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Different Types of Medical Plasters: A Comprehensive Guide

All first aid kits must have plasters, so it's crucial that you always have the appropriate variety on hand. There are many various forms, colors, and sizes of fabric and waterproof plasters available, so choosing the best plaster for the task can significantly increase comfort and durability. It also leads to a faster healing process.

What is a plaster and for what is it used?

Sterile plasters, also known as adhesive dressings, are used to cover minor wounds such as cuts, abrasions, and light bleeding. Such wounds can be shielded from infection and further harm by being protected. 

First aid kit plasters are a necessity in households and offices. Even a minute's delay in an emergency can result in irreparable harm. For typical medical injuries like cuts, burns, and other common injuries, these dressings provide basic and immediate care.

Do wounds heal faster, covered or uncovered?

Contrary to popular belief, wounds heal best with moisture rather than air. The healing process might be slowed down by leaving a wound exposed.

  • Air encourages cell death when it dries out the wound.
  • By keeping the wound covered, the natural moisture that supports cell survival is preserved.
  • Dirt and other particles will be attracted to an exposed cut that is not covered.
  • A moist environment promotes wound healing and reduces the likelihood of scarring.
  • A wound that is left untreated is more likely to hurt.

Types of plaster by material

Depending on the location and injuries suffered, there are many different types of wound dressings. A wound can be treated in a variety of ways based on its depth and location; there is no one particular therapy for all wounds and care varies greatly depending on its depth and placement.


Gauze is loosely woven fabric plaster and used to bandage wounds.

  • Advantages: Gauze bandages may be customized in size, and although they are single use, they are still a great substitute for hypoallergenic plasters that might irritate the skin. Gauze bandages are inexpensive.
  • Disadvantages: Gauze bandages do not adhere to the skin or to wounds well. They are therefore unable to contain fluids or microorganisms in the injury and are also prone to falling off at any time. Increased skin irritability and soreness may result from this.

Wound dressing foam

Foam wound dressing is a secure substitute for gauze. It adheres nicely to the surrounding skin, is simple to use, and has great sealing capabilities.

  • Advantages: The wound bed is covered with foam wound dressing. It encourages more rapid spontaneous healing of soft tissue injuries. By covering the border of the wound and preventing bacterial development in the damaged area, the foam lowers the risk of infection and inflammation.
  • Disadvantages: Foam wound dressings don't stick to dry wound surfaces very well. Latex is another ingredient that could cause an allergic response.


Transparent wound dressings called gel bandages are composed of hydrogels, air bubbles, or wax. These substances transform into a gel-like substance when they come into touch with exposed skin. Gel bandages increase blood flow to the skin's deepest layers thanks to their high-water content.

  • Advantages: Gel bandages are comfortable to wear and adhere nicely to the body. They can survive numerous alterations without losing their effectiveness or hurting skin that is already sensitive. Gel bandages also act as a barrier over cuts to reduce bleeding and stop infection from spreading to deeper tissues.
  • Disadvantages: Bandages that are thick, single-use, and unsterile are used in hydrogel wound dressings. They need to be applied carefully because of their thickness.


Transparent, sticky hydrocolloid bandages are used to cover wounds in a layered fashion. When applied to wounds, hydrocolloid bandages absorb fluid matter while keeping moisture levels stable.

  • Advantages: Hydrocolloid bandages hold the wound together and seal over it to keep dirt from getting into the wounded skin. Additionally, they stop fluids from leaking.
  • Disadvantages: Due to its inability to absorb blood or bacterial infection, hydrocolloid bandages are ineffective for treating deep or infected wounds. They can fall loose and are difficult to keep in place.

Types of plaster by packaging

Medical plasters were developed for direct application to the human body. They consist of different materials, colors, and thicknesses. Various formats are offered for a variety of applications such as waterproof plaster for wounds.

Plaster Shapes

Plasters come in various shapes and sizes, which is useful for covering wounds in different areas. The standard shape of plaster is a long strip to cover small cuts, but they can be awkward for other areas like elbows or not adequate for larger injuries. 

Plaster Colors

You can also choose plasters in different colors, sometimes for practical reasons or just for fun. You might consider plasters in different colors to match your skin tone. Clear plasters work well for any skin tone, and they are discreet.

Tape or Sheets

Plasters come in cohesive roll tape or sheets. A cohesive bandage covers wounds and supports injured joints and muscles and is easy to cut or tear from the roll according to the length needed. Plaster sheets are convenient and come in pre-packaged sizes. It’s worth keeping several different plaster sizes that can be used for a range of wounds.

How to apply a medical plaster?

The procedure is the same regardless of whether you want to apply a square plaster, a surgical plaster, or a first aid plaster.

  1. Clean the wound and dry the surrounding skin area.
  2. The protecting strips should be held by the plaster as you unwrap it, with the pad side facing down.
  3. After gently positioning the pad on top of the wound, peel back the strips to reveal the pad. Make sure not to touch the pad's surface.
  4. Remove the strips, then use your fingers to firmly press the plaster's edges.
  5. To remove the plaster, slowly and gently is the best approach to minimize pain or damage to your skin.

Do medical plasters really help wound recovery?

A moist environment promotes faster wound healing, and antibacterial cream or spray application can also help and keep the wound moist under the plaster. Different types of plasters are available to suit different injuries. But ultimately, the plaster allows a scab to develop and stop the wound from getting bumped or scratched. 

The wound may bleed again, take longer to heal, and there may be a higher chance of scarring if a scab is removed, interrupting the healing process. It's a good idea to regularly replace a bandage or plaster covering the wound.


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