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Adhesive Allergy: The 411 You Must Know

Adhesive Allergy: The 411 You Must Know
Akanksha Nigam

In order to heal, a severe wound requires advanced wound care products, such as dressings and bandages, that are designed with a strong adhesive to secure them to the skin. This keeps the wound clean and covered and allows it to heal. This principle also applies to band-aids.

While stickiness is important, some people with sensitive skin might experience adhesive allergy. This is a subset of a condition called contact dermatitis, where an itchy and red rash appears on the skin when it comes in contact with an allergic substance. There are two types of contact dermatitis - 

1. Irritant Dermatitis: Irritant dermatitis is not caused by an allergy but by the skin's reaction to friction or an irritating substance such as acids, soaps, detergents, and other chemicals. Other common materials that can irritate the skin are:

  • Cement
  • Hair dyes
  • Long-time exposure to wet diapers
  • Pesticides 
  • Rubber gloves
  • Shampoos

2. Allergic Contact Dermatitis: This happens when the skin reacts to a substance that may cause an allergic reaction. It usually affects only the area which comes into contact with the allergen. Some common allergens are:

  • Adhesives
  • Antibiotics
  • Fabrics and clothing
  • Fragrances
  • Nail polish

What does an adhesive allergy look like?

Bandaid allergy develops slowly with regular exposure and usually develops within 24-48 hours. If you experience an allergic reaction to the bandaid, you may cause, and you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Red and itchy rashes
  • Bumps on the skin
  • Swelling
  • Dry and flaky skin
  • Oozing blisters

The longer the skin is in contact with an allergen, the more severe the reaction can become. 

How to diagnose an allergic reaction to bandaid adhesive?

Adhesive allergy reaction is easily diagnosed by observing redness and itchiness under the band-aid or bandage and can also be diagnosed by using the patch testing method. However, it is better to consult a doctor for an official diagnosis if symptoms are severe. The doctor will examine your skin and ask questions about the products you have been using to understand what is causing the allergic reaction.

Adhesive Allergy Treatment

Many people have this concern about how to treat rash from bandage adhesive. Treatment will depend on the severity of the allergy. If it is mild, simply avoiding the adhesives would suffice. A minor reaction is healed by simply removing the adhesive and allowing the rash to heal naturally. If you use a transdermal patch, apply the new patch to a different area of the body. If the inflammation continues, consult your medical practitioner. Some other treatment options are:

  • Apply an antifungal cream
  • Apply an ointment for cuts
  • Taking an antihistamine
  • Keeping the area moist
  • Using a cool compress

Another important thing to note is that no matter how itchy the rash can be, scratching it can worsen the rash and cause infection. 

What alternatives to use if you are allergic to bandaids?

If you are allergic to bandages and traditional adhesives, there are alternatives that you can use, such as:

  1. Skin Barrier Film:  creates a safe layer between the skin and the bandage. Skin barrier film should not be applied directly to the wound. It can easily be removed using soap and water. 
  2. Hypoallergenic Band-Aids and Tapes: designed with soft cloth-like tapes to secure dressings.
  3. Gauze and Tubular Bandages:  rather than securing the dressing with an adhesive, apply a piece of gauze over the wound and secure it with a tubular bandage.

Where to buy alternative bandage adhesives online?

HPFY carries a wide range of barrier films, medical tapes, tubular bandages, gauze, and other wound care products. These are the top 3 alternative products for those allergic to bandages:

1. 3M Cavilon No Sting Barrier Film

Provides a gentle way to protect the skin from adhesive allergy by creating a transparent and breathable film. This fast-drying, non-sticky hypoallergenic film can be easily used on intact or damaged skin and also on folds and creases. It also provides great relief from incontinence-related wetness and rashes.

2. 3M Micropore Tape

Secures dressings without causing any harm to the skin and leaves minimal residue upon removal. Made with hypoallergenic, breathable material, it secures the dressing to the wound with gentle adhesion and is removed without irritation. This lightweight tape is ideal for sensitive patients, allowing moisture to evaporate and promoting effective wound healing without compromising comfort.

3. Medline Medigrip Elasticated Tubular Support Bandage

Helps secure wound care dressings when other adhesive products are unsuitable. This product can be doubled to give a mild compression effect. It is simple to apply and reapply without using tape and helps to reduce swelling.

3M Cavilon No Sting Barrier Film


3M Micropore Surgical Tape - White


Medline Medigrip Elasticated Tubular Support Bandage



HPFY carries a wide variety of wound care products. Explore our vast catalog of medical supplies to find products that suit your needs.

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Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Akanksha Nigam

Akanksha Nigam

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Akanksha Nigam has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. With a Masters Degree in Finance, she began her Marketing career in the banking industry. However, her interest in human ...

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