Know Your Dressings: Collagen Dressings For Wound Healing

Wound healing occurs as the body naturally restores damaged tissue. Wound healing is a complex series of events and interactions that result in an orderly process with 3 overlapping, yet distinct stages.
Collagen Dressings

What interferes with wound healing?
Unfortunately, there are times when the wound fails to progress through the orderly wound healing process. This is commonly the result of an extended inflammatory phase, often caused by increased matrix metalloproteases (MMP’s) in the wound. 2 MMP’s are necessary to break down damaged tissue, however too many can destroy the healthy extracellular matrix and impede wound healing. Bioburden, or the presence of biofilm in the wound, can also delay the wound healing process. 5 When delayed wound healing occurs, collagen dressings can restart the wound healing cascade.

What is collagen?
Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is a major component of the extracellular matrix or biological glue which supports cells. 2 Collagen plays an important role in all phases of wound healing due to its chemotactic nature, which attracts fibroblasts to the wound site. 3 Collagen supports new blood vessel formation, granulation tissue formation, the debridement of the wound and the ability of the wound to re-epithelize. 1

How do collagen dressings support wound healing?
Collagen dressings support a moist wound healing environment, encourage the deposition of new collagen fibers, support new tissue growth and granulation tissue formation in the wound bed. 4

Excessive MMP’s in the wound bed can interfere with the normal wound healing process. Collagen dressings bind and inactivate MMP’s found in the extracellular matrix. MMP’s attack and break down collagen, so collagen dressings give these enzymes an alternative collagen source. 4 This allows the body’s natural collagen to be readily available for tissue growth during the wound healing process.

Collagen dressings are available in many forms. They can be found as an amorphous gel to provide moisture or in sheet or powder forms that are capable of absorbing various levels of wound exudate. Collagen dressings may also be combined with silver to deter bioburden or biofilm in the wound environment. Some collagen dressings are combined with additional ingredients such as ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) or alginate to enhance the performance of the collagen, giving a dual action to decrease MMP activity or control exudate.

Using a collagen dressing appropriately may stimulate healing in a stalled wound. Wound healing success is dependent on clinical assessment and treatment, choosing the right dressing on the right wound at the right time. 6 Acceleration of wound healing in chronic or stalled wounds may decrease healing time and reduce over-all wound care costs. 6

DermaRite Collagen Dressings
DermaRite has a comprehensive line of collagen dressings designed to meet various levels of wound drainage, as well as collagen dressings with silver to control bioburden in the wound environment. Select the dressing that is right for the wound you are treating:

Collagen DressingsNEW! DermaCol 100™ DermaRite’s newest collagen dressing, DermaCol 100, is a highly absorptive type 1 bovine powder, that is easily applied for intimate contact with the wound surface. DermaCol 100 supports moist wound healing and granulation tissue formation, binds and decreases MMP levels at the wound site. DermaCol 100 features extended wear time and may be left in place up to 7 days*.

Collagen DressingsSilvaKollagen Gel® is a hydrolyzed type 1 bovine collagen gel infused with silver oxide. The water-based gel supports moist wound healing and autolytic debridement. SilvaKollagen Gel is conformable, maintains intimate contact with the wound bed and manages bioburden. SilvaKollagen Gel is used for wounds with dry to moderate wound drainage.

DermaCol™ is made from porcine collagen with sodium alginate, CMC and EDTA for dual MMP inhibition. The dressing transforms to a soft gel and conforms to the wound bed when in contact with wound exudate. DermaCol supports moist wound healing and may be trimmed and layered for management of deep wounds. DermaCol may be applied to wounds of any drainage level. Moisten the dressing prior to application for dry or minimally draining wounds.

DermaCol Ag™ is infused with silver to decrease bioburden in the wound environment. DermaCol Ag is a gelling dressing that is easy to apply and conforms to the wound bed when in contact with wound exudate. DermaCol AG may also be trimmed and layered to manage deep wounds and can be applied to wounds of any drainage level. Moisten the dressing prior to application for dry or minimally draining wounds.


* Dressing wear time is always based on the condition of the wound and caregiver assessment. Consult MD or qualified health care professional for specific medical guidance on dressing change frequency for individual treatment plans.


  1. Simon, P. E., Meyers, A. D., Moutran, H. A., & Romo, T., III. (2017, June 20). Skin Wound Healing. Retrieved March 26, 2018, from
  2. Hochstein, A. O., DPM, & Bhatia, A., DPM. (2014, August). Collagen: Its role in wound healing. Podiatry Management.
  3. Westgate, S., Cutting, K. F., Deluca, G., & Assad, K. (n.d.). Collagen dressings Made Easy (page 1 of 3) › Made Easy › Wounds UK. Retrieved March 26, 2018, from
  4. What you need to know about collagen wound dressings. (2017, April 07). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from
  5. A review of collagen and collagen-based wound dressings. (2009, February 13) Retrieved March 26, 2018, from
  6. Galea, E., Managing chronic/stalled arterial, venous and pressure ulcers with collagen and oxidized regenerated cellulose dressings. (2001, March) World Wide Wounds. Retrieved March 26, 2018 from

Deeper Dive

Want to learn more about this topic? In addition to the reference links above, here are some great articles and resources that you can explore.

  1. Yandell P, Korzendorfer H, Hettrick H, Vaughn M, Gokoo C. The use of collagen dressings in long-term care: a retrospective case series. Wounds. 2011;23(8):243–25. Available at:
  2. Adkins, C. L. (2013, May). Wound Care Dressings and Choices for Care of Wounds in the Home. Home Healthcare Now, 31(5). doi:
  3. Harding, K., & Leaper, D. (2011). Role of collagen in wound management. Wounds, 7(2), 54-63.
  4. Fleck, C. A., & Simman, R. (2010, September). Modern Collagen Wound Dressings: Function and Purpose. Journal of the American College of Wound Specialists, 2(2), 50-54.
Posted in Clinical Insights Newsletter
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