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What exactly is a hydrocolloid dressing?

Hydrocolloid dressings are a combination of the following components:

Elastomerics: gives dressing the flexibility qualities you see when pulling the lid from a paint can and the paint stretches some distance before releasing.

Adhesives: provides the dressing an ability to "stick" to the skin surrounding the wound bed.

Gelling Agents: although there may be a gel like feel to the dressing it retains the ability to absorb exudate.

The hydrocolloid dressings brought about by the ostomy skin barrier world have been found to work well on the skin around the ostomy for healing and maintaining integrity. Hydrocolloids are an adhesive material and will adhere to moist skin as well as dry. The hydrocolloid does not usually adhere to the moist wound bed. As the exudate is absorbed the hydrocolloid forms a viscous, colloidal gel (begins to melt) which is easily irrigated from the wound bed.

The hydrocolloid is available in many shapes and sizes and is easily conformed to body contours. If the dressing is cut then a tape or other adhesive is needed to keep the edges from rolling. The hydrocolloid should extend past the margins of the wound at least one inch. The dressing should at minimum be held in pace agains the skin to bring it up to temperature.

Some manufacturers advise the dressing to be held between gloved hands for 60 seconds prior to application to improve adhesion.

Do NOT use hydrocolloids in areas that are subjected to pressure and possible rolling of the dressing. According to Bryant and Nix (2012), the hydrocolloid should not be prescribed if the wound is to be assessed more than twice per week due to wear time and reimbursement .

Hydrocolloid are indicated for wounds with minimum to moderates amount of exudate. Contraindications include third-degree burns, wounds with dry black tissue, infected wounds, and wounds that have a large amount of exudate.

How to order Hydrocolloids and other wound dressings through Halo Wound Solutions

  • Download Halo's one page order form at

  • Choose Halo when ordering through iHeal, Wound Expert and Intellicure

  • Contact your Halo rep to customize the process

  • Halo's Customer Service team is standing by to answer any questions as well!

Halo Service Team

Phone: 888-711-2014

Fax: 888-841-7081

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