This study investigated whether treatment with occlusive, hydroactive polyurethane dressings affects the microflora and clinical outcome of acute wounds. A randomized, controlled trial was performed on 60 patients with acute facial lacerations. Following primary closure, patients were provided with either a dry-gauze dressing or a hydroactive polyurethane dressing (Cutinova Thin). The wounds were assessed clinically and microbiologically prior to closure, then after 5, 28 and 56 days. The dressing, which was removed at day 5, was also sent for microbiological culture. Wounds treated with the polyurethane dressing showed improved comfort and contour (p < 0.04), less erythema (p < 0.03) and less potential for scarring (p < 0.01) at day 5. At day 28 and day 56, there were no significant differences in the clinical assessment between the test and control groups (p > 0.05). A total of 518 isolates were recovered from the patients during the study. Mean number of isolates and bacterial growth density were calculated in both groups. A similar range of microorganisms were obtained from both treatment groups with no clear difference in organism colonization. This study shows the potential usefulness of facial wounds as a human model for studying acute wound healing responses and anti-scarring therapy. While short-term, clinical benefits of occlusive dressings were evident in the management of acute wounds, these data clearly show that all studies of scarring following acute wounding should extend over at least 3 months post-injury to allow for spontaneous improvement to occur.