Types of Wound Dressings


Wound dressings are different from dry bandages because wound dressings keep the wound moist. Wounds heal more rapidly when moist wound dressings are applied. The moisture in the different types of wound dressings mimic healthy skin and cause the wound to heal faster and more completely.


Alginates get their name because they are derived from kelp and other brown seaweeds. Alginates turn into a non-sticky gel when placed over a draining wound. Gauze or larger bandages hold the alginates into place above a wound and prevent the alginate from drying out as rapidly. Placing the alginates in layers provides more absorbency and ensures the alginates stay wet longer. Some brand names of alginates include Kaltostat, Ropes, and Sorbsan.

Adhesive Wafer Dressings

Also known as, hydrocolloid dressings, adhesive wafer dressings stick directly over wounds and form a gel-like substance when the gelling agents in the dressing interact with drainage from the wound. The gel substance makes an ideal environment for a healing wound. Name brands of adhesive wafer dressings include Tegasorb and DuoDerm CGF.


Used often on new wounds, foam dressings absorb large amounts of fluid and wound drainage. Some foam dressings come with adhesive backings while others require gauze wrapping to stay in place. Foam wound dressing brand names include Lyofoam, Allevyn Adhesive Dressings, and Polymem Non-Adhesive Dressings.

Silicone Foam

Similar to regular foam dressings, silicone foam dressings prevent the wound from sticking to the dressing. This prevents scabs and skin from being disrupted during removal and changing of the dressings. Silicone foam dressings treat wounds with light to heavy drainage. Brand names of silicone foam wound dressings include Tendra Mepilex, Tendra Mepilex Lite, and Tendra Mepitel.


Available in gels, gel covered gauze, or sheets, hydrogel wound dressings require a second dressing to maintain moisture and promote wound healing. Hydrogels offer cooling effects to relieve pain and discomfort. This type of wound dressing is best for wounds with light drainage. Brand names of hydrogel wound dressings include Tegagel, DuoDerm Hydroactive Wound Gel, and Curasol Hydrogel Saturated Dressing.


Absorbent materials in hydrofiber wound dressings interact with wound drainage to create a moist, gel wound covering. Found as pads or ribbon, hydrofiber wound dressings provide care for deep wounds with heavy drainage. Hydrofiber wound dressing controls minor bleeding and stays in place up to a week, depending upon the amount of bleeding and drainage. Hydrofiber wound dressings are offered by the brand name Aquacel Hydrofiber Wound Dressing.

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