Recently, my husband played in a rugby game in Virgina Beach – about a six hour drive from where we live. When he was accidentally kicked in the mouth during his final Sunday night game, we worried that the cut on his face might need stitches, requiring a trip to the ER that could delay our already long trip home by a few hours. When the trainer at the field suggested he could possibly close the wound with skin glue, some people shrieked, “skin glue!?”. But I was happy to hear that this simpler alternative to stitches might be an option for us.
If you’ve never heard of skin glue, it may be off-putting to think of applying glue to an open wound. But in reality, medical adhesive is often a better choice for minor cuts than stitches or staples. Not only is it a quick and painless way to close a wound (no needles!), it also stops bleeding, keeps air and dirt out of the wound, and falls off naturally over time instead of having to be removed.
But don’t just grab the super glue next time you have a cut. While both regular super glue and medical glue contain the chemical cyanoacrylate, medical glue contains a different variation of the substance that’s anti-bacterial and approved by the FDA for use on the skin.
Skin glue is only considered in the following circumstances:
- Minor cuts – 5 cm in length or smaller
- Cuts with straight edges that can be pulled together easily
- Cuts on parts of the body that don’t move (e.g. face, head, torso)
Skin glue is not recommended for the following kinds of cuts:
- Cuts due to animal bites (higher risk of infection)
- Cuts on skin that moves or has high tension (e.g. lips, forehead, hairline, eyebrow)
- Cuts that are particularly deep or involve damage to underlying muscles or tendons
- Infected cuts
- Puncture wounds
- Cuts on mucus membrane
Have you ever had a wound closed with skin glue? Tell us about the results below.
Sources: about.com, nhs.uk, and childrensmd.org