How do dressings help wounds heal?

When your body is injured, either by a cut, trauma or for any other reason that causes a wound, the tissue needs time to heal. For serious wounds, your health care provider will evaluate the injury and choose dressings that are specifically designed to aid in the healing process.

Here are five general ways wound dressings support your body’s natural healing process.


#1 Wound dressings keep the wound at the right moisture level.

For a wound to heal, the area needs to have the right amount of moisture. For example, too much fluid in the wound (called exudate) – and the exudate may harbor harmful bacteria. Too little moisture, and the body’s natural healing mechanisms can’t work properly. Through choosing dressings, often more than one type, health care providers try to create the optimal moisture level for healing.


#2 Wound dressings fight infection.

Depending on the type of wound you have, the dressings include features to keep the wound clean and healthy. Some dressings, like foam, keep the excess fluid away from the wound. Other dressings shield the wound from outside bacteria and germs that could lead to infection.


#3 Wound dressings manage fluid.

Dressings are designed for different purposes when it comes to managing fluid. For example, many hydrocolloid dressings combine with wound fluid to form a moist, gel-like substance that aids in healing. Foam dressings, on the other hand, allow the exudate to pass through the dressing, which then absorbs the extra fluid. Often different dressing types will be combined to best promote wound healing.


#4 Wound dressings protect the area from outside contamination.

Dressings keep the injured area from being exposed to bacteria in the environment. In most cases, a protected wound heals faster.


#5 Wound dressings are gentle on your skin.

Dressings come in a variety of materials and options, including some that are adhesive and others that are non-adhesive. Some adhesive dressings are specially designed not to tug or pull at the skin and to come off easily. Other adhesive dressings may contain silicone or other patented technologies that provide some direct adhesion to the skin but can be removed without pulling at the skin at all. Non-adhesive dressings are typically designed to not adhere to the skin at all, and are used with a secondary dressing or tape, which will hold the dressing in place.


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Wound care 101
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