, and from one wound to the other as well. Usually, a reddish brown scab forms on the wound after the bleeding stops, and then healthy skin covers it within a week or so. But in some cases, you may start seeing a pale white color in the middle of your wound, and you may wonder why is my wound turning white. There can be several reasons for a wound turning white, and some of them can be quite serious. Read this oneHOWTO article to find out possible reasons for a wound turning white, and know how to deal with them.

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Moisture trapped inside the wound

Trapped moisture is perhaps the most common reason of your wound turning white. You may notice a white scab in your wound, but if water is the reason, this change in color will be just temporary. A scab is the body’s natural way to keep the skin protected while it is in the healing phase. It creates a kind of natural bandage around the wound, so that it does not bleed and remains protected against any possible environmental factors. However, a scab is not water-proof, and water can easily seep into it to reach the wound. As there is no skin on the wound, water may get trapped between the wound and the scab, and it may cause the wound to turn white for a few minutes or hours. The white color disappears as the water evaporates and the wound dries up.

Further complications can cause a macerated wound, which will cause pain on the wound as well as white around the edge of the wound.

Over-use of cream or ointment

A wound may turn white if you keep it coated with thick cream or ointment all the time. Using a first aid cream is a good thing to do, but excessive application can lead to poor circulation of air through the wound. If that’s the case, you should remove the cream from the wound, and let air pass through it for a few hours. The white color will disappear most of the times within a few hours.

Why is my Wound Turning White? All Possible Reasons - Over-use of cream or ointment

Reaction to a medicine ingredient

Allergy to a certain ingredient in the medicine may also be a cause of your wound turning white. There can be a chemical reaction in your wound, due to which your wound may become white or discolored. If that’s the reason for your wound turning white, discontinue using that medicine and take antihistamines to subside the allergic reaction. Ask a physician for further recommendation.


An infected wound may turn white due to the natural immune response of your body. In case of an infection, the wound may become white, the area around it may turn hot and red, and you may see pus oozing from underneath as well as a bad smell. Mostly, the wound seems white due to this puss only. Although a minor infection may be treated with antibiotics, you may need to seek medical help if it does not settles down. Some viral infections like human papillomavirus and herpes may also cause white scabs on your skin. In that case, you need to get them diagnosed and treated properly to prevent any further complications.

Why is my Wound Turning White? All Possible Reasons - Infection

Skin cancer

Sometimes, you may start seeing white lesions on different parts of your skin, but not on cuts and wounds. If you are noticing these, you should immediately consult a physician. In some skin cancers, this kind of lesions appears in the very early stages, and if diagnosed in time, they can be successfully treated and managed. The medical experts do a biopsy on these lesions, and determine if skin cancer is their cause or not.

Special advice

If you have got a wound, it is advised to keep it clean, and let air pass through it from time to time. Although applying medicine is recommended, it is not wise to keep the wound covered all the time. It needs some air time as well. If the white color does not subside on its own within a day or two, and if the wound becomes painful, swollen or inflamed, then you are advised to seek medical attention without fail.

There is some controversy over whether to keep a wound dry or moist. It will depend somewhat on the wound, but if you have one which cannot be cared for at home, you will need the proper medical attention which may require a hospital stay. For smaller wounds, if the surface cells dry out too much, then they will not be able to act as effectively. This is why bandages or band-aids are used as they help keep in the moisture, as do ointments and salves. Keep the wound clean, but do not let it dry out otherwise it may affect the healing process. This information may be contradictory in some older reports, but it is the generally agreed upon current treatment advised by the general medical community.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Why is my Wound Turning White? All Possible Reasons, we recommend you visit our Family health category.

Write a comment about Why is my Wound Turning White? All Possible Reasons

What did you think of this article?
The current standard for wound care is to keep it moist. Please update your reccomendations
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Meredith

Thank you for your comment, we will take your information into account. oneHOWTO
Thelma Taylor
I have severe psoriasis in my foot has turned white after I took a shower put Neosporin on it and it turned even deeper wipes so I put Vaseline on it and now it's back black what do I do
keep using th Vaseline. Not too much though just every few days it's really good for the skin.

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