Types of Dressings for Burn Wounds

Burn Wounds
Burn Awareness

A wound, no matter a cut or a burn needs to be taken care properly and immediately. A burn wound is judged by the severity of the burn, like the area affected by the burn, depth of the burn, time and location of the burn. The cause of the burn can be heat, chemical interaction, fire, or friction. For all the types of burn wounds, there are different types of burn wound dressings available that are placed in contact with the open wound to reduce further harm.

Moist dressings are mostly considered suitable for second-degree burns as first-degree burns do not require such dressings. For second-degree burns, the area should be kept moist and protected, keeping the comfort of patient foremost.The types of dressings mentioned below help the wound heal by reducing the risk of infection.

Low Adherent Dressing:

Low Adherent Dressing

This soft silicone wound contact layer absorbs the excess fluid from the wound and provides a barrier to infection. Allowing the skin to breathe properly, this dressing is like a cushion for the wound. It can be easily removed from the wound without any pain.

Hydrocolloid Dressing:

Hydrocolloid dressing is easy to apply that maintains a moist environment around the wound and promotes healing. Applied for three to five days, this dressing contains pectin, cellulose, and gelatin particles. The comfort and reduced pain are its results, due to which a patient can bath without the risk of being contamination of burn wound. Moreover, the dressing changes over time and requires minimal maintenance.

Hydrogel Dressing:

This dressing is applied for blistering wounds and provides adequate moisture to the wound. By adding water molecules to the wound, it keeps the tissues hydrated. A loosely wrapped gauze layer is required to keep this layer in its place. The hydrating polymer layer of the dressing reduces pain by keeping the wound cool.


When suffering from venous ulcers, stage III or IV pressure ulcers, or wound drainage; alginate is used as a dressing. It has gelling and thickening properties. Produced from the fibers of brown seaweed, this dressing dissolves on the wound and forms a gel to maintain the moist environment. A loose gauze dressing is also required for it. With a moist wound bed, the dressing gets removed easily. Made of biodegradable material, the dressing reduces the risk of bacterial infection.



Collagen dressing is considered a good option to heal the partial thickness wound. Skin grafts, second-degree burns and burns with the large area affected are treated with this dressing. It can be in a form of powder or gel. The moist environment created by the dressing promotes cell creation, tissue growth and absorbs fluids. Experts say that this dressing should not be used for the persons with skin allergies and irritations. It is not considered suitable for dry wounds.

Foam Dressings:

Prepared with the blend of semi-permeable polyurethane, foam dressings provide proper moisture to the wound. The entry of moisture into the wound prevents the spread of bacteria and other infections. Pressure ulcers and lacerations are treated with this dressing along with another exudate. It is not suitable for dry wounds and third-degree burns.

Transparent film dressing:

Transparent film dressing

Applied to keep away excess water and other contaminants, this dressing is highly flexible in terms of their adherence to the wound. This dressing is apt for all the locations of the body. But they do not work well on the wounds with high exudate or moist wound.

For second-degree burns, there are some points that need to be kept in mind while applying dressing:

  • Wash and clean the burn with a wound cleanser.
  • Occlusive dressings should be avoided as they can promote infection by allowing non-drainage of exudates.
  • If the fingers are burnt, the dressing should be done to the individual fingers to stop the spread of infection.
  • While applying dressing on the joints, make sure that there is enough space for motion.

A proper care and immediate treatment when combined with an effective burn wound dressing contribute more to an early cure of the wound.For emergency care, first aid treatment would do the work for the victim. All the above mentioned dressings are marked for different types of wounds; hence, care needs to be taken when selecting the right dressing.

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