High elastase and cathepsin G activities have been observed in chronic wounds to inhibit healing through degradation of growth factors, cytokines, and extracellular matrix proteins. Oleic acid is a non-toxic elastase inhibitor. Cotton wound dressing material was characterized as a transfer carrier for affinity uptake of oleic acid by albumin under conditions mimicking chronic wounds. The mechanism of oleic acid uptake from cotton and binding by albumin was examined with both intact dressings and cotton fiber-designed chromatography. Raman spectra of the albumin-oleic acid complexes under liquid equilibrium conditions revealed fully saturated albumin-oleic acid complexes with a 1:1 weight ratio of albumin:oleic acid. Liquid-solid equilibrium conditions revealed oleic acid transfer from cotton to albumin at 27 mole equivalents of oleic acid per mole albumin. Comparing oleic acid formulated wound dressings for dose dependent ability to lower elastase activity, we found cotton gauze>hydrogel>hydrocolloid. In contrast, the cationic serine protease cathepsin G was inhibited by oleic acid within a narrow range of oleic acid-cotton formulations. 2% albumin was sufficient to transfer quantities of oleic acid necessary to achieve a significant elastase-lowering effect. Oleic acid bound to cotton wound dressings may have promise in the selective lowering of cationic serine protease activity useful in topical application for chronic inflammatory pathogenesis.