Can You Use Super Glue to Heal Cuts and Scrapes?

You Might Want to Reconsider

bandaged finger
Melania Brescia/Moment/Getty Images

You've likely used Super Glue to repair broken ceramics, mount wooden frames or stop runs in nylon stockings, but Super Glue has an important use for helping fix your cuts and scrapes. While you may be used to putting in your hardware drawer, it may be time to add a tube of the powerful adhesive in your medicine cabinet. Turns out there's a long history of the use of super glue for wounds.

Why Super Glue?

With band-aids, gauze and other items in your first aid kit, you may be wondering why super glue was considered to apply to cuts and scrapes.

The reason goes back to its original use. Because it was too sticky, it's original use, to create clear plastic sights for guns, was scrapped, but medics started using it to close wounds on the battlefield. After that, super glue was seen as a quick, reliable way to protect soldiers and prep them for transport. After its use during the war, medics attributed less scarring, quick use, and its being waterproof as the best option for them in the absence of hospital grade materials. Now doctors say "clean" cuts, such as paper cuts, knife cuts, and other minor cuts, are good options for super glue.

How Super Glue Works on Minor Cuts and Scrapes 

It's not easy to keep Super Glue off your fingers when using it. Now, if you have a cut, you want it on you. If you've ever gotten any on your skin you know the clear adhesive dries fast and stays put. It also keeps air and dirt out of the wound and helps small skin cracks or small cuts, like a paper cut, heal.

Eventually, however, the glue wears off. The chemical cyanoacrylate in the glue not only stops bleeding quickly but also protects the skin from scarring.

When Not to Use Super Glue

Although using super glue might work in a pinch, experts say it can irritate the skin, and should never be used on deep wounds.

Deep wounds must be cleaned, disinfected, and bandaged to stave off infection and ensure bleeding is stopped and the skin heals evenly. Regular Super Glue has side effects that are not desirable for those using it for medical reasons. Not only does it irritate the eyes, throat, nose, and lungs, but it also damages the tissue surrounding a cut. To avoid these side effects. Find a medical grade super glue meant specifically for minor cuts and scrapes.

Alternatives to Super Glue on Cuts and Scrapes

For a safer wound-healing glue consider Dermabond. This anti-bacterial form of the substance 2-octyl-cyanoacrylate is approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for skin wound closure. You can also use a semipermeable dressing (Tegaderm, Bioclusive or Second Skin, or New Skin for instance) to cover the wound and attach the dressing to dry healthy skin with adhesive tape. The dressing should be changed every few days. Keep the wound moist until it has healed. A moist environment promotes healing, improves tissue formation and protects the area from infection.

Also see: How to Treat Skin Abrasions and Minor Cuts


Food and Drug Administration, FDA Approved DermaBond for Skin Wound Closure.


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