Thursday, May 17, 2018

Using Super Glue To Seal Cuts

I'm not getting much done today.  The workers are still finishing up.  One cut his thumb and asked for paper towels.  The he went out to his truck and got superglue.  He squeezed the skin over the cut tight and put superglue on and wrapped it in tape.

Is that safe?  Dr. Andrew Weil writes:

"My answer is "It depends." I’ve applied Super Glue on heel cracks and on minor cuts, and it works really well. Its wound-sealing attributes were noted in the Vietnam War, when medics used it before sending troops on to surgery. . ."
He goes on to say that there's now a prescription version that doctors use called Permabond that's a different chemical combination.  But it costs about 20 times more than superglue and you need a prescription to buy it.

Judging from all the hits on google, I'm the last person on earth who knows about this.  Here's a video demonstration by a knife guy - not for the squeamish.

Here's the conclusion of a longer piece at Ask A Pharmacist:

 "Based on all of the above information, I always recommend the medical adhesives over plain superglue. Superglue should really only be used if necessary. If it is going to be used, it should only be on small cracks or small cuts on the skin."
As I read different things that pop up on google, the message tends to be

  • Yes, super glue works
  • Medical super glue is better because
    • Regular superglue may irritate the skin
    • Regular superglue isn't safe for deep cuts

I'm guessing that folks use regular superglue because it's cheaper and more convenient that going to the doctor and you don't have to get a prescription.  The guy today clearly had done this before.


  1. Hmm. I've long 'known' this use due to a newspaper story found decades ago that informed we poor readers that 'superglue' was, in fact, invented for surgical theatres (must have been the war-time application).

    Didn't question it. Factoid in head served me thirty, forty years for trivia purposes quite nicely! (and I won't disturb my friendly little notion now).

  2. Just make sure you clean the cut thoroughly. Don't seal an infection in. Make sure you run lots of cold water over the wound and use hydrogen peroxide or some such before gluing yourself shut.

  3. I take it Jacob has never done this, but Jim, have you? The guy working here has done it often, which doesn't say a lot for the safety of the work he does.


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