Hydrocolloid Dressings - Pads, Foam, Gel, Alginate, Silver

Hydrocolloid dressings are an advanced wound dressing constructed with pectin, carboxymethylcellulose, and polymers. Some dressings have an adhesive added to the border, laminated to film or foam. They are generally used for moderately draining wounds. What makes these dressings unique is their soft, absorptive wafers that become gel-like over time to help with the healing process. Our selection includes quality products from top brands.
Best Hydrocolloid Dressing
Types of Hydrocolloid Dressings
Hydrocolloid Dressing Summary
Guide to Hydrocolloid Dressings
Advantges and Disadvantages and Hydrocolloid FAQ's

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Wound Healing Benefits of Hydrocolloid Dressings

These dressings offer many advantages for wound healing. Its design is waterproof and self-adhering. They repel water and seal the wound from external contaminants. Many of these dressings are self-adhesive to the skin around the wound. They absorb light to moderate exudate and are available in many different shapes and sizes. These dressings also come in different thicknesses. Dressing changes are less frequent than with many other dressings, requiring changes only every 3 to 5 days. Fewer changes reduce wound trauma and patient anxiety often experienced with dressing removal and replacement.

List of Types

  • Hydrocolloid Pads
  • Thin Hydrocolloid Dressing
  • Hydrocolloid Adhesive
  • Silver Hydrocolloid Dressing
  • Hydrocolloid Gel Bandage
  • Hydrocolloid Sheet
  • Alginate Hydrocolloid Dressing
  • Sacral Hydrocolloid Dressing
  • Hydrocolloid Foam Dressing
  • Hydrocolloid Ointment
  • Transparent Hydrocolloid
  • Occlusive Hydrocolloid Dressing
  • Hydrocolloid Water Dressing
  • Hydrocolloid Acne Dressing


Product Summary

Construction Properties Wound Types
gelatin flexible and body conforming partial thickness
pectin easy application full thickness
film backing easy removal low to moderate exudating
foam backing light to moderate absorption grandular
opaque does not adhere to wound necrotic
transparent occlusive  



  • Partial to full thickness wounds
  • Grandular wound
  • Necrotic wound
  • Moist or dry wound sites
  • Low to moderate draining wounds


  • Infected wounds
  • Diabetic patients

Dressing Characteristics

  • Occlusive
  • Flexible
  • Adheres to the skin, not the wound
  • Absorbs low to moderate exudate
  • Opaque (some companies are beginning to make transparent—Coloplast Comfeel Plus and MPM Medical Excel)


Advantages & Disadvantages


  • Promotes a moist environment for healing
  • Provides autolytic debridement of necrotic wounds
  • Highly absorbent
  • Waterproof
  • Fewer dressing changes (3 to 7 days)
  • Offers faster healing
  • Offers less pain
  • Lowers risk of infection (impermeable to external contaminants)
  • Will not traumatize skin upon removal
  • Easy to apply
  • Does not adhere to the wound
  • Some are adhesive-dressings that adhere to surrounding skin to seal off the wound
  • Flexible and conforming


  • Not for wounds with heavy exudate
  • Not for infectious wounds
  • May cause hypergranulation
  • Possible skin maceration
  • May promote the growth of anaerobic bacteria
  • Not the best choice for patients with fragile skin
  • Maybe challenging to stay in position
  • Sometimes produces odor
  • Not for use upon foot wounds of diabetic patients


Product Characteristics

Debridement Moisture
autolytic light to moderate
occlusive flexible

3 to 5 days

no no
  high vapor
keeps out
external contaminants
body conforming easy dressing
  maintains moist
impermeable to water   does not stick
to wound

provides thermal

    reduces infection risk        



What is a hydrocolloid dressing?

This wound care product is known for its flexibility and its occlusive design. It repels water and keeps out harmful substances, including bacteria. The bandage offers a moist wound environment to promote healing.

What are hydrocolloid dressings used for?

This dressing treats partial and full thickness wounds.  It is a very flexible dressing that contours to the body, making it a good choice for awkward areas such as elbows and heels.

  • autolytic debridement
  • light to moderate exudate
  • maintains a moist wound environment
  • thermal insulation
  • impermeable to water
  • bacteria barrier
  • reduces infection rates
  • conforming bandage

Types of wounds served

  • Burns
  • Pressure Ulcers
  • Blisters
  • Boils
  • Sutures
  • Abrasions

When should hydrocolloid dressings be used?

This wound treatment protects grandular and necrotic wounds. It should not be used on infected wounds unless it has an added antimicrobial agent such as silver.

Types of Hydrocolloid Dressings

  • Gelatin
  • Pectin
  • Film Backing
  • Foam Backing
  • Transparent
  • With or Without Border


Top Manufacturers and Brands

Best Hydrocolloid Dressings

Ranking the Best Hydrocolloid Dressings (by sales)

  • 3M Tegaderm
  • ConvaTec DuoDERM
  • 3M Nexcare
  • Coloplast Comfeel
  • Medline Exuderm
  • Coloplast Contreet
  • Hollister Restore
  • Smith & Nephew RepliCare
  • Systagenix Nu-Derm
  • DermaSciences Medihoney
  • DermaRite DermaFilm
  • Hartmann USA Flexicol



Medical Studies




Using This Wound Care Product Video (4:02 minutes)



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