Inflammation is the immediate normal response of the immune system to localised microscopic cell damage that precedes macroscopic tissue damage. Inflammation is triggered by secretion of chemokines that attract immune system cells to the sites of cell damage and facilitate their extravasation through increase in capillary permeability. The increased permeability of capillary walls in the inflammatory state consequently causes fluid leakage from the vasculature and, hence, oedema and associated pain. Polymeric membrane dressings (PolyMem®, Ferris Mfg. Corp.) are multifunctional dressings that focus and control the inflammation and oedema, and reduce pain. The literature reviewed in this article suggests that by having these effects on the inflammatory response, especially in fragile patients, the PolyMem dressing technology may facilitate repair of micro-damage in cell groups, which counteracts the evolution of damage to a macroscopic (tissue) level. Reducing the spread of inflammation and oedema in tissues appears to be a unique feature of PolyMem dressings, which supports repair of cell-scale damage under intact skin and tilts the delicate balance between the counteracting damage build-up and tissue repair mechanisms, thus promoting reversibility and self-healing.