The process of wound healing often involves diverse tissue formations, with eschar and slough representing crucial stages in the recovery journey. Eschar and slough are terms frequently used in the context of wound healing, representing distinct stages and compositions. Proper comprehension of these stages can play an imperative role in effective wound care and treatment.

What is Eschar?

injured knee with a wound showing escharEschar, a hardened, dry, black or brown dead tissue, forms a scab-like covering over deep wounds, such as severe burns or ulcers. It acts as a protective barrier but can impede healing, necessitating appropriate management and removal for optimal recovery.

Eschar vs. Scabs

While both eschar and scabs are composed of dried blood and fluids, they differ significantly. Scabs, typically in minor cuts, are soft and aid in healing. In contrast, eschar forms in deeper wounds, firmly attaching to the wound bed and often requiring medical intervention from a wound care specialist for removal.

How Long Can it Take For Eschar to Heal

The healing time for eschar varies based on factors such as wound size, depth, health conditions, and the body’s healing capacity. Proper management and removal of eschar play a crucial role in initiating the healing process, which can take weeks to months for complete recovery.

Best Type of Wound Dressing When Dealing with Eschar

Choosing appropriate wound dressings when dealing with eschar is crucial. Dressings that maintain a moist wound environment while facilitating the removal of excess exudate are typically preferred. Wound specialists may recommend hydrogels, hydrocolloids, or specific foams depending on your circumstances to aid in its removal and promote healing.

Eschar Found in Pressure Ulcers

Eschar commonly develops in pressure ulcers, which result from prolonged pressure on the skin, limiting blood flow and causing tissue damage. Eschar in pressure ulcers can hinder healing and requires specific attention to prevent infection and support recovery.

Eschar Treatment and Wound Care

  • Debridement: Removal of eschar is essential to expose healthy tissue underneath. Debridement methods can include surgical, enzymatic, mechanical, or autolytic approaches, chosen based on the wound’s condition.
  • Wound Dressings: As we referenced above, choosing the right dressings can play an important part in treatment and promoting healing.
  • Infection Control: Regular monitoring and care to prevent infection are crucial. Antibiotics might be prescribed in case of suspected or confirmed infections.
  • Wound Healing Monitoring: Close observation by a wound care specialist to adjust the treatment plan as needed for effective healing.
  • Underlying Condition Management: Addressing underlying conditions like diabetes or poor circulation is vital in preventing future occurrences.

Slough: Exploring its Nature

Slough is a soft, yellow or white, stringy or thick substance, that overlays the wound bed. Composed of dead cells, fibrin, and other substances, it indicates an unclean or stagnant wound environment, hindering healing and increasing infection risks.

Eschar vs. Slough: What is the Difference?

  • Appearance: Eschar appears as a hard, dry, dark covering, while slough is softer, moist, and may be yellow or white.
  • Composition: Eschar is primarily dried blood and tissue, while slough comprises dead cells, fibrin, and other substances.
  • Attachment to Wound Bed: Eschar firmly attaches, whereas slough can be loosely adhered.
  • Implications for Wound Healing: Both impede healing, requiring different removal and management strategies.


Understanding the differences between eschar and slough is essential for proper wound care and treatment. Healthcare professionals play a pivotal role in diagnosing, assessing, and implementing suitable treatments to address these types of wounds. With the right approach, including proper debridement and appropriate wound dressings, effective wound healing can be facilitated, leading to better outcomes and quality of life.

If you or someone you know has suffered a serious wound or have questions regarding the healing process, the specialized team at West Coast Wound Center can help. Book an appointment today.



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