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Different Types of Wound Dressings – What’s Their Purpose?

April 01, 2022
Different Types of Wound Dressings – What’s Their Purpose?

Different Types of Wound Dressings – What’s Their Purpose?

Whether you cut your finger while cooking or graze your knee playing a sport, it becomes a wound once your skin is broken. Grabbing a Band-Aid and sticking it over your damaged skin may be second nature. But here’s the thing- if the wound isn’t cleaned and cared for properly, it can lead to infection. This blog will give you tips and techniques for looking after surgical incisions, cuts, grazes, and abrasions.

What is wound dressing?

Wound treatment and wound dressing depend on several factors, including skin type, wound location, and the severity of the wound. The objective of wound dressing is to:

  • Apply compression to reduce blood flow
  • Reduce pain
  • Immobilise the injured body part
  • Protect the wound, and surrounding tissue
  • Promote the wound healing process.


If you have a severe injury involving a wound or something embedded in it, it’s essential to head to an emergency department or a medical clinic. 

Before you dress a wound at home, it’s essential to clean it using the following steps:

  • Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly
  • Rinse the wound under running tap water for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Soak a gauze pad or swab in tap water, an alcohol-free wipe, or saline solution. Avoid using antiseptic as this could damage the skin.
  • Gently pat the wound dry using a clean towel or tissues. Avoid using fluffy materials like cotton wool balls, as they can get stuck to the wound

Apply a sterile wound dressing. The type of wound dressing you choose will impact how effectively and fast your wounds heal.


Things to consider when choosing the right wound dressing? 

Not all wound dressings are the same. They may look similar, but some wound dressings have different uses to others. Consider the following when choosing the right wound dressing to get the best clinical outcomes.

  1.  How will the wound be cleansed when the wound dressing is changed? Saline solution is a clear, colourless solution that effectively cleans cuts and wounds. 
  2. Will the wound dressing suit the type of wound? Choose wound dressings that are easy to apply and remove. It’s also essential they conform to the body. For example, a wound dressing on your heel will be different from one on your leg.
  3. How much is the wound draining? Choose a wound dressing that will absorb the wound's amount of drainage.
  4. How large is the wound?  Measure the wound’s length, width, and depth in centimetres. To protect the skin around your wound, choose a wound dressing that’s slightly larger than the wound.
  5. How often should the wound dressing be changed? Your wound will heal faster if the wound bed is covered. It’s essential to change your wound dressing daily for hygienic reasons. If your wound isn’t healing, seek medical attention. 


The best wound dressing for an open wound

An open wound leaves the tissues of your body exposed to the external environment. This can increase the risk of bacterial infection. While open wounds may not need medical treatment, it’s essential to keep the wound clean and protected with a wound dressing.

So, what is the best dressing for an open wound? Waterproof dressings, gauze dressings, and elastic crepe bandages can be used to protect the open wound.


Different types of wound dressings?

With so many wound dressing types available, it can be hard to determine which dressing is appropriate for different wounds. Here’s some information about the different types of dressings and when you should use them.

Non-adherent dressings

Non-adherent wound dressings are low adherent wound pads that allow pain-free wound dressing removal. They're primarily used for minor wounds and to protect the fragile tissue in wounds to minimise trauma when the wound dressing is removed or needs changing. Non-adherent dressings are best used for scabbed or draining wounds, first and second-degree burns and skin tears. They’re also used for sensitive and fragile skin, including people with leg ulcers.

Waterproof Dressings

Waterproof dressings offer a transparent, waterproof film layer that serves as a bacterial barrier. With hypoallergenic adhesive, waterproof bandages feature a low irritation risk. They’re suitable for covering sutures, cuts, and grazes.

Some waterproof dressings have a transparent film, making it easy to check for signs of infection without removing the dressing. It’s important to note that these aren’t suitable for infected wounds.

Non-woven combine dressings

Non-woven combine dressings are made from a highly absorbent inner enclosed in a soft and comfortable non-woven covering fabric. These wound dressings are ideal for use as a primary or secondary dressing. They’re also practical for moderating wounds that are exudating (where fluid leaks out of blood vessels into nearby tissues).


Gauze dressings

Gauze dressings are crafted from thick, highly absorbent cotton pads attached to a cotton gauze bandage. This type of dressing protects wounds from infection while controlling wound oozing. 

Elastic crepe bandage 

Elastic crepe bandages are crafted from polyurethane fibres (spandex) and cotton, creating exceptional stretch and memory. This type of wound dressing is comfortable to wear and helps to reduce swelling. As a non-sterile wound dressing, elastic crepe bandages are suitable for sprains and strains, support bandaging and first aid.


Heavy crepe bandage 

Heavy crepe bandages are polyurethane fibres (spandex) and cotton blends. With excellent stretch and memory, this non-sterile wound dressing type:

  • It is comfortable to wear
  • Immobilises an injury to help prevent further pain and injury
  • It is suitable for first aid, joint injuries, ligament injuries and fractures


Where to get the best wound dressings in Australia

Knowing which wound dressings to use for your wound is as essential as allowing it time to heal. For the best range of wound dressings in Australia, our online store offers hundreds of wound care and dressing options, including:

  • Non-adherent dressings
  • Waterproof dressings
  • Non-woven combine dressings
  • Gauze dressings
  • Elastic crepe bandage
  • Heavy crepe bandage

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