Hydrocolloidal Bandages: Not Just for Acne!

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. NOT EVEN A FAKE DOCTOR. YOU SHOULD NOT TAKE MEDICAL ADVICE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT DOCTORS. DON’T SUE ME.

These are hydrocolloidal bandages.

We’ve discussed hydrocolloidal bandages on this site before, but always in the context of acne care. Guess what? They might be good for other stuff, too!

Me, wearing a very chic hydrocolloidal bandage on Saturday.

About a month ago, I got a spider bite on my inner thigh. I have no idea how this happened — it’s an odd place for a spider bite — but there ya go. (I also found a spider crawling up my leg in the shower a couple of days ago, so … maybe that explains it.) The bite was mildly painful, but wasn’t otherwise a big deal; sure, it was the bigger than a pencil eraser, and filled with pus and blood, and had some disconcerting necrotic tissue, but it wasn’t getting any worse.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t getting much better, either. I opened and carefully drained it to start the healing process, slapping an antibiotic ointment and bandaid on it, but it didn’t seem to be helping much — the bandaid just fell off when it rubbed against my jeans, and the wound inevitably closed over without ever fully draining, causing it to swell up again.

This went on for three weeks — open, drain, bandage, close, swell — but I never managed to fully drain it before it closed over again.

Then one night, as I carefully opened up a cystic zit on my face that had come to a head, and was getting ready to apply a hydrocolloidal bandage — lightbulb! — I got the bright idea to do the same to my spider bite. I opened, washed, and hydrocolloid’d that sucker, and went to bed.

Next morning, I peeled off the bandage to find that it had sucked OODLES of gunk out — pus, blood, & all! I applied another after my shower; and by the time I got home from work that night, the wound was 100% drained and completely flat. This time, when the skin closed over, it didn’t swell back up again; and though I have some post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in the area, it’s otherwise all better.

OBVIOUSLY, I would not recommend doing this for, say, a Brown Recluse or Black Widow bite. (We have both in my area, and I know to get to the doctor’s office for those bites. I have family members with GNARLY scars from brown recluse spiders!)  Nor do I think this would help much with something like a mosquito bite (the secret to mosquito bites: don’t scratch it even once; it’ll heal SO much faster) or a small cut (try a steptic pencil). But if you have a minor bug bite or ingrown hair — something swollen with fluid — maybe give a hydrocolloidal bandage a try!

P.S. REMEMBER THAT I AM NOT A DOCTOR.

Have you found unorthodox uses for hydrocolloidal bandages? How do YOU feel about spiders? (I like them, except when they are crawling up my leg in the shower.)