What is Hydrogel Wound Dressing? See its 3 Amazing Types!
You regularly face wounds on your skin due to cuts, burns, or infections. That’s the moment when hydrogel wound dressing comes into use. This dressing has been widely used for years in the medical field. As there is high effectiveness in healing wounds, it’s considered as a great innovation for providing first aid to the injured. Moreover, it also has a positive aspect towards our planet because of its biodegradable manufacturing.
If you’re not much aware of this hydrogel dressing, then this guide will not be less than a blessing in disguise for you. Because, here you will get to reveal how you can apply this dressing to your wounds, on your own. It means you’ve not had to be a nurse or a trained medical practitioner to provide first aid to your loved ones.
So, let’s move on and open the article by understanding what hydrogel and its dressing are actually.
What is Hydrogel?
A hydrogel is basically a network of polymer chains that can absorb and retain liquid with a huge amount. This polymer is available in both natural as well as synthetic forms. For instance, alginate, collagen, and some others express themselves in a great manner.
Moreover, if they tend to combine with some other synthetic hydrogels, the composite polymers will be created and they’re more stable and work effectively. Interestingly, the composite hydrogels are equipped with highly responsive and programmable attributes. Therefore, they’re broadly used in biomedical fields (especially, in the form of hydrogel wound dressing), chemical detectors, and robotics.
A Brief Note On Hydrogel Wound Dressing
The hydrogel wound dressing primarily invented in the 1950s. But they have reported its widespread use for the last forty years, after the 80s. You can say, this is not so old to use.
This wound dressing is non-porous and pertains to the substances which are moist-permeable. As composed of complex hydrophilic (water-loving) polymers, it contains about 90% of water content. Being insoluble polymers, hydrogels grant a moist or hydrated environment to cells for migration and absorb some ooze out.
The hydrogel dressing, as the name denotes, is particularly designed to hydrate wounds, re-hydrate eschar, aid in autolytic debridement, and several other medical purposes.
Major Kinds of Hydrogel Dressings
Basically, hydrogels exclusively aid in healing wounds and tissue damage due to burns or cuts. But as per the particular wound type, there are THREE forms of hydrogel wound dressing available in the market. Let’s briefly talk about them.
1. Amorphous Hydrogels
Amorphous hydrogel dressing is exclusively used for dry necrotic wounds. However, it can also used for several other purposes. Basically, this is a free-flowing dressing and somewhat thicker. It’s particularly designed to heal deeper parts of wounds or punctures. Despite of moe flexible dressing, amorphous hydrogels need a secondary dressing to keep them in their place.
2. Impregnated Hydrogels
Impregnated hydrogel dressing has various wounds applications but are particularly used to heal radiation dermatitis and wounds with necrosis or slough. This dressing is available in a separate gel compound that’s added onto a gauze strip or pad. This gauze pad is laid over the wound or packed inside (for deeper wounds). Moreover, it requires an outer covering to protect the wound and keep it in the place.
3. Sheet Hydrogels
Sheet hydrogel dressing is widely used for various wounds but mainly used for I-II stage burns and I-IV stage pressure ulcers. The gel is available in thin mesh sheets that overlaps between the skin and the wound. There is no any harm to use these sheet hydrogels, even for sensitive skin as well.
Wounds that Heal by Hydrogel Dressing
There are various conditions when you may need hydrogel wound dressing. Usually, if your skin or tissue undergoes any injury, either mild or acute, dressing is the first aid that prevents the blood-loss and healing the wound.
In most cases, people with chronic wounds use harsh dressings that lead to a wound in the chronic stage. Traditional dressing, like gauze, basically sucks the moisture from the wound and sticks to it. While it’s changing, it causes severe skin irruptions and unbearable pain.
BUT hydrogel dressing keeps the wounds (even chronic) hydrated and prevents pain. Moreover, it aids in autolytic debridement, granulation, and epithelization.
The wounds and infectious conditions which need to use hydrogel wound dressing entail;
🩹 Minor Burns
🩹 Dry Wounds
🩹 Slightly moist (partial & full thickness) Wounds
🩹 Painful Wounds
🩹 Skin Abrasions or Partial Thickness Burns
🩹 Granulating Wounds
🩹 Lowe Limb Ulcers
🩹 Radiation Damage to Skin
🩹 Slough or Eschar Wounds
Or some other medical conditions may require this hydrogel dressing.
See the Functions of Hydrogel Dressing
There are several healing functionalities that hydrogel dressing exhibits but the given infographic can help you to analyze; how hydrogel dressing heals the wounds, more profoundly.
How to Use Hydrogel Wound Dressing
By the way, any wound needs proper care and dressing aids in this case. But each dressing has its own directions to use that can work efficiently. For hydrogel wound dressing, there are also some specific directions. If you follow them, you have no need any nurse to doing this job. Yes! You can do it at your own place with the condition to have a proper dressing as per your wound nature.
See the instructions and keep them in your mind when you face any injury that cause wounds.
- Thoroughly wash your hands with tap water
- Clean the area of wound with sterile cotton pad
- Get the dressing off to its packaging
- Use a clean and sterile scissors to cut the dressing
- Make sure wound covers properly (so cut the dressing accordingly)
- Peel off the dressing back
- Lay the dressing over the burn or wound
- Use surgical or adhesive tape or a bandage to wrap and fix the dressing
Afterward, change the dressing within the 3 days or as per the condition of wound.
Are Hydrogel Dressings Eco-Friendly?
Apart from the widely use of hydrogel wound dressing in medical field, there is a question may arise about its eco-friendliness. The main aspect is that it all depends on the manufacturing of hydrogels. For this TWO aspects are there.
👉 All the hydrogels that made by synthetic materials are not eco-friendly. Like dressing made with polyvinyl alcohol, polyacrylamide, or polyethylene glycol are difficult to break down and still persist in the environment.
👉 Besides the former one, there are various hydrogels available in the market that are made by biodegradable materials. For instance, agar, aloe vera, carrageenan, or gelatin are easily break down in the environment. Moreover, their manufacturing requires less energy and sources which is a hallmark of sustainability.
In a nutshell, hydrogel wound dressing is such a great eco-friendly addition to your first aid box. Because they are typically based on plant-based sources and gental on your skin.
Whenever your skin burns or cuts that lead to wounds, use hydrogel wound dressing rather than traditional harsh dressings. This actively heals the wounds by providing more moist environment and retain for longer. Apart from this, they are easily available in the market in cost-efficient prices. Whereas its demand is going to high due to its eco-friendly nature as well. Although it depends on the material that used to make it. But the efficacy is not compromised in both synthetic and natural hydrogels. So, use them anyone. However, natural ones are more preferable.