What Is a Moleskin Bandage?

Moleskin bandages are included in first aid kits.
Hikers can use moleskin bandages to protect their feet against blisters before a long hike.
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  • Written By: J. Nelson
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2014
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A moleskin bandage is often used during physical activities, in order to prevent blistering or to alleviate blisters that have already formed. One can be placed on any part of the body, but are most commonly used on areas of the feet. Moleskin is a soft, cushiony type of material that creates an elevated layer of padding to surround, but not cover, a blister, to prevent rubbing. It is a common type of bandage and is almost always found in kits containing first aid supplies.

This wound covering is generally a kind of adhesive bandage that is stuck to the affected area, as opposed to a bandage that is wrapped in place and then secured with clips. A moleskin bandage can either be bought pre-made or a small piece of moleskin can be used to make a bandage. This is very easily done — one takes a small piece of moleskin and folds it in half, using scissors to cut out a circle in the middle. When the bandage is applied, the blister should be centered in the exposed, cut-out circle. The raised area of the bandage that surrounds the blister is what is most important, to keep the blister from rubbing on the interior of a shoe or any other surface.

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As an adhesive type of covering, a moleskin bandage usually has one side that peels off to expose a sticky surface that can be applied to, and worn on, the skin. If a non-adhesive variety is used, the bandage can be attached with first aid tape, which is also typically included in all basic first aid kits. It is important that the center remain open to the air, regardless of how the moleskin bandage is fastened, so that the blister can breathe and heal.

Blisters are a kind of burn caused by friction. They occur when hot spots are created on the skin, due to rubbing, and the top layer of skin separates from the layers below it. The space between layers fills with fluid, creating discomfort or pain. The moleskin bandage will pad the area around the blister to prevent further rubbing or aggravation.

Moleskin bandages can be applied before blisters form as a way to try to prevent them. If one is susceptible to blisters in certain spots, moleskin can be put over those areas before walking, hiking, or exercise. These may also be used in this way by people wearing new shoes that may be rigid and prone to causing blisters.

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SteamLouis
Post 3

@feruze-- I completely agree with you. Most people use moleskin bandages as a last result after the damage is done. But it's actually a great way to prevent blisters in the first place.

I go hiking regularly, and waterproof moleskin bandages are a must-have in my bag, along with an extra pair of shoes and clean socks.

The reason why we get blister and bruises on our feet is because our feet sweats and the heat and friction from walking causes the top layer of skin to separate.

I always stick some moleskin bandage around my heals, sides of my feet and toes before a hike. And I change my socks regularly, as well as my shoes if it gets wet. Despite hiking several times a month, I haven't had a single issue with my feet for the past year.

bear78
Post 2

@fify-- The blister doesn't usually pop unless you pop it yourself or wear shoes that cause friction there which makes it pop. That's exactly why you need to use a moleskin bandage on it, to prevent it from popping.

A blister is covered with skin and filled with liquid which prevents it from getting infected. Either apply a moleskin bandage as soon as you develop a blister, or use it to prevent blisters from forming in the first place.

That's why I use strips of moleskin adhesive bandage. I know which shoes tend to give me blisters and I apply the bandage before I wear those shoes to prevent them.

If you have an open blister now, continue to use a moleskin bandage on it. To prevent infection, you can place some clean cotton loosely on top of the bandage to prevent it from touching the shoe. If it's an open shoe, you can apply some anti-bacterial ointment on the blister.

fify
Post 1

I tried cutting my own little moleskin bandages from the value-sized rolls. Boy was it hard! And getting that hole in the center was not easy because I needed such a small sized bandage.

Now they have pre-cut circular moleskin bandages available at pharmacies. It does cost more, but I prefer those much more than the strips and rolls that you have to cut yourself.

I think a moleskin adhesive works perfect if the blister is intact. But when it has popped, I worry that I'm going to get it infected, especially when I'm wearing summer shoes without socks.

I know the blister needs to remain open to heal but how can we prevent it from getting infected while using a moleskin bandage?

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