Treatments and tests

Caring for your healed burn with a retention dressing

The retention dressing can be left in place until it comes off by itself. It usually stays on for 5 to 7 days.

  • If the dressing gets dirty, you may wish to change it before it comes off naturally.
  • You may need to take your pain medication before changing your dressing.
  • Remove the old retention dressing (see oiling your dressing).
  • Wash the burn wound under running water using non-perfumed soap.
  • Dry the area gently with a clean towel (the retention dressing will not stick to moist skin).

Apply the dressing to the surface of the wound

  • Do not stretch the retention dressing!
  • Allow an overlap of 2cm of the dressing on to non-burned skin.
  • If covering a joint, apply the retention dressing with the joint bent so that the stretch of the dressings allows normal movement afterwards.
  • When joining two pieces of the dressing over the wound surface allow no more than 2cm overlap of the dressing.


State Burns Service, Fiona Stanley Hospital

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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