Dermabond is a liquid adhesive used to close wounds, cuts and surgical incisions. Dermabond can be a good alternative to stitches because it is less invasive, protects against bacteria and is somewhat waterproof. But you cannot swim with Dermabond.
Exposure to Water
Because Dermabond dries quickly, patients can often shower or take a quick bath within a few minutes of having Dermabond applied. Prolonged exposure to water is not recommended, though.
Patients are advised not to swim until the healing process is complete and Dermabond wears away naturally, usually in seven to 10 days.
Stretching and Scratching
Dermabond forms a strong, flexible seal, but the stretching and repetitive motions involved in swimming can strain and weaken this seal. Patients are also cautioned not to scratch, rub or scrub Dermabond, making it best to avoid rough contact, skin irritation or vigorous towel drying, all of which can occur with swimming.
Patients with Dermabond should not expose their wounds to direct sunlight, or apply any lotion or topical medicine. Even on an overcast day, these precautions make it unwise to swim outdoors (especially with sunscreen) or in an indoor pool with abundant natural light.
Soaking and Swimming
In addition to minimizing exposure to water in general, the manufacturer specifically recommends patients avoid soaking or swimming. Sustained contact with water can loosen the adhesive seal and cause Dermabond to separate from the skin before the healing process is complete.