Can You Use Super Glue to Heal Cuts and Scrapes?

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You've likely used Super Glue to repair broken ceramics, mount wooden frames, or stop runs in nylon stockings. But Super Glue and medically approved versions of cyanoacrylates (the chemical name for these adhesives) have an important use for helping fix your cuts and scrapes.

While you may be used to putting it in your hardware drawer, it may be time to add a tube of one of Super Glue's FDA-approved cousins to your medicine cabinet.

A bandaged finger on a bed
Melania Brescia / Moment / Getty Images

Why Super Glue?

There's a long history of the use of cyanoacrylates for wounds. Formulations of cyanoacrylate were tested for use in creating clear plastic gun sights during World War II, but they were too sticky.

However, medics started using it to close wounds on the battlefield and less-irritating formulations were further field-tested during the Vietnam War. After that, Super Glue was seen as a quick, reliable way to protect soldiers and prep them for transport.

Medics saw it as the best option in the absence of hospital-grade materials, as it was less scarring, could be used quickly, and was waterproof.

In 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a medical adhesive formulation named Dermabond (2-octyl cyanoacrylate) which is less toxic, four times as strong in bonding, and has plasticizers to improve flexibility.

Now, doctors say clean cuts, such as paper cuts, knife cuts, and other minor cuts, are good options for using medically approved forms of cyanoacrylates such as Dermabond, SurgiSeal, and Band-Aid Liquid Bandage.

Super Glue for Minor Cuts and Scrapes 

If you've ever gotten any Super Glue 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.

The glue not only stops bleeding quickly but also protects the skin from scarring. Eventually, the glue wears off, by which time the wound should be healed.

When Not to Use Super Glue

Although using Super Glue might work in a pinch, experts say it can irritate the skin.

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, use a medical-grade super glue meant specifically for minor cuts and scrapes.

Even the medical formulations 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.

These adhesives should not be used on:

  • Jagged wounds
  • Bites
  • Punctures
  • Joints
  • Hands and feet
  • Armpits
  • Perineum
  • Mucosal surfaces
  • Contaminated wounds

Alternatives to Super Glue

For a safer wound-healing glue, consider Dermabond, which is approved by the FDA for skin wound closure. 

You can also use a semipermeable dressing (Tegaderm, Bioclusive, Second Skin, or New Skin) 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.

Buy From

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Champagne, C. "Serendipity, Super Glue and Surgery: Cyanoacrylates as Hemostatic Aids in the Vietnam War".The Proceedings of the 18th Annual History of Medicine Days, University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine, Calgary, AB.

  3. González JG. Cianoacrilato: Definición y propiedades. Toxicidad y efectos secundarios. Aplicaciones en medicina y odontologíaAvances en Odontoestomatología. 2012;28(2):95-102. doi:10.4321/s0213-12852012000200006

  4. Gulalp B, Seyhan T, Gursoy S, Altinors MN. Emergency wounds treated with cyanoacrylate and long-term results in pediatrics: a series of cases; what are the advantages and boards?BMC Res Notes. 2009;2:132. Published 2009 Jul 14. doi:10.1186/1756-0500-2-132

  5. Jones C, Ho W, Samy M, Boom S, Lam W. Comparison of glues, sutures, and other commercially available methods of skin closure: A review of literatureMedical Research Archives. 2017;5(7). doi:10.18103/mra.v5i7.1419

Additional Reading

By Elizabeth Quinn
Elizabeth Quinn is an exercise physiologist, sports medicine writer, and fitness consultant for corporate wellness and rehabilitation clinics.