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Band-Aid Hydro-Seal Blister Bandages Review

Band-aid Hydro-seal blister bandages review

I have a bad blister on my foot that’s taking a long time to heal. Technically, it’s not a blister but a wound, because the skin covering it was ripped off and the deeper tissue exposed. To make matters worse, I continued to hike and walk quite a lot with it, covering it up with gauze and Leukotape, despite considerable pain and bleeding. Yes, I am an idiot. But I need to be reminded of that every couple of years.

Fast forward to the solution. Band-Aid Hydro-Seal Blister Bandages. These are hydrocolloid gel bandages which are the state-of-the-art for modern wound care. They’re very sticky and waterproof, so you leave them on until they fall off, usually after 3-5 days. You can even shower with them on or do a stream crossing. They’re designed to be used by themselves, without the use of extra antibiotic ointment. They work by completely sealing off the wound area from germs and letting your body’s immune system heal the wound.

The aim of these hydrocolloid gel bandages is to provide a moist healing environment while using the body’s own moisture and enzymes to keep the wound hydrated for proper wound healing. They don’t adhere to the wound, only the surrounding skin, thereby keeping healed skin intact. They also stay on for days at a time, minimizing any disruption to the healing tissue, caused by frequent bandage changes.

While blister prevention (see Leukotape) is always preferable, these Hydro-Seal Bandages are the ticket for SHTF wound care after the damage has been done. They’re available in multiple sizes and intended for use as-is, without any additional shaping or trimming. Each bandage is sterile and latex-free, making them good for people who have a latex allergy. They’re also surprisingly inexpensive and you might even consider carry one or two in your first-aid kit.

To use a Hydro-Seal Bandage, clean and dry the affected area of your foot (or body part). It is important that they wound be uninfected and sterile before covering it with the bandage because it forms an air-tight seal over it. Apply the bandage to the blister or wound, being careful to keep the adhesive edges off the afflicted area. Rub your thumb around the edges to seal ensure a tight waterproof seal. After 24 hours, the center of the bandage will plump up a bit, which indicates that the healing process has begun.

Band-Aid Hydro-Seal Blister Bandages help heal and protect bad hiking blisters
Band-Aid Hydro-Seal Blister Bandages help heal and protect bad hiking blisters. They can also be used to protect against blisters when applied to intact skin.

You can use a Band-Aid Hydro-Seal Bandage on popped or un-popped blisters. If a blister is painful, I usually pop a blister with a sterile needle and drain the fluid inside, being careful to keep the skin on top intact because it prevents infection and accelerates healing. The fluid build-up is often the source of the pain and removing it can make you more comfortable, especially if you plan to keep walking on it. You can also cushion the bandages more by building a moleskin ring around them, but you need to be careful to keep the moleskin off the bandage to prevent tearing it off the wound when you remove it.

The exterior of these Hydro-Seal Bandages is very slick, which cuts down on friction inside your shoes if you plan to keep walking with your blister. The marvelous thing about these bandages is you can continue hiking, even if you have a bad blister, after applying them. The gel in the bandage absorbs the fluid that leaks out of a wound or blister (called “exudate”) as it heals. This keeps the wound moist and pliable, which helps to dramatically reduce the pain of walking.

Band-Aid Hydro-Seal Bandages are not recommended for use over stitches, burns, fragile skin, deep puncture wounds, or infected area. Diabetics and people with poor circulation should also consult a medical authority before use. But for hiking and backpacking blisters, I have to say that these blister bandages are the BEES KNEES! Highly recommended.

The author purchased this product with his own funds.

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25 comments

  1. Hi Phillip,

    Would you recommend putting leukotape over the band aid to further aid in keeping it place and to further aid in reducing irritation to the blister?

    Thanks,

    Steve.

    • There’s no need. The bandaid is insanely sticky. In fact, leukotape would be counter-productive because it does not have a slick outer surface and actually increases friction. These bandages work so well because they are slippery on the outside.

  2. These saved my PCT thru-hike! The best part is it keeps the area clean, allowing it to heal w/o the risk of infection. They are particularly useful on blisters on the ball of the foot, they stick like crazy.

  3. More for the first aid kit.

  4. I always use Compeed blister pads. Very similar you think?

  5. These were not on my radar screen. Good to know about. Thanks for mentioning!

  6. These are great! I used to get such wounds from blisters a lot, but that was before I discovered these (or maybe before J&J started making them). Fortunately, since I switched from boots to trail runners, I’ve had nary a blister. I do carry several of these just in case, though!

  7. I use these all the time! The only issue I run into is that they will stick to my socks if I hike with them on. I apply KT tape over top to avoid this from happening.

  8. They sound like Compeed which has been available for years in Europe. I have ordered the Compeed blister pads off of Amazon and they ship from the UK. As mentioned already, you may need to apply tape over them because the adhesive will stick to your socks and it will create a problem when you change your socks. I have used leukotape for this. I’ve always wondered why Compeed isn’t available in the US.

  9. Wow, these sound great! I rarely get a blister, but definitely going to add a couple to my kit just in case. Freaking love your site and always learn something new, Phillip. ?

  10. Have used these for years. They are wonderful and I have not found anything close to this. Highly recommend. Carry them all the time . Great review

  11. I just added the Band-Aid Hydro-Seal Bandages to my Keep shopping list. I need these in my pack.

    Thanks for another great heads-up! Your website is the best source for reviews and new products for hikers, backpackers and outdoors people.

  12. I’ve been using Band-aid Blister (then called Compeed) since at least 2002, maybe earlier. Great stuff, I always have some in my first aid kit.

  13. The provided link is for heel blisters – there’s a couple of other links, including one for the variety pack.

    • I stand corrected, the above comment only applies to the “Compare 1 Prices” link on this page. Phill has a list of links to all the others above that.

  14. Thanks for the article.

    BUT… I have found that since I began using SOLE heat mouldable insoles (from REI) I have had NO foot sole blisters. This is even during extended all-downhill or all-uphill days such as when I did the Grand Canyon, North Rim to South Rim in Nov. 2017.

    I still get side of the toe blisters sometimes, depending on terrain.

  15. I just finish a 6 day trip and put these things on all my blisters. To those who asked … NO need for extra security to keep these puppies on! Just don’t be tempted to mess with them. You can use these things on blisters, small cut … SO RECOMMEND!!

  16. I will be testing these out in the coming weeks on the Pinhoti Trail… I hope they work….

    • Nope I left it on the Shelf… Reason… Price…. Nearly $1.00 each…. What I have been using works and has for 20 years Duct tape and a pad…. 25 cents about….

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