Bandage adhesive is a type of glue that is attached to self-sticking wound dressings that keeps the bandage secured. It is typically used with bandages meant for smaller sized wounds that don’t need constant pressure applied in addition to covering.
Bandage adhesive is also referred to as sticking plaster and is a polymer based bond. It is a pressure sensitive adhesive, meaning the bond is created by applying light pressure between the bandage and the skin. Unlike some removable pressure sensitive adhesives, the glue in bandages is typically designed for one time use, though that use may last for several days securely. The bandage adhesive contains a slight liquid carrier that facilitates bonding with the skin, and is lightly breathable, though some dehydration of the covered skin may occur during use. One of the most common brands of bandage adhesive is Elastoplast.
One of the first over the counter home bandages to use adhesive was Band-Aid. Invented in 1920, Band-Aids were designed to be practical and affordable wound covers that a person could apply themselves without help. The use of adhesive on a bandage became very popular and Johnson and Johnson, the parent company of Band-Aid, sent millions of adhesive bandages for troop use during World War II.
In spite of the convenience of bandage adhesive, it does have some downsides. For example, many people are allergic to the plaster formula that is used in the adhesive and cannot wear self-sticking bandages. Additionally, there can be some discomfort or pain when removing a bandage that has adhesive on it if it has been left on the skin too long or has bonded with a hair follicle.
Though most over the counter adhesive bandages remove cleanly, some bonding material may occasionally be left on the skin after removal. There are many home remedies for removing any leftover adhesive, including baby oil, white vinegar, vegetable oil, or non-abrasive household cleaners. The adhesive will also remove if heated, so a warm wet wash cloth or warm air from a hair dryer will also help remove leftover bonding material.
The use of bandage adhesives has expanded over time and is now used as the bonding agent that keeps transdermal patches in place. Instead of healing a wound, these patches are meant to release doses of medicine into the body through the skin layer. Some common transdermal patches include the nicotine patch and the birth control patch.