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Salve: What is It and How to Use It

Posted by Bryan Potok, CPO on

Prosthetic users have more than their fair share of skin issues brought on by various factors, such as breaking in a new prosthesis or wearing an ill-fitting socket, among others. So one of the most recommended skin care products to address prosthetic-related skin issues is a salve. However, what is a salve? How do you use it? This article aims to answer those questions.

As a prosthetic user find out how and when to use a prosthetic salve.

What is a salve? 

Salves are semi-solid healing ointments that nourish dry skin, as well as soothe and heal minor skin irritations. Concerning appearance, salves are usually semi-solid at room temperature but soften once applied to the skin. This quality makes the product less messy than oils or creams. 

Basic salves are made by mixing oils and beeswax, but adding herbal infused oils is what makes them effective in healing. Other salves also contain pure essential oils which work great for aromatherapy purposes.

Formulated to address prosthetic related issues, prosthetic salves offer targeted treatment for friction related blisters and similar skin irritations. Prosthetic salves can be applied to skin grafts, high-friction areas, and boney prominences to help protect your skin while wearing your prosthesis.

Compared to basic salves, most prosthetic salves contain ingredients that provide a long-lasting, soothing, and protective barrier. Some prosthetic salves also offer disinfectant, fungicidal, and healing properties.

Furthermore, prosthetic salves are designed to restore and protect your skin barrier, resulting in more resilient and healthier skin that can better manage the stresses of wearing a prosthesis.

When to use a salve

Various salves address different skin issues. More often than not, minor skin irritations, rashes, burns, dry skin, and wounds can be soothed and healed by a salve. 

Salves that contain special ingredients, such as sea buckthorn, can address, dermatitis, rosacea, and even help fade old scars. To treat rashes, salves that contain tamanu oil or chickweed are known to be effective. This organic ingredient is well-known in the skin care community for its soothing qualities.

Salves are great for preventing skin irritation, especially along areas known to break down while wearing your prosthesis. Avoid skin irritation inside your socket by adding a light coating of prosthetic salve on these high-risk areas; such as boney prominences, high-friction areas, and skin grafts. What makes prosthetic salves effective in preventing any of the aforementioned issues is that they contain emollients and lubricants that prevent skin damage.

In Summary

Salves are great for protecting and soothing skin from external prosthetic stressors. Every prosthetic user should consider adding a prosthetic salve to their daily skincare regimen. They're easy to apply and can address a wide range of skin ailments, as well as prevent skin irritation along sensitive, prone areas of your residual limb. 

What is your favorite  salve? When do you reach for one? Share your comments below. 
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  • Not a salve, but tea tree oil is my go to for minor skin irritations or pressure wounds. Great antibacterial action. Skin heals quickly and I can usually continue to wear my prosthetic while the skin is healing. No degradation to the liner, too.

    Mike Lockhart on

  • I would to order that prosthetic salve, where can place an order and how much?

    Abbraham Graham Ferdinand on

  • I’m not a amputee yet I’m fighting against having it done. I have a large ulcer on my foot that won’t heal. Read the article about salve and ordered the resilience prosthetic salve. I’m really shocked in the difference it’s made in the healing of my ulcer. It doesn’t seem to creat as much moisture as the creams and ointments, and that’s my biggest enemy. Thank you for this article.

    Kurt Langan on

  • I’d like to order a jar of beeswax salve. How do I proceed?

    Richard J. Drew on

  • I have found that a prosthetic salve I used made by Alps was woefully inadequate. I have returned to Sensi-Care 2 and all is well again.

    Steve Royal on

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