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Can I Really Use Superglue to Close My Wound?

Superglue can close a minor wound but may cause skin deterioration and irritation.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
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  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2014
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Using superglue to close a wound is possible, but not advisable. While using glue that you can buy in the store to close a wound would work, it also may produce extreme skin irritation and skin death when purchased in over-the-counter form. There are medical superglues that are often used in place of stitches to close certain types of wounds.

Superglue is made of a substance called cyanoacrylate. When it comes into contact with liquids like water, it forms a plastic mesh that will keep skin, or anything someone wants glued, neatly bonded together. Regular superglue has methyl alcohol, however, which creates heat in order to produce the bonding effect. Using this type of glue to close a wound in deep tissue could result in killing some of the surrounding skin cells.

It is true that the US military used superglue to close wounds during the Vietnam War. Most of the studies of problems resulting from use were recorded during this time. It is likely that doctors did save many lives with this procedure, however, because it gave them time to transport patients to M.A.S.H. units where they could have needed surgery.

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Today, many medical facilities do use a medical form of superglue to close a wound, but only of certain types of wounds. This medical form includes cyanoacrylate, but also butyl, isobutyl, or octyl. These are thought to help prevent bacteria from infecting the wound. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved the use of a few types of glue to close wounds.

Deciding to use medical superglue to close a wound is usually based on the type of wound. A long straight skin wound where the tissue naturally flaps back together is the ideal choice. Generally, it is not appropriate to use it to close a wound that is deep and reaches far into the body. Even with the medical form, some skin deterioration or irritation may occur and delay healing.

The best application of superglue to close a wound is on minor skin lesions. For someone who is not a medical professional, this should be a last choice decision, rather than a first choice one. It is far better to allow an expert to decide how to treat a wound when it is severe and bleeding may be occurring internally.

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anon969099
Post 44

I once cut my foot badly and remember my sister in law (finishing med school at the time) had mentioned gluing cuts. I cleaned the cut with an antibiotic ointment, applied super glue, and went to the ER. The ER doc said it was exactly what her would have done, but better because it was immediate.

Years later, my daughter suffered a horrendous cut severing her nostril from her face. The ER doc did not want to stitch her because of scarring and luckily a plastic surgeon was available - he just glued her wound, which healed perfectly.

anon957413
Post 43

I cut my right pinky finger off at the first knuckle while cutting a watermelon. After finding the tip among the watermelon slices, I immediately pressed it onto my stub while my wife grabbed the super glue. We worked together to manage the bleeding while she slowly superglued a full circle around the severed joint. It has been two weeks and I am still unable to bend the joint, even though the skin has reattached. I probably should have just gone to the hospital.

anon351307
Post 39

I would not use superglue anywhere on the body! It is a liquid polymer (plastic) and is full of nasty chemicals (if you've accidentally taken a whiff of the stuff you'll know what I mean.) It was designed as a strong glue to fix things, not people! I'd advise seeing a naturopath and a doctor. I have a bad cut on my left index finger and am using a macrobiotic spray which is helping.

anon346096
Post 37

@Anon19824, Post 1: Clean it, put antibiotics on it, use a Popsicle stick to stabilize because it is in a joint, your constant movements will keep it open. even if you glued it, it would tear open. Antibiotic cream, band aids, and immobilization is the best treatment -- about three days should do it.

anon325377
Post 34

I have a deep cut on my pinky finger, and reluctantly super glued it back together, and it was to the bone. I was nervous about it, but after this article, I'm feeling a lot better about it. I'll get back in about a week and let you know how it went.

anon322269
Post 33

I have used artificial nail glue on paper cuts. Great on fingers or hands, where as a band aid would get grubby and need replacing after every hand wash.

anon305194
Post 32

Can it be used it used orally, like to hold a tooth in until it can be fixed?

anon301276
Post 31

When I was playing beer pong tonight, the ball was abut to fall off the table and i dove for it. I just wanted another shot! But when I dove, my hand landed on the part where the carpet meets the tile and a staple cut deep into my palm.

It didn't hurt much, and it was in the groove where it folds anyway, so I wrapped a paper towel and rubber band on it to keep it closed for the time being. When I went home though, it was three in the morning and I couldn't exactly go to an urgent care unless I wanted to shell out for an ER visit. I didn't think it was necessary so I just put crazy glue on it, after disinfecting it. It sealed it up quick, with no pain either. Glue works just as well as stitches.

anon291976
Post 30

I've used Super Glue many times to seal wounds I've created with scissors or knives, and scrapes as well. Sometimes in the winter it gets to be so dry that my fingertips will develop minor splits. It's quite painful. Superglue works miracles in taking away the pain.

I like the Loctite "Gel Control" bottle best because it comes out slowly when you pinch the sides of the bottle instead of just pouring out of the tip of the bottle.

anon290202
Post 29

I stepped barefooted onto a sharp piece of a metal bracket; it got me on the heel. I immediately fell to the floor and put major pressure on my heel with my hand, took a quick peek and knew it was bad. I was alone so I shuffled over to my coffee table while still putting serious pressure on my heel, superglue is now mine! I put a rag under my heel. With one hand, I opened the super glue, with the other on my heel. I inverted the superglue in my hand and squeezed, then dropped the tube onto the rag. I quickly switched the super glue hand to heel, held it a bit, even though I couldn't even see the cut (it's underneath my freaking heel).

I removed my hand and quickly tried to find the wound, but one little edge opened and blood was going all over the rag. So I applied more pressure, more superglue and repeated until the tube was empty. It was messy, but not bleeding. I had an ankle wrap, so I wrapped it up and went to bed with three socks on that foot at 1 a.m., worn out.

I went to the doc the next day, but my tetanus shot was current. I soaked my foot in salt water and iodine, peeled off the superglue, cleaned it and applied neosporin, a bandage and the ankle wrap. I got a prescription for cephalexin ($4 walmart) and had no problems. The amount of blood that will come out of a foot is amazing. Gravity isn't helping out much there, and it makes walking somewhat difficult. It would've made a good video but I was all out of hands and one foot just wasn't very useful. Superglue -- it just works.

anon288933
Post 28

I cut part of my earlobe off when I was four and jumped off a glass table. The edge of the table cut most of my left earlobe off. We didn't have medical insurance. so my mom used crazy glue to put my ear back together. It was fine. I still have a scar where they glued it, but other than that my ear is normal.

anon270030
Post 27

I cut my index finger to the bone on the joint closest to the tip with a sword. Wrapped in a towel I walked to 7-11, grabbed superglue (without paying first) and treated the cashier to a homegrown medical practice. Paid and left.

Now I recently basically cut the end of my thumb off. From the outside, through the nail, to about the middle of the thumb. I once again used superglue and no problems -- other than my lack of attention.

Superglue was intended for wound treatment.

anon261653
Post 25

I bent my knee right into a boat propeller looking for an attachment that I was poorly instructed to find on the engine. The things split my skin right open, about 1.5 inches long and down to the patella. It looked bad to me as I haven't cut myself like that since I was a kid, but my parents said "super-glue it"!

I didn't believe them at first, but I cleaned it and then butterflied the outsides of the wound, and superglued the center parts. The glue flaked off after a week and appears to have done the trick, as it's almost all the way sealed up, but with a slight ridge as a previous post referred to. It beat paying $600/dealing with hospitals and the like. You're probably more likely to get an infection there than in your home.

anon221773
Post 24

Cut a gash in my hand with a utility knife while cutting drywall. My co-worker told me to just super glue it and I thought he was crazy. No sign of cutting it and it's been a week.

anon199887
Post 23

I sliced the outside of my hand (just below my pinky finger) with a pocket knife. Bleed really heavy and due to the time i was unable to go to the hospital so i super glued it. The glue is starting to flake off around the edges but i would really like to get the rest of it off before i have to go see a surgeon. Is there a safe no abrasive way to get super glue off a wound?

anon122853
Post 21

I cut my middle finger on the joint by the fingernail while trying to cut and snap "stained glass" for an art project. Boy was that hard to fix since it was hard to not bend. I went to the doctors, and instead of stitches they just gave me glue. Works awesome.

anon122307
Post 20

Was cutting some cardboard with an exacto, took it down to the bone on my index finger. The skin was a easily replaced flap, so I grabbed the crazy glue and liquid bandaid, and presto, sealed up just like that. It actually didn't hurt after a day, and within five days it was nothing but a minor inconvenience.

anon111457
Post 19

I am a quack albeit a shrink. Used this before fine. the cut has to be sharp and clean. I got mine from a big meat cleaver, in this case separating burgers, and my thumb was in the way!

I used some stuff from Thailand that was almost pure superglue (concentrate on the back). Worked great. the glue peels off in its own time under the plaster band-aid. No money saved here with the state NHS but job done with a clean and glue in minutes. Andy, Manchester UK

anon83636
Post 18

wow I'm surprised at how well that worked in three hours. today my friend accidentally cut my finger with a pair of scissors about 2 mm deep and 1 cm long and 2 mm wide. when i got home i used a little glue on it after i cleaned it out. It worked like a charm.

anon83246
Post 16

I have been using this for years successfully. I just cut through about half my pinky with a table saw this week. After cleaning the wound with peroxide etc. I used it to seal about 1/3 the wound that was causing me the most problems and was the most painful. Much better now! Randall SLC, Utah

anon81207
Post 15

I had a deep gash in my forearm caused by a sheet of stainless steel about two inches long, and rather than go to hospital to get stitches I cleaned it up, disinfected it with mouthwash (that was all I had available) and super-glued it back together.

It worked like a dream. The only problem was it healed around the super glue leaving something of a groove in my arm, but once the glue was out (a week or two later) that began to close up and now I just have a scar. Job done, and no lengthy hospital waiting.

anon75971
Post 14

My partner laughs at me when I use superglue to close small wounds on my fingers, but you can bet it works!

anon73184
Post 13

yeah, but how do i get the superglue off?

anon66473
Post 12

I'm glad I found this article. Lots of people have thought I was nuts for years because I've super-glued small cuts on my fingers. I never even thought twice about it!

I accidentally dripped some on my fingers and noticed it took a couple of days for it to come off. I remembered that the next time I cut myself so I just put some super glue on the cut and that was it. Never had any irritation or ill effects from it ever. In fact I'm sitting here right now with a glued finger, I peeled the skin off a small dried-up blood blister and I just hate having to use a band-aid.

This time I used some 3M Vetbond that the nurse from the vet clinic I go to was kind enough to give me a while back. That stuff works well too, but wow does it ever smell bad until it dries! Phew!

anon65206
Post 11

It's important not to seal the whole cut - so that any infected material or fluid can escape.

I have a deep cut on my index finger pad. I am using superglue to hold the sides together, but leaving a drain at one end.

I've tried steri strips, but due to the wound releasing liquid (blood and lymphatic fluid) these tend to lose adhesion quickly.

Always use antiseptic cream, ensure a wound is clean and change dressings regularly. Good luck out there!

anon61468
Post 10

I cut the side of my left index finger while preparing food with a kitchen knife. The wound was at a 30 degree angle, about 3 mm deep and about 1cm long.

I washed it with antibacterial soap, flushed it with hydrogen peroxide, applied light pressure for about 10 minutes, held it closed and then put a layer of super glue gel on top. Five days later the glue has fallen off and there is a nice scab on top and it is healing up nicely. No infection at all; it looks great.

anon60834
Post 9

A small cut that won't heal has a minor infection. I have had the same thing many times. All you need to do is, clean it with a little peroxide or alcohol (it may sting) keep it clean and dry, and apply antibiotic ointment to it.

If you apply it also to a band aid and keep that on, it should heal in 4-5 days. Don't do dishes, and reapply after a shower. If you do not see improvement in that time, see a doctor because something else might be going on.

anon55315
Post 8

I have used super glue to seal cuts before and it works great. It is a lot less expensive than going to the ER for 3 or 4 stitches.

I would advise washing the wound and using triple antibiotic ointment before using the super glue. It works great in a pinch, especially when you are 25 minutes from the hospital!

anon52964
Post 7

Super glue works on deep scratches from mechanic work. Dermabond casts $50 for 1/2 gram.

For cut fingers toes and nails, Superglue works wonders, for 25 cents per glued cut.

anon48807
Post 6

hi, i have a smallish flesh tunnel that i don't want anymore. i've had it out for years but because when i stretched it i ripped the skin so it won't close fully but it's closed a hell of a lot compared to what it was. now you can just about fit a biro through it and it won't go any smaller, but do you think i could seal this with super glue? if so what kind? like loctite superglue or clear adhesive superglue or something? i think it would work briliantly. the only thing i'm worried about is if it burns my skin like hell or something like that but the skin is already dead, i think, anyway, because it won't heal anymore, so i don't know. does anybody have any sugestions?

anon46883
Post 5

I just had a cut Sunday night on my finger. it was deep and I knew I needed stitches, but I has the kids alone. So I opted to superglue it shut after flushing it with water. It closed nicely. I am now trying to take the bandage off so I can put steri-strips on. I use superglue all the time. I even glued the tip of my finger that I cut off when I was young. My Dad taught me about it when I was a kid and it is a great emergency triage. Truth is, I am in medical and know wound care. It is important to close a wound soon. Otherwise, you become susceptible to possible infection. I should have packed the kids in the car and gone to urgent care, but this seemed to be the right option at the time.

anon44666
Post 4

Works great for broken finger nails and toe nails when they break too far back to be cut off comfortably. I always keep a couple little bottles in my first aid kit.

anon42972
Post 3

how about for a backpacking first aid kit? or am I better off with a sterile needle and thread?

anon25271
Post 2

It sounds to me as if that small cut is infected, and if so, Super Glue might be the worst thing you could use, since you don't want to seal the infection in. Try an antibiotic ointment, and if it doesn't work, if I were you I would go to a doctor.

anon19824
Post 1

I have a minute cut on my right pinky finger, near the first joint, which is about an 8th of an inch in length, which itches and stings like a paper cut. I don't know how I got it. When it started itching and nothing thinking, I made the mistake of scratching it with my teeth, when it started itching. I've had the cut for over a month now and seems that it doesn't want to heal. I'm not a diabetic. Had heard somewhere that super glue can be used to close minor or paper cuts and now this article affirms what I'm contemplating on doing. Just wanted some feedback about super glue. Any comments or suggestions on what I've posted are welcome. Thank you.

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