skin protectant applied under dressing

Skin protectant for wound care

Skin protectant plays an important role in wound care

Skin protectant is a thin barrier or layer which can be applied to damaged skin or to skin which is at risk of damage. The protectant provides a protective layer on the skin and enhances the healing process as well as protects the wound. Most skin protectants can be used together with dressings.

In this article we focus on skin protectant systems and their uses in wound care and damage prevention.

About wound healing

Wound healing is a process where the damaged skin repairs itself. The process consists of four main phases being: blood clotting, inflammation, tissue growth and tissue remodelling. Not only is the healing process complex, but also fragile and vulnerable to infections and reinjuries. Therefore wound care and wound management play an important role in the healing process. Many products including adhesives dressings and skin protectants can be used to support the process.

When to use a skin protectant

A skin protectant is a spray or film barrier applied directly to damaged skin or skin likely to be injured if not protected. Skin protectants form a barrier between the skin and the external threats. It is impermeable to external fluids yet breathable. Skin protectants facilitate wound healing by creating an environment beneficial for the process: the wound can breath while at the same time moist healing conditions are retained.

Skin protectants are generally not suitable for deep wounds or second or third degree burns. However, they can be used in numerous other situations such as the following.

skin protectant not applied, irritaion by medical adhesives
Skin protectant can be applied to protect the skin from potential irritatation caused by medical adhesives.
  • Protection from medical adhesives: wound care often requires use of adhesives. Also those that are suitable for long term wear, usually up to 7 days. Some of these adhesives, especially acrylic-based, are known for higher risk of skin irritation. Skin protectants can be applied direct to skin, forming a sort of a primer for the adhesive in order to prevent irritation.
  • Peristomal skin damage: skin protectant can be applied to problem stomas which could otherwise contribute to fast skin erosion. The protective barriers are suitable when the stoma is in a difficult location or has high output.
  • Periwound skin damage: the skin around a wound (periwound skin) can become damaged especially when the wound produces large quantities of drainage, in other words is infected. The surrounding skin can be protected with an appropriate skin barrier which enhances the healing of the periwound skin. Note that most skin protectants cannot be applied directly to the wound.
  • Pressure ulcer/ injury: this refers to localized damage to skin and underlying tissue usually occurring on bony prominence or as a consequence of a medical device. Here a skin protectant can protect from moisture, friction and shear.

For more information on different types of skin protectans for various purposes, contact us. We are happy to help you out.

Benefits of skin protectants

Most skin protectant systems are made of special elastomeric polymers. Some of them are based on cyanoacrylate, the same ingredient that gives super glue its properties. Next to superior but non-irritant adhesion to skin, the protectants have plenty of other benefits.

  • Breathability: one of the most important criteria for wound healing is breathability. Therefore also skin protectants allow the wound or skin breath at all times.
  • Prevent cross contamination: most skin protectants are placed through a single use applicator, which prevents cross contamination.
  • Maintain moist healing environment: usually skin protectants that are meant for already damaged skin prevent drying and allow the skin remain moist.
  • Bioactivity: the most important benefit of innovative skin protectants is their bioactivity which means that they do not need to be removed but rather dissolve by themselves.

Looking for a supplier of skin protectants?

Skin protectants are suitable for several wound healing and prevention activities. In case you are curious about how the barriers can ease the pain of your patients and speed up the healing process, contact us and let us connect you with the industry-leading suppliers of skin protectants.


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