Eschar can affect any part of the body, but feet are very susceptible to them.

Dark patches of dead skin on the wound surface can be alarming to an individual who is recuperating from a burn wound or a diabetic ulcer, but this tissue, also known as eschar, is a normal part of the healing process. If this is the first time you’ve had eschar or are just unfamiliar with how they come about, here are some fast facts:

How Can I tell If It Is Eschar?

Eschar can be identified by their appearance and texture. The skin is often rougher and thicker in texture than surrounding skin. This dead tissue can be brown, tan or black in color, and it may also be filled with fluid.

Eschar can be a stage of wound healing for a number of wound types, but some of the most common include pressure ulcers, gangrene infections and larger burns.

Is Eschar Problematic?

Typically, your clinician will treat the eschar as part of the wound, since it is often a stage in the healing process. In many cases, your eschar may not even need to be removed – it will naturally fall off on its own.

In some cases, eschar may actually be covering a larger wound issue, which can be particularly troublesome. This can make it difficult for the clinician to identify the wound infection below. Healthline states that broken skin on or around the eschar can provide an easy entrance point for infections such as sepsis, which can escalate quickly in the patient.

How Should I Treat My Eschar?

Treatment may not be needed for an eschar if it is part of the natural healing process. However, if an eschar looks like it may have a wound infection – symptoms can include oozing fluid such as pus or blood, your clinician will likely recommend topical treatment or debridement to help control and remove the infection.

In some cases, wound debridement is necessary, if the eschar is causing problems. The eschar can be removed through the use of chemicals – topical treatments can be easy to apply to the dead tissues, and since the eschar is usually a different texture and color than the surrounding skin, it can be easy to apply these without creating added issues.

Can I Prevent Eschar?

In some cases, such as accidental burns, eschar cannot be prevented. Otherwise, eschar prevention steps are very similar to diabetic ulcer and wound prevention.

Maintaining a healthy diet is a key step in prevention, with some of the key nutrients including:

  • Protein. Protein that you eat is key in assisting your body in healing the proteins and cells it needs for wound care.
  • Vitamin C. This nutrient is found in a number of fruits and veggies, and helps the body to create a protein that helps to make skin, as well as repair and heal wounds.
  • Zinc. Found red meat, shellfish, spinach and nuts and seeds, zinc helps the body structure the cell membranes that are pivotal in healing wounds.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.