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What is maceration?

There’s no doubt about it, skin maceration is unpleasant and gross, it changes the appearance and texture of skin from healthy to wrinkly and pale.

Skin maceration occurs when skin is in contact with excessive amounts of moisture for a prolonged period of time. The excess moisture leads to the cells in the epidermis (outer most layer of skin) to swell up with water, softening and breaking down the skin (Haryanto et al., 2017). Most people experience maceration to some degree when wearing a plastic adhesive bandage that doesn't allow the skin to breath.

Moisture and air are both essential ingredients for wound healing, but optimal wound healing is very dependent on the level of hydration (Bishop et al., 2003). There is a difference between hydration, which is beneficial and enables healing, and maceration, which exacerbates healing.

Macerated fingers from wearing plastic adhesive bandages.

An adhesive bandage is going to come into contact with water at some point during its wear. Therefore, in order for the skin not to macerate it must be able to breathe. Big name brand plastic and fabric bandages lock in moisture and lock out air creating an overly wet environment, which can slow down wound healing.

Merino wool is a fibre known for its breathability, this has typically been associated with comfort in clothing but it also applies to wound healing. WoolAid uses the natural healing properties of merino wool to create a protective barrier between your wound and the hazards of everyday life, whilst still allowing your skin to breathe creating an environment that allows for optimal wound healing and minimal maceration.

WoolAid bandages are adhesive bandages made from merino wool and the fabric is plastic and latex free. The fabric of our bandages biodegrades within four to five months. WoolAid bandages are now available for purchase at select retailers both in-store and online, you can find a full list of our stockists here.


Bishop, S. M., Walker, M., Rogers A. A., Chen, W. Y. J., (2003). Importance of moisture balance at the wound-dressing. J Wound Care 12(4): 125–8. Doi: 10.12968/jowc.2003.12.4.26484. PMID: 12715483.

Haryanto, H., Arisandi, D., Suriadi, S., Imran, I., Ogai, K., Sanada, H., Okuwa, M., & Sugama, J. (2017). Relationship between maceration and wound healing on diabetic foot ulcers in Indonesia: a prospective study. International wound journal, 14(3), 516–522.

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