A hydrocolloid dressing is a thin, flexible bandage that uses your body's enzymes to hydrate the wound and promote healing. When the bandage comes into contact with exudate, it absorbs it and turns it into a gel. This encourages autolytic debridement.
Hydrocolloid dressings are best used on wounds producing light to moderate exudate. They are often used to treat surgical incisions, leg ulcers, and pressure injuries, and more. Hydrocolloid dressings should not be used on infected wounds unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
Hydrocolloid bandages contain special gel-forming ingredients such as carboxymethylcellulose or pectin. The gelling action creates a moist environment, helping the wound to heal.
Hydrocolloid bandages often have a polyurethane backing that creates a waterproof seal over the wound. This backing blocks out dirt, bacteria, and other contaminants. Most hydrocolloid dressings can stay on the wound for up to one week, allowing the wound to heal without being disturbed by frequent dressing changes. These bandages do not adhere to the wound, which greatly reduces pain when changing the bandages.