Hydrocolloid dressings contain ingredients that form a gel when they mix with bodily fluids, such as pus. They create a moist, protective environment for wounds to heal. Some also use hydrocolloid patches to treat acne.
Hydrocolloid dressings are available in a variety of formats. They consist of a material such as a film or foam that has an adhesive on one side. A person sticks the dressing to the skin and leaves it there until it is time to remove or change it.
In this article, learn more about hydrocolloid dressings, including how they work, how to apply them, and how people can use them for acne.
Hydrocolloid dressings, bandages, and patches are products that help people cover and protect wounds. The term “hydrocolloid” refers to the special ingredients in these products that turn into a gel when they mix with liquids.
Hydrocolloid dressings, bandages, and patches have two layers. The inner layer absorbs substances that seep out of wounds, such as pus.
The outer layer is a film, a foam, or a combination of both. It forms a seal to prevent bacteria and debris from getting into the wound.
Hydrocolloid dressings can be non-permeable or semipermeable. Non-permeable bandages do not allow air or moisture inside, while semipermeable ones allow air inside but not moisture.
The term “hydrocolloid” refers to a group of substances that are soluble in water and can thicken liquids. In hydrocolloid dressings, companies may use gelatin or sodium carboxymethyl cellulose as the hydrocolloid agent.
When a wound secretes fluid, the hydrocolloid mixes with it to form a gel. According to older research from
- facilitate the body’s breakdown of damaged tissue
- encourage the formation of connective tissue and collagen
- maintain a consistent temperature around the wound
- maintain an acidic pH level in the wound, which reduces bacterial growth
- provide a barrier against bacteria from the environment, reducing the risk of infection
Hydrocolloid dressings provide wound care for the following:
- surface wounds
- skin ulcers
- first and second degree burns
- abrasions, or wounds from scraping
- donor sites
Moreover, doctors may use them to protect undamaged skin that is at risk of developing a wound, or skin that is just starting to show damage from friction.
People also use hydrocolloid patches for acne.
There is not much research on how hydrocolloid dressings compare with other types of dressings. However, the research that does exist suggests they may have unique benefits in certain situations.
The authors of a
After evaluating nine studies, they did not find enough evidence to prove that hydrocolloid dressings offered superior benefits.
Research from 2021 examined whether a one-time hydrocolloid dressing following skin surgery resulted in better outcomes than conventional daily dressings.
The authors conclude that the hydrocolloid dressing may improve scar appearance and potentially provide more comfort and convenience.
An older 2011 study involving 62 participants compared the effectiveness of hydrocolloid dressings with traditional dressings for treating skin grafts. The results indicate that hydrocolloid dressings are effective in securing skin grafts and link to lower complication rates and shorter treatment times.
Overall, more research is necessary to verify whether hydrocolloid bandages are better than other wound dressings for certain conditions.
Hydrocolloid bandages and patches have become a popular remedy for acne. Proponents claim the dressings can absorb pus inside the pore, speeding up healing and reducing the size of the spot.
Additionally, covering acne with patches or dressings prevents a person from popping or picking it, which may protect the skin from further damage.
The participants who used the hydrocolloid dressings showed a statistically significant larger reduction in inflammation and acne severity. They also experienced considerably more improvement in oiliness and pigmentation. This is when the skin around the wound becomes darker.
The authors conclude that hydrocolloid dressing may improve mild to moderate inflammatory acne. However, as this was a very small trial, further research is necessary to confirm whether this type of dressing is an effective way to speed healing.
Can you use hydrocolloid patches with other acne treatments?
Hydrocolloid products contain an absorbent ingredient. Therefore, it is best not to use them immediately after applying other acne treatment, as the patch or dressing may absorb it.
Instead, people can apply acne treatment, such as benzoyl peroxide or retinoids, after they remove the hydrocolloid patch.
Individuals may wish to ask a dermatologist to recommend a treatment regimen for them.
How people use hydrocolloid dressings, bandages, and patches depends on the situation and the type of product they are using.
For wounds, it is best to follow the instructions on the packet. Alternatively, a person can ask a healthcare professional for guidance.
For acne treatment, hydrocolloid patches can be the most convenient option, as they are small and may help make the acne less visible. These patches may work best on acne lesions that are near the surface of the skin, particularly if the lesion has a “head,” which is an opening that allows it to drain.
- Gently cleanse the skin. Do not scrub or rub the acne.
- Pat dry with a clean towel or face cloth. Make sure the skin is completely dry.
- Take one patch and apply it to the spot, sticky side down. Press for a few seconds to secure it.
- Leave on until the patch turns white.
When a person removes the patch, the spot may look flatter, less inflamed, and less swollen. If necessary, they can apply another patch to absorb more pus, or leave it to heal on its own.
Side effects from hydrocolloid dressings appear unlikely. The participants in the
However, skin irritation may be a possibility, as it is with all topical products. If any irritation occurs, individuals should remove the patch immediately and wash the skin to remove any leftover adhesive.
Hydrocolloid dressings, bandages, and patches create a moist yet protective environment that fosters skin healing. They do this through the use of a hydrocolloid, which is a substance that can absorb liquids and turn them into a gel.
Healthcare professionals use hydrocolloid dressings to care for an array of wounds, such as pressure sores and abrasions. Some people also use smaller hydrocolloid patches to treat acne. An older
To use hydrocolloid dressings, people can follow the instructions on the product label. If any irritation occurs or if a person’s acne is too deep or severe to benefit from hydrocolloid patches, it is advisable to consult a doctor.