October 11, 2020 scarwoundcentre

Quit Wasting Hydrocolloid Dressings

Nurse hand patching mole removal surgery incision as epidermal birthmark concept

A Hydrocolloid dressing is a bioactive dressing that when exposed to wound exudate forms a gel. Typically, a hydrocolloid dressing is a flexible, polyurethane wafer, which consists of gelatin or carboxymethylcellulose that acts as an absorbent filter. It is resistant to both water and bacteria making it an advanced wound dressing. Hence, the advanced dressing creates a moist and insulated environment that prepares the wound to allow for optimal healing. The hydrocolloid dressing is required to only be changed every 3 to 7 days, therefore, this allows for less disruption to the wound. Infrequent changes minimize the pain associated with dressing changes and promote faster healing of the wound.

Although Hydrocolloid dressings may be used for various exudative wounds and are very versatile, they are expensive. By simply adding HyTape to a wound dressing routine, it can help in reducing waste, lessen the risk of skin maceration, save cost and most importantly – improve patient outcomes.

Choosing the Right Dressings for the Wound

Though versatile, hydrocolloids dressings can not be used on every wound. The absorbency of the dressing is limited. This is why it should be used for wounds with partial to full thickness and that produce low to moderate amounts of exudate. They are also recommended for pressure ulcers and are good with wounds that have slough and/or necrosis. There are also non-adherent hydrocolloid dressings in the market which can be used for certain types of superficial burns.

Using hydrocolloid dressings is not recommended to be used for wounds that excrete extensive amounts of exudate. It is also not advisable to use it on wounds that need to be frequently checked or are still infected. Though Hydrocolloid dressings can also be used for certain diabetic foot ulcers, It should be used with extreme caution, foot ischemia and infection are contraindications.

Using Hydrocolloid Dressings Effectively

Before choosing the size and shape of your hydrocolloid dressing, make sure to determine if your wound is suitable for it. It must be cleansed with a sterile saline solution and then dried off by using sterile gauze. To allow the dressing to conform better on the wound, warm it by using your clean gloved hands. Next, discard its backing and bend it down a little in the middle. Finally, carefully apply it to your wound by applying firm yet gentle pressure when you smooth it out from the centre until the edges. Due to the fact that the edges of hydrocolloid dressings often roll and curl, you can use HyTape to “frame” it.

Importance of Applying HyTape to Hydrocolloid Dressings

Since HyTape almost has the same properties as a hydrocolloid dressing, it has become a fitting choice to use along with it. Resembling a hydrocolloid dressing, HyTape is waterproof and washable hence it can be used by patients when taking a bath or shower and can be cleaned with water and soap. When it hits the patient’s body temperature, It also conforms to the skin therefore able to adapt to the wound’s shape no matter how unique it is. Though having a strong adhesive that can withstand even rigorous wound care, HyTape is gentle on the skin and is latex-free. It helps soothe the skin and can easily be removed when it needs to be replaced. 

The great thing also about HyTape is that it’s inexpensive compared to Hydrocolloid dressings. It can help extend the life of expensive ones hence minimizing waste. It is the perfect combination to use with Hydrocolloid dressings provided it is used

Stop using Hydrocolloid Dressings with Adhesive Borders

Hydrocolloid dressings are designed with mild adhesive to non-adhesive because they must be removed and pulled away easily from the affected area. The problem is, it can’t securely adhere to the wound without proper support. This is why some Hydrocolloid dressings have an adhesive border so that it covers the wound while being able to adhere to the skin. When used in clinical procedures, it costs more and causes more waste. Most importantly, Hydrocolloid dressings with an adhesive border are limited to fit the shape of a wound. Skin maceration can occur when it overlaps. This is why it is better to use a Hydrocolloid dressing and an appropriate tape (such as HyTape) to secure it to healthy skin.


Hydrocolloid dressing is perfect for sloughy and/or necrotic wounds and also one’s that excretes a moderate amount of exudate. These types of dressings encourage autolytic debridement by maintaining a moist, insulated environment. Though by design, it is not meant to be attached directly to a wound as its edges tend to roll. This is the reason why using a high-quality tape together with this expensive dressing is essential. HyTape is perfect and an ideal choice to use with Hydrocolloid dressing. It’s waterproof, can be removed easily, and skin-friendly. HyTape can be cut to the unique shape of the wound, hence reduces hydrocolloid dressing waste.

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