How and When to Try Gluing Cuts: An Alternative to Stitches

Social distancing appears to finally be helping to flatten the curve and slow the spread of coronavirus. But even as we each do our part and stay home as much as we can, you may find yourself in need of an essential service.

If you or a family member gets a bad cut, your first instinct may be to run to the hospital for stitches. But with hospitals overrun with patients of the highly contagious virus, now is a good time to stay away from them.

Luckily, you do have the option to care for your cut at home, using skin glue. Skin glue will help you with gluing cuts and is a great tool to keep on hand when you cannot or do not want to go to a hospital.

When and Where to Use Skin Glue


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A post shared by Angelica Lujano-Orta (@dot_warner) on Jan 19, 2020 at 9:47pm PST

Not all cuts can be treated with skin glue, and those that are do run the risk of leaving a more noticeable scar than those treated with stitches.

Optimal conditions for gluing cuts are:

  • Cuts that are relatively minor and less than 2” long
  • The edges of the wound are straight and can be pulled together
  • The cut is on a flat part of the body, like parts of the face, arms, legs, or torso
  • A young child with a minor cut may need to be sedated for stitches

When NOT to use Skin Glue

Skin glue cannot be used effectively on joints or on your hands. It is definitely not recommended on cuts that are likely to be infected, like animal bites.

If the cut is longer than 2”, particularly deep, or may have affected a tendon or muscle, you will still need to seek medical attention.

How to Use Skin Glue


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A post shared by Ari Kiukkonen (@bushwhittler) on May 9, 2019 at 7:00am PDT

Skin glue has a liquid or paste consistency. Push the edges of the cut together and apply the skin glue. The glue will set in just a few minutes and will peel off on its own within 5-7 days as long as it is undisturbed.

Basic advice once the skin glue has been applied is to not touch it or get it wet. Keep the wound dry and covered; if it does get wet, pat it dry.

You do not want to put anything on the wound other than skin glue, so avoid lotions or creams.

Do not let clothing rub against the cut and do not pull at the skin around it. If the cut is near your hairline, do not brush your hair if that pulls at the cut.

How to Know if You Need Medical Attention

There are some instances in which even after gluing a cut, you will still need to seek medical attention. If the wound reopens or gets infected, you will want to see a doctor immediately. In the event that the skin glue breaks apart, starts bleeding, or leaks pus, seek out additional help.

Signs of infection include redness, swelling, soreness, and fever.

Skin glue is a valuable tool for use around the house or when camping. It can eliminate hospital visits for smaller cuts, saving you time, money, and stress. Always follow the instructions for proper use and seek medical attention if your cut is not healing properly.

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