There has been a paradigm shift in wound care management. The belief that a wound has to be dry and that the scab is the best dressing was refuted long ago.
In the early 1960s Winter showed that healing is slowed down by the dry scab that normally covers a wound. If the formation of the scab is prevented by keeping the wound surface moist, healing is greatly improved.1
This important finding has led to the concept of moist wound healing (MWH) and given rise to new dressing types – hydrocolloids, alginates, foams, films and hydrofibre – all designed to create and maintain a moist wound environment.2
Moreover, the risk of visible scars can be reduced by creating an appropriately moist environment for the wound to heal in an orderly, controlled fashion.3 In this respect, MWH facilitates faster re-epithelialisation by virtue of the enhanced mobility of migrating cells in a moist, as opposed to a dry, environment.4 The moisture balance at the wound bed, not too wet or too dry, is now known to be a central tenet of healing.5
This paper summarises the scientific fundamentals of MWH and outlines recommended European guidelines for the treatment of minor skin injuries.