Can you 'superglue' a wound?
It’s probably fair to say that most of us have, at some stage in our lives have glued a couple of fingers together.
Then the follow-up farce of trying to remove said glue whilst trying to keep our skin intact.
That, in itself answers the question. If we can stick our fingers together with glue, we can stick the skin around a wound together.
When we do that, we’re doing more than closing a wound, we’re also closing in some potentially nasty stuff.
That’s one problem. There’s also the question of which skin glue to use. In simple terms, there are three separate compartments for superglue.
- DIY toolbox
- First Aid Kit
- The vets
what if you use a standard DIY superglue on a wound?
The magic formula, or chemical that bonds these glues together (pun intended) is ‘cyanoacrylate‘ and is in skin glue or surgical glue .
Glues that contain this chemical are less toxic than the DIY household brands that you would leep in your tool box.
Some medical glues also contain plasticizers to help them be more flexible for our skin.
Let’s take a look at two different scenarios.
- You cut your finger undertaking DIY and plasters are a bit of a faff, so you opt for the tube of superglue.
First concern is infection control.
If you don’t clean the wound, you will seal in stuff that could propagate, a build up of festering infection that you may not be aware of until it really erupts.
The other aspect is if you are on your own, how do you close the wound and at the same time, glue it?
It’s going to sting, it will go hard and probably break, opening the wound again.
The other scenario, your friend, cuts their, finger and asks you to glue it.
All the same applies, but, if it all goes wrong, would it end your friendship and even start a litigation?
- Part of this same scenario is if you are a first aider, a professional, how’s your insurance?
So, DIY superglue is not fit for purpose.
- Brands of medical grade skin glue include:
Histoacryl L skin adhesive
When Should You Use Skin Glue?
When to use it
It goes without saying … READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.
Ensure you are using a medically approved cyanoacrylate adhesive from a reputable supplier.
Ensure the product you are using is not a cover or coating, like plastic skin, but specifically manufactured to close both sides of minor cuts, such as clean knife cuts or paper cuts.
In these cases, there are many benefits in using skin glue:
- Fast drying to stop the bleeding quicker.
- It stays in place.
- Locks out dirt and air.
- By the time it fades, the wound is usually healed.
- Scarring can be reduced.
When skin glue should not be used
Cyanoacrylate adhesive is not recommended for:
- animal bites
- contaminated wounds
- deep wounds
- Flexible areas such as joints
- jagged wounds
- puncture wounds
- stretched skin areas such as foreheads
- wounds on the eyes
- wounds on the genitals
- wounds on the lips