In this article, we guide you through the types of wound dressing, and some special solutions that you might not even know about. For example, did you know that today’s generation of Elastoplast plasters can even prevent scarring? Learn how to treat your small injury and find the most suitable dressings or plasters.
Types of wound dressing
Most wounds can be treated easily at home, and the different types of wound dressing depend on the size, location and severity of an injury. Using the right wound dressing is crucial for optimal healing. Learn more about wound dressing types below:
- Cloth: The most commonly used dressings, often applied to minor injuries such as cuts or grazes, or other areas of broken skin.
- Hydrocolloid: These can be used on burns, pressure ulcers or wounds that are emitting liquid. For example, the Elastoplast Blister Plaster uses hydrocolloid technology to help blisters heal faster. Learn more about hydrocolloid wound dressings.
- Hydrogel: Designed to maximise patient comfort, hydrogel can be used for a range of wounds that are leaking little or no fluid, are particularly painful or are pressure ulcers or donor sites.
- Gauze: These types of wound dressing come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are made of woven or non-woven materials. Gauze pads absorb drainage like blood or other fluids, and can be used on most wounds, including infected wounds, or ones that require frequent dressing changes.
- Transparent: Generally made of a polyurethane material, like the Elastoplast Scar Reducer Patches, these film dressings allow oxygen to penetrate through the dressing to the wound. They can stay in place for up to one week, offer a visualisation of the wound and are a good option for covering an IV.
- Foam: For use on minor burns, skin grafts or pressure ulcers, foam dressings are less likely to stick to delicate wound beds. These are comfortable and keep the wound moist to promote faster healing, but sometimes require a secondary dressing to hold the foam in place.
- Alginate: These highly-absorbent, biodegradable dressings should only be used for wet wounds that require significant liquid drainage. As they absorb a high amount of liquid, they require changing around every two days, so a secondary dressing is always required.
- Collagen: For chronic or surgical wounds, transplant sites, burns or injuries with a large surface area, collagen dressings help new skin cells to grow.
Plasters for scratches and cuts
Make sure you remove any debris or small objects from it. If the wound bleeds intensely, as is sometimes the case with cuts on the face or on a finger, stop the bleeding by applying pressure with a sterile bandage.
Depending on where your wound is located, choose a matching wound dressing. Smaller wounds may need a plaster from the Elastoplast Plastic or Fabric ranges. For larger scrapes, use an Elastoplast Antibacterial Sensitive XXL Plaster. With Silver Technology, it provides an antibacterial action – killing harmful germs and thus reducing the risk of infection – while being large enough to cover up bigger cuts.
Blister dressing: Should you pop blisters?
If your blister is still intact, decide if you want to leave it uncovered to let it heal on its own. But if it’s in an area where it might get rubbed – such as your hand or heel – you should definitely protect the blister from further friction as soon as possible with an Elastoplast Blister Plaster.
The blister dressing will not only cushion the blister, but also prevent the blister roof from breaking so that it can be left to heal on its own. You can still use the Elastoplast Blister Plaster on broken blisters, as it will provide ideal healing conditions. Learn more in our dedicated Blisters article.
Dressings for different body parts
Find your ideal plaster in the Elastoplast plaster range. Very small cuts and scrapes can be covered by Elastoplast Fabric, which are available as 40 strips in different sizes, while finger cuts are covered perfectly with Elastoplast Finger Strips.
Larger patches of skin such as on knees, or mobile parts such as joints, are exposed to a lot of movement and friction. Elastoplast Fabric Knee & Elbow plasters are ideal for joints and larger wounds, providing durable protection as well as allowing for greater mobility.
Wide Area Fixation Sensitive tape is suitable for all body parts and can be used for the fixation of wound pads, dressings and medical equipment.
Dressing and treating minor burns
Read our Burns guide for more information on how to treat burns.
Kids’ cuts and abrasions: Treatment without tears
Our skin-friendly Elastoplast Kids range includes fun motifs such as Animal Plasters, PAW Patrol, Disney Frozen 2 and Sensitive Plasters.
To give your family the best wound care available, stock up on plasters in different shapes and sizes in your Medicine Cabinet.
Extra large wound dressing
If you need an extra large wound dressing with waterproof protection, Elastoplast’s range of products includes Sterile Waterproof XL and XXL, and Antibacterial Aqua Protect XL and XXL. For sensitive skin, try Antibacterial Sensitive XL or XXL. Read more in How to protect larger wounds.
Forget about 'being brave' or 'not fussing too much' by letting a wound heal in the open air – even if it’s just a scrape or a small cut. Research has shown that letting a wound heal under moist and covered up conditions will help it to heal faster and prevent scabs and scarring.
Try the Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment for the most advanced wound healing technology.
Plasters for sensitive skin
This range offers different plaster sizes and is also available as Elastoplast Sensitive Antibacterial with Silver Technology, which has antiseptic qualities and reduces the risk of infection.
When it comes to removing the plaster once your wound is healed, read our guide to removing plasters painlessly.
How to dress a wound
Before you dress a wound, or change an existing wound dressing, ensure you wash your hands and gather the required wound care supplies.
- If applicable, carefully remove the old dressing: Try not to touch the wound with your fingers. Use a small amount of saline water for any sticky parts. Dispose of the used dressing.
- Clean the wound: Use Elastoplast Wound Spray for the antiseptic cleansing of minor acute wounds. This can also be used for chronic wounds and postoperative wound care as per your doctor’s instructions.
- Let the wound dry: While you wait, check the wound for any signs of infection.
- Apply the new dressing: Without touching the inside, carefully put the dressing over the wound. Depending on the status of the wound, consider applying the Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment first.
- Secure the dressing: If required, hold the dressing in place with a fixation tape, such as the Elastoplast Wide Area Fixation Sensitive.
How often should I change my plaster?
For other types of wound dressings, always listen to your doctor’s advice. Wound dressings for some surgical wounds can be left in place for up to seven days, depending on the wound location. Your nurse or surgeon will tell you how to look after your surgical wound at home.
Please note that, although these were compiled with great care, the tips and advice given on this website by no means substitute medical advice and treatment. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult a doctor and follow medical advice regardless of what you have learned on this website.
Always read carefully and follow the instructions for use or the product leaflets. For further information about our products, please contact us via email at ConsumerRelationsUK@Beiersdorf.com.