At some point in our lives, we all asked ourselves how to remove a sticky bandage painlessly. Even nurses struggled with the removal of these pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAS). These are, namely, plastic bandages, wound dressings, and medical tape. It can be challenging to remove these adhesives next to a healing wound, fragile skin, or sites of frequent reapplication. Parents can also relate since removing these bandages from children’s skin can be tough.
Why does it take a long time before you can remove these bandages? Once you apply them, they become a reminder of your previous accident or mishap. There are many ways on how to remove a sticky bandage without pain. Also, there are some tricks up your sleeves that you might not know in removing the residue.
Why You Should Remove a Sticky Bandage Carefully
Some patients have delicate or fragile skin, and they have a higher risk for medical adhesive-removal skin injury (MARSI). Typically, these patients have a frail connection between skin layers. In turn, they easily get injured when these pressure-sensitive adhesives are removed. Before removing a bandage, make sure to take note of these patient factors:
- Newborn babies – The connection between a baby’s dermis and epidermis is weaker than that of an adult’s.
- Older adults – When people age, their skin structure also loosens and weakens. This results in a separation of the skin layers upon the removal of the adhesive.
- Medications – Drugs such as corticosteroids may cause thinning of the skin. That increases a person’s risk for MARSI and delayed healing.
- Dehydration and Malnutrition – People who are both dehydrated and malnourished have weakened skin integrity.
Your knowledge of patient factors can help prevent harm and anxiety. This is why you have to be careful in the removal of adhesives. This is especially the case when it comes to the patients, as mentioned above.
Ways on How to Remove a Sticky Bandage
Adhesive glue is painful and stubborn to pull off. Moreover, it turns all black when it starts collecting dirt, which is very unsightly. Here are some ways you can remove a sticky bandage without stressing your skin.
First off, moisten the cotton swab with alcohol. Pull a corner and moisten this area with alcohol if the tape is still attached to the skin. After that, pull the tape further and soak the recently exposed portion. This should be done after you allow the alcohol to dissolve the adhesive. You may continue the steps until the tape is entirely gone.
If you are only trying to remove residue, use a swab that is soaked in alcohol to rub the area. Do this in a circular motion until the adhesive slides off effortlessly. Clean the portion with warm water and soap. Finish off by applying lotion to hydrate your skin.
Water and Soap
Perform this step with a towel or washcloth. Apply tiny drops of dish soap and warm water to the same. Allow the soap to penetrate the glue by holding the washcloth to the adhesive for about ten minutes. Remember to rub the area gently when you are trying to remove the adhesive. Rubbing too hard will irritate your skin.
Rinse the area and apply lotion for moisture.
This is an old-school method of removing stick bandages from the skin painlessly. All you have to do is smear a thick layer of shampoo on stubborn residue. After this, cover said area with a damp cloth. Wait for ten minutes before you rub the skin gently in removing traces of the adhesive. Rinse well and repeat the whole process if necessary. This may take a while, but this is one of the most painless ways of removing a persistent adhesive.
Most people use oil to get rid of leftover bandage marks and adhesives. You may use vegetable oil, mineral oil, baby oil, or bath oil. Swab it over the residue to soften the glue. The good thing about this method is that it can also reduce the sting that comes with bandage removal. You may also rub the oil around the edges of the sticky bandage and let that seep through the air holes until it loosens. You may add more oil until you successfully remove the bandage from your skin painlessly.
Petroleum jelly is a versatile item you can surely find in your medicine cabinet. Since it is a petroleum-based product, it easily dissolves tacky substances in gel form. It is even safe to use near your eyes or any sensitive part of the body. To use it as a bandage remover, apply a layer of petroleum jelly to the affected portions. Wait for at least 30 minutes, then rub your skin gently until the adhesive disintegrates. Wipe the area with a cloth. Rinse and repeat as you may deem necessary.
Pull and Lift
This is a somewhat painful method of removing a sticky bandage. You can do this by lifting and pulling, slowly removing the gauze from the affected area. Do this until the same is completely removed. Let your wound get some air for several minutes before you change the dressing again. Wet a cloth with lukewarm water then wipes it around the wound. Remember to pat the area. Do not rub it.
As much as we want to avoid being injured, it just inevitably happens. Now that you know how to remove a sticky bandage, you also know how to be kind to your skin. Do not remove a bandage harshly. Be gentle in doing so, and your skin will thank you for it. You may try using any of the methods stated above, but this will depend on your pain tolerance. If you have low pain tolerance, it is best to use the oil method. The removal will not be as quick as the others, but less painful. Find out more about first aid.