The next time you reach for a bandaid after getting a cut, you might consider using super glue instead. Many people agree that it does a better job of sealing the wound with no hassle of it falling off. In fact, most choose super glue over bandaids for medium to small cuts.
Super glue came into existence during war time, but not for gluing things together and definitely not for sealing cuts. In 1942, cyanoacrylate was founded by Dr. Harry Coover when he attempted to build better guns sights by creating a see through plastic. When they found that it was too sticky, the project was considered a failure. However, during the Vietnam War, it re-emerged as the best way for medics to seal soldiers’ wounds from bleeding out, until they could be transported to a hospital. It’s fast acting abilities were waterproof, making it the best choice in harsh conditions like the battlefield.
Jump ahead to 1951, and Dr. Coover is working at Eastman Kodak, where he and Fred Joyner spread the cyanocrylate on two refractometer prisms, and were shocked at how solidly the two stuck together. It was then that Dr. Coover realized that he had something remarkable on his hands. Seven years later, in 1958 Dr. Coover and Eastman Kodak released the product to the market calling it Eastman #910, but eventually naming it Super Glue.
By the 1970s other companies caught on and created their own version of this super glue with brand names such as Krazy Glue. It has been used ever since to glue many materials together, quickly and solidly. In order to take it back to the beginning, and use it for cuts, a medical version had to be created.
Medical Grade Super Glue
It was found that when using regular super glue on the skin to close cuts, it damaged tissue surrounding the cut when the glue set off an exothermic reaction. It also released formaldehyde and cyanoacetate as it cured, irritating the nose, throat, eyes and lungs. Two compositions were created for surgical and medical use, which is gentler on the skin and doesn’t give off irritants into the air.
-Dermabond (most well known)
-Periacryl (dental adhesive)
- Vetinary (for dogs)
Always wash a cut and disinfect with alcohol before applying super glue.
- Shallow Cuts
- Cuts under an inch in length
- Minor blood flow
- Light knife cuts
- Paper cuts
Do Not Use On
- Jagged tear
- Near eyes
- On face
- Deep wounds
- Profuse bleeding
- Joints that you flex often, like knees, elbows, etc.
- Infected cuts
- Insect bites
- Animal bites
- Puncture wounds
- Wound with dirt in them
- Do not rub eyes with finger that has super glue on it
How To Apply
- Wait for bleeding to stop. Apply pressure and it should clot up soon.
- Clean the wound with a disinfectant like alcohol
- Gently pinch the cut closed. Do not over pinch.
- Apply super glue in a thin layer and wait for it to dry. Add more if needed, but do not apply too much on the first round or it will take a long time to dry.
- Release pinch and you are good to go
Removing Super Glue
- Do not remove the super glue yourself or you risk re-opening the cut
- Let it fall off on its own
Things That Can Happen When Sealing A Cut With Super Glue
- Blood can leak to one end of cut. Apply a little pressure and when it stops, apply a dab more super glue on that spot.
- It begins to look black under the super glue. This is just trapped blood and nothing to worry about, unless swelling, redness around the wound, or pain develop, then see a doctor.
- Wound may bleed while super glue is drying, and it might mix in with it. This is fine.
- If you must remove the super glue on your own, before waiting for it to fall off naturally, use an acetone nail polish remove. If your cut is still open, it will sting.
- Scarring should be minimal
Medical super glue is a super way to close medium to small cuts. It works better than a band aid in that it is water proof, clear, and it moves with your skin. It doesn’t fall off until your wound is healed. Do not use super glue that is not meant for medical use, like Krazy Glue, it could irritate your skin and also burn your eyes and cause lung discomfort. Always use common sense with any wound, making sure to wash it, disinfect it, and make sure there is no sign of infection, before closing it up with super glue. Keep a close eye on your cut while it’s healing and make sure there is no swelling, pus, or pain, which could indicate an infection.