Frequently Asked Questions on Hydrocolloid Dressings


Does a hydrocolloid dressing have any side-effects?
There does not seem to be any pronounced side-effect of a hydrocolloid dressing. There is no noted association of the dressing with allergic contact dermatitis. But, some of these dressings contain the pentaerythritol ester of hydrogenated rosin and this has the sensitizing potential of colophony.
What are hydrocolloid dressings?

A hydrocolloid dressing is a wafer-type dressing comprised of an adhesive compound filled with a gel-forming agent. It is similar to an absorbent, flexible wafer that has the quality of being waterproof and self-adhering. As the dressing is self-adherent, it offers complete protection to the wound bed. It provides a sufficient moist healing environment, an auto debridement process and acts as insulation to the wound bed. Hydrocolloid dressing is a biodegradable and non-breathable dressing. It adheres to the skin therefore no separate taping is required. It appears dense or translucent.

How do hydrocolloid dressings work?

Hydrocolloid dressing uses the body’s own moisture and enzymes to offer a moist healing environment thus keeping the wound bed hydrated for quick healing. The dressing absorbs the wound exudate and forms a gel the properties of which are dependent on the agent present in the compound.

What wound types are hydrocolloid dressings used for?

Hydrocolloid dressings can be used on different types of wounds. They are best on wounds that are non-infected or of partial/full thickness and possess low-to-moderate drainage. These dressings can be used under medical supervision, even in situations when aerobic infection exists. Hydrocolloid dressings can be used in the treatment of pressure ulcers. If used on eczema wounds, these dressings act as a steroid sealing ointment and provide a barrier against scratching. Hydrocolloid dressings can also be used in the treatment of minor or full-thickness burns.

What is the frequency of dressing change?

Hydrocolloid dressing change frequency depends largely on the manufacturer guideline but generally, these dressings have to be changed every 3 to 7 days. They are meant for extended wear up to a week.

How often should hydrocolloid dressings be changed?

Hydrocolloid dressings are easy to use and have to be changed every 3 to 5 days. There is no trauma on removal. This makes it effective for cleaning, granulating, superficial wounds with low-to-medium exudate.