5 Types of Wound Dressings and When to Use Them

Category: Medical Information

Whether you’re eager to learn more about different types of wound dressings or you have no idea where to start, maintaining the knowledge of different types of wound dressings and how to use them will likely come in handy one day. Of course, if you find yourself with a severe injury, it’s always best to see a professional doctor or physician as soon as possible. 

Which types of wound dressing best promote healing?

Knowing different kinds of wound dressings can dramatically increase the wound healing process and prevent infection. Follow along to learn more about which types of wound dressing best promote healing.

Complete healing takes time. Our caring team is here to provide the help you need. Contact Haven Health to see what types of care we provide.

Dressing wound on leg with gauze

1. Gauze

Gauze, or cloth, dressings are made of woven cotton fabric in various sizes and shapes. Most common are gauze sponges and rolls of gauze. You can use gauze sponges and gauze rolls depending on the type, size, or location of the wound that needs to be dressed. Gauze sponges absorb excess fluid that injuries can produce from damage. 

Rolls of gauze bandages are generally all-purpose regarding wound care dressing types and are usually inexpensive and widely available.

When to use a gauze wound dressing:

  • On an infected wound
  • On wounds that require wrapping or extra packing
  • On injuries that require frequent dressing changes
  • Injuries that are draining or will have excess discharge

2. Foam

Foam dressings are soft and gentle wound dressings made of polyurethane foam. This dressing will keep moisture in the wound area while protecting the wound from harmful bacteria. The foam dressing’s design will ensure that it will not stick to the wound area. 

Foam dressings can be purchased in either adhesive or non-adhesive forms. By keeping the wound area moist, foam dressings can promote faster healing of the wound area. 

When to use a foam wound dressing:

  • Pressure ulcers
  • Minor burns
  • Skin grafts
  • Diabetic ulcers

3. Transparent Film

Transparent film wound dressings are thin films composed of polymer membranes. These film dressings come in several thickness variations and will have an adhesive on one side of the film dressing. 

The essential function of transparent film dressings is to allow a doctor or physician to actively see and monitor a wound without being exposed to the elements. Additionally, these surgical wound dressing types of bandages protect against liquid, water, and bacteria from entering the damage. 

Patients that have received transparent film wound dressings have claimed that the thin and flexible material is comfortable on the wound and can aid in mobility.

When to use a transparent film wound dressing:

  • On IV sites
  • Lacerations
  • Abrasions
  • Second-degree burns
  • On a surgical incision site

Do you need help recovering from an illness or surgery? Our team can help provide the assistance you need to heal. Contact us today.

4. Hydrocolloid 

Hydrocolloid dressings are absorbent pads that are incredibly flexible. The pads consist of particles like methylcellulose, gelatin, or pectin. When these colloidal particles mix with moisture, they create a gel-like substance that sits in the wound area. The gel made by hydrocolloid wound dressings keeps the wound’s surface moist and promotes faster healing. 

When to use a hydrocolloid wound dressing:

  • On wounds with light to moderate draining
  • Burn wounds
  • Necrotic wounds
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Venous ulcers

5. Hydrogel

A hydrogel wound dressing treats wounds that are too dry or need some extra help healing. Hydrogel acts as a wound dressing that will intentionally add moisture to an injury. The healing rate of a wound is increased when additional moisture is introduced. 

Some hydrogel wound dressings include an additional cooling gel that can add comfort to the patient as their injuries heal. Hydrogel dressings are helpful for various types and sizes of wounds, and their application can be multitudinous. 

When to use a hydrogel wound dressing:

  • On excessive dry wound areas
  • Wounds with dead tissue
  • Painful or necrotic wounds

Dressing wound with bandages

Injuries can result in wounds of all sizes and shapes. Each situation is unique and may require one or multiple wound dressing types. By familiarizing yourself with the different types of wound dressing, you will be more prepared to treat an injury properly. It’s always essential to stay up-to-date on proper types of wound dressings and in which situations to use them. 

If you need help recovering from a surgery or illness Haven Health can help. Our expert team offers a wide range of services and experience to get you the assistance you need. Contact us today to see what we offer and how we can help provide a place to heal.


Sonas Home Health Care. (3 July 2019) Wound Dressing Types. 

Swezey, L. (4 August 2011) Wound Source. Wound Dressing Selection: Types and Usage.