Blisters 6 min read

Hydrocolloid Plaster: Mode of Action

Hydrocolloid Plaster: Mode of Action Hydrocolloid Plaster: Mode of Action Hydrocolloid Plaster: Mode of Action

There are several types of hydrocolloid plaster that treat different types of uninfected wounds such as low exudate wounds, bedsores, superficial burns, leg ulcers1….

Compeed® plasters are hydrocolloid plasters.

A hydrocolloid plaster contains an active gel to absorb fluid from the wound (called exudate), creating and maintaining a moist environment that helps facilitate healing.

Hydrocolloid technology: mode of action in Compeed® products

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The Compeed® range of hydrocolloid plasters are specifically designed to help treat and/or help relieve pain caused by blisters, cold sores, corns, calluses and bunions. Each Compeed® plaster is generally designed for a specific area of the body (heel, mouth, toe, sole of the foot, etc.). The hydrocolloid plaster technology used in these plasters helps protect the skin against friction and pressure thanks to its cushioning effect, which can relieve pain and facilitate wound healing or in the case of corns, helps soften the corn to aid removal. Compeed® plasters act like a second skin and should remain in place to optimise the healing process.

Hydrocolloid technology can also be used to help treat cold sores. During an outbreak of cold sores, the Compeed® cold sores patch, thanks to its ultra-fine hydrocolloid technology, will treat the cold sore like a wound. By absorbing exudates from the lesion and maintaining a moist environment, it will reduce scarring and facilitate healing and relieve pain. The patch will also protect the cold sore from the risk of contamination and make it less visible.

Why does healing in a moist environment with Compeed® facilitate healing?

Healing in a dry environment:

When a wound is left open or treated with a regular plaster, healing takes place in a dry environment. After a wound has occurred, the healing process is immediately initiated: after stopping any bleeding, the blood vessels dilate to release fluid (exudate) and a number of cells needed to clean the wound and repair the lesion. Thus resulting in a moist environment that is more conducive to the functioning and development of the cells responsible for the healing process. At the end of this phase, the vessels will contract stopping the leakage of liquid or exudate. This will cause the wound to dry out and promote the formation of a thick crust (scab) in order to protect the wound from external infections. In a dry environment, healing must therefore take place under this crust, which slows down the process because the cells involved in the healing process need water for their functioning and regeneration. Healing in a dry environment may slow down the healing process and can be more painful2.

Healing in a wet environment:

The hydrocolloid plaster, absorbs and retains wound fluid, which keeps the wound moist whilst protecting it. This moist environment allows “cleansing” cells to move more easily to the wound, reducing local inflammation and promoting the production of collagen, a component of the skin. The cells involved in the healing process therefore develop better through maintaining a moist environment2.

Compeed® Hydrocolloid Technology


How does a hydrocolloid plaster such as Compeed® act on a blister?

A blister is a type of wound and the hydrocolloid technology will therefore help it to heal fast.

  1. The plaster contains hydrocolloid particles. These hydrocolloid particles are distributed throughout the plaster and absorb fluid from the wound (exudate). They help maintain an optimal moisture level to facilitate healing. During treatment, the hydrocolloid particles swell which creates a cushioning effect, redistributing pressure and providing instant pain relief.
  2. The hydrocolloid plaster is composed of a polyurethane film. It is flexible and adapts to the surface to be covered to help mobility. It protects the wound from contamination by external bacteria, thus helping to reduce the risk of infection.
  3. The plaster, while being water-resistant outside the wound, allows excess wound fluid to evaporate from the wound and allows the skin to breathe.

Compeed® plasters have bevelled edges to maximise adhesion to the skin. They act like a second skin and are designed to remain in place for several days*.

*Duration may vary depending on the individual

The hydrocolloid plaster technology of Compeed® plasters help protect and/or relieve your wound, corn or callus at all stages of development :

  1. To prevent blisters and other calluses:

    • Blisters: to prevent blisters, if you wear new shoes, play sports, haven’t worn shoes in a while or stand all day long.

    • Corns and calluses: to prevent the formation of corns, in order to limit friction and pressure.

  2. As soon as the first signs of discomfort appear:

    • Blisters: at the first signs of irritation or blister formation, the Compeed® blister plaster will help relieve the pain due to friction thanks to its cushioning effect.

    • Corns and calluses: as soon as the corn is formed, the Compeed® corn plaster rehydrates the skin to facilitate the removal of the corn and relieves pressure.

    • Cold sore: when a cold sore flare-up occurs, Compeed® Cold Sore Patch can be applied from the first sign of symptoms (tingling) to facilitate healing.

  3. Treatment/relief of cold sores, blisters, corns and partridge eyes, calluses and bunions:

    • Blisters: Compeed® specialist plasters will help relieve the pain caused by the blister and help the skin heal.

    • Corns and calluses: the Compeed® plaster maintains an environment which removes the corn by moisturizing and softening it and helps relieve pain.

    • Cold sores: the Compeed® discreet patch treats cold sores throughout all stages of development to facilitate healing and resolution.

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Wounds UK, Hydrocolloids in practice, Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2012


Fleck et al., 2009. Journal of the American College of Certified Wound Specialists (2009) 1, 109–113, Why “Wet to Dry”?


Dr. Karlsmark T. Une étude clinique ouverte, randomisée, comparative, exploratoire phase IV de l’ecacité et de la sécurité de COMPEED®Hydro Cure system en tant que pansement hydrocolloïde vs un pansement gaze classique sur des ampoules expérimentales et des plaies superficielles menée sur 21 participants, Copenhague, Août 1999 – Mars 2000.


Winter GD, Formation of the scab and the rate of epithelialisation of superficial wounds in the skin of the young domestic pigs. Nature, 1962,193: 293-4.


Artus-Arduise et al. Hydrocolloid blister plasters vs. standard plasters for foot blisters treatment in real life. Clin Res Trials, 2020, Volume 6: 1-7. ISSN: 2059-0377.