Dressing Types

This page contains details of dressing products that are suitable and commonly used for minor burn care in Victoria.

Standard Dressings

Silicone Dressings:

These types of dressings are coated with soft silicone wound contact layer which allows for removal without re-trauma to the wound or surrounding tissue. They are suitable for all types of minor superficial dermal burns that do not require anti-microbial dressings. They are not absorbent however, absorptive secondary dressings can manage the considerable exudate expected in the initial days after injury. They are more expensive then other types of dressings but have considerably longer wear time for up to 7 days. If the burn requires frequent assessment or debridement following injury, silicone dressings would be an expensive option to choose as they would be replaced more frequently, other product should be considered.

Silicone products available on the Australia market include: Mepitel; Mepitel One and Mepitel Transfer

Foam Dressings

Foam dressings are polyurethane covered foam dressings that are non-adherent, available in various sizes and thicknesses with or without protective borders. They can absorb water and maintain a moist interface at the wound surface, and are permeable to water vapour but restricts environmental pathogens. Foam dressings are useful for moderately or heavily exuding wounds. They are not suitable for lightly exuding wounds as they dry the burn out. They can be left intact for several days depending on the amount of wound moisture, and if they do not have an inbuilt border, they will need to be secured with tape.

Foam dressing products which are available in Australia include Allevyn Gentle Border; Allevyn Life; Wound Aid Foam; Mepilex; Mepilex Border; Mepilex XT; Biatain Silicone; Biotin Adhesive; Biatain Soft Hold; Biatain Super Adhesive;

Alginate Dressings

Alginate dressings are highly absorbent, biodegradable  products derived from seaweed that are used to absorb wound exudate. The high absorption is achieved via strong hydrophilic gel formation, and they maintain a moist wound environment that promotes healing and the formation of granulation tissue. They are useful for moderate to heavily exuding wounds.

Alginate dressing products that are available on the Australian Market include Algisite M; Kaltostat; Melgisorb

Hydrogel Dressings

Gel dressings are predominantly made of water and are designed to donate moisture to the wound. They are useful for dry wounds to create a moist wound environment to promote wound healing, they are also useful for burns which contain slough as it will moisten the slough and facilitate debridement. Gels come is sheets or creams and both require secondary dressings. The high water content can be soothing for the wound which has benefits for superficial burns which are usually painful. Hydrogels are useful for epidermal burns such as sunburn, the creams are soothing especially during the first 48 hours when it is painful, and can reapplied as required.

Gel dressing products which are available on the Australian market include Solosite; Intrasite; Solugel; Normlgel; Purilon Gel

Gel Dressings with Melaleuca

These are hydrogel dressings with the addition of melaleuca. They provide moisture to the wound as other hydrogel dressings do, and with the addition of melaleuca they can minimise the risk of infection and help to reduce pain as melaleuca has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. These products are not recommended best practice for burn first aid, but they are a suitable dressing for minor superficial burns, after first aid has been completed, particularly if pain is the biggest problem for the patient. They definitely do not replace analgesia but can contribute to pain relief.

Hydrogel with Melaleuca products which are available in Australia include Burn Aid, Burn Shield, Water Gel.

Hydrocolloid Dressings

Hydrocolloid dressings are self adhering wafer style dressings which can absorb exudate and maintain a moist wound healing environment, and are useful for lightly to moderate exuding wounds. They are impermeable to environmental contaminants and are easy to apply and remove without re-trauma. They can autolytically debride and are useful or for moist wounds that have sleigh or non-viable tissue that need to be removed to facilitate wound closure. They can be left intact for 3 – 5 ays or until there is strikethrough. The patient should be advised that the dressing is expected to change colour and form as moisture is absorb and autolytic debridement occurs underneath.

Hydrocolloid dressings which are available in Australia include Replicare, Wound Aid Hydrocolloid; Comfeel Plus Transparent, Comfeel Plus Ulcer; DuoDERM Signal Dressing; DuoDERM Extra Thin; DuoDERM CGF.


Low Adherence dressings

Low adherent dressings are usually fine weave tulle dressings impregnated with a non-petroleum based substance such as Vaseline. They require more frequent dressing change than other products, make useful secondary dressings over hydrogels if required, and are low adherent on removal.

Low adherence dressings that are available in Australia include Atrauman, Jelonet, Cuticerin

Silver Dressings

This section is under construction and will be available shortly. Thanks for your patience.

The Alfred Hospital gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support and contribution of Skilled Medical in funding this project.  For more information on Skilled Medical, please visit www.skilledmedical.com
Supported by:

Ambulance Victoria The Alfred Victorian Adult Burn Services at The Alfred The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne