Women bathing in water

The truth about water and healing:
Can saltwater help wounds heal? Various types of water – including saltwater – can actually complicate the healing process.

5 min. read
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When talking about faster wound healing, we need to separate fact from fiction. The truth is, even though people might associate salt water with healing, moisture can quickly cause the skin to swell around wounds and complicate the healing process. This not only affects the healing process, but can also allow bacteria to enter the wound, thereby increasing the risk of infection. Each type of water has its own particular kind of risk. Reading Better protection for better healing will tell you how to protect your wounds from water. But first, here are the types of water most people are most frequently exposed to and the dangers they present for wounds.

The healing powers of saltwater are primarily a myth.


Most people have probably heard that seawater helps the wound healing process – but this is a myth! In reality, impurities in the water in coastal areas and in standing bodies of water can contain high concentrations of germs that proliferate freely at warm temperatures.


It’s also important to protect wounds against tap water.

Tap water

Especially when a wound is just beginning to heal, it is advisable to protect the wound from direct contact with tap water. Water and moisture cause the skin to swell and this can impair wound healing. Hand soap, shampoo, shower gel and detergent can also irritate the wound. Before showering, bathing or washing your hands, it is important to make sure your wounds are covered with a waterproof adhesive bandage so that they are protected and can heal properly.

Wounds need also to be protected against chlorinated water, it can also slow the healing process, and bacteria in public pools can infect wounds.

Chlorinated water

Chlorine in water can cause unnecessary irritation in wounds and slow healing. There are also many invisible dangers at public swimming pools, such as the bacteria that loom in unsanitary pools that can quickly lead to wounds becoming infected. It is important to take special care to securely protect wounds from chlorinated water, especially at popular swimming pools.

To ensure optimal protection against water, consider the 100% waterproof adhesive bandages from Elastoplast Aqua Protect.


Whenever your skin comes into contact with water – even when washing – consider waterproofing your wounds.

Waterproofing is the answer

Whether you find yourself at the beach, dealing with a pile of dirty dishes or heading out for your weekly swim, it is important to protect your wounds from water at all times. It is important to use adhesive bandages that stay securely in place – even during prolonged contact with water – and they should be breathable and flexible to allow you to move around freely. Elastoplast Aqua Protect adhesive bandages ensure that wounds stay well-protected and heal safely. They are also ideal for use after minor surgical procedures such as the removal of a mole.

To learn about the golden rules of dressing minor wounds and for more information about how wounds react to water, read Better protection for better healing.
Carsten Hartkopf Research & Development, Beiersdorf AG


”Water and moisture cause the skin to swell. This not only affects wound closure and the healing process, but can facilitate the entry of bacteria and increase the risk of a wound becoming infected. It is therefore important to protect the wound reliably from germs and water.“

Carsten Hartkopf,
Research & Development, Beiersdorf AG


Waterproofing with Elastoplast

These products are ideal for keeping water away from your wounds and helping them heal safely.

The Elastoplast Aqua Protect Strips are 100 % waterproof, making them ideal for washing, showering, bathing and swimming. The soft, skin-coloured pad and transparent backing also mean you can enjoy ultimate discretion when healing. All Aqua Protect adhesive bandages have a breathable yet waterproof backing and an extra strong adhesive to help keep your wounds protected when wet.

The Elastoplast Heavy Fabric Waterproof strips feature the innovative Hi-DRY TEX technology to guarantee durable protection in demanding situations. The resistant and flexible fabric dries quickly and doesn't get soggy.

The breathable adhesive bandage membrane keeps the wound dry and protected from dirt and bacteria.

Elastoplast Fabric Flex Waterproof Bandages are unique, because they are the first fabric adhesive bandages that do not become soaked when they come into contact with water, ensuring the same comfort as a fabric adhesive bandage while remaining waterproof. Thanks to the waterproof breathable membrane, the adhesive bandage also dries quickly and keeps the wound dry. They are equipped with a strong adhesive that keeps them in place, and they come in strips of various sizes.


The best protection is prevention

Exposure to dirt and bacteria can increase the risk of infection – which is the greatest threat to a healthy healing process. Public swimming pools can often contain the types of dirt and bacteria that are harmful to wounds. That’s why it’s so important to respect proper hygiene before, during and after your visit to the pool while enjoying the swimming season.

Here are some tips:


Never forget to shower
When people get into the pool without showering first, they carry lots of dirt and bacteria into the water. A quick shower before jumping in washes away up to 90 % of sweat, dead skin and skincare products.

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Dry your feet thoroughly and wear flip flops
The best protection against infection at public swimming pools is actually quite simple – wear flip flops! It is also important to dry your feet carefully, especially between the toes. Since this area is often neglected, it is particularly susceptible to fungal infections. The warm moist environment between the toes provides the ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to grow.

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Always cover wounds with waterproof adhesive bandages
When you go swimming you should definitely use waterproof adhesive bandages on grazes, cuts and other wounds – even smaller areas like a wound left from a recently removed mole. When wounds are well protected and left undisturbed, they can heal more quickly.

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Always see your doctor if the wound is deep, bleeding or shows signs of infection like reddening, swelling or warmth.
Also make sure to seek medical help if you are not able to clean the wound properly. In case you have diabetes, a proper wound care is of special importance. Always discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor and/or podiatrist, even for the care of minor wounds and skin cracks – especially on your feet.
Please note that none of the above given tips or recommendations substitute medical advice. Carefully read the instructions for use indicated on the product. Important: consult a health professional in case of any uncertainty of treating your wound properly.
The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care or advice. If you have or suspect a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website.

For further information regarding Elastoplast products, please contact us via email on cscanada@beiersdorf.com.