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How To Remove Adhesive from Skin?

Akanksha Nigam

Skin adhesives are widely used, from dressing a minor wound to affixing tubes and sensors to the skin in hospitals. However, the stronger the adhesive, the more painful it is to remove, especially for sensitive skin. Even ripping off a band-aid can sometimes sting because they are designed to adhere strongly to the skin. 

Strong adhesion can irritate the skin upon removal and cause injury to those with fragile skin, such as infants, the elderly, and diabetics. Believe it or not, medical adhesive removal is the cause of more than 1.5 million injuries every year in the US.

However, there are ways to remove these strong adhesives without injuring or compromising skin integrity.

1. Adhesive Remover

Adhesive removers are specifically designed to break down the adhesive and remove its residue from the area surrounding the wound bed. These removers are made with hypoallergenic chemicals that do not harm sensitive skin. They are available in various forms like sprays, wipes, liquids, etc.

2. Ice

This is the cheapest and most easily available method to remove an adhesive from the skin. Rubbing ice on the wound hardens the adhesive and makes it brittle. It diminishes the sticky properties of the adhesive and leaves behind hard bits which can be brushed off easily. 

This technique is great when treating the sensitive and fragile skin of a child.

3. Oil

Simple household remedies to the rescue! Baby oil, baby shampoo, and petroleum jelly are great options that are gentle on the skin and can be directly applied to the area covered in adhesive. Their lubricant nature loosens the grip of the adhesive for effortless cleaning.

4. Medical-Grade or Rubbing Alcohol 

Alcohol can also be very helpful in removing strong adhesives. It is advisable to use only medical-grade alcohol or rubbing alcohol to ensure no other substance gets in contact with the affected area to prevent irritation and other complications.

Pour alcohol over the affected area and let it soak for 1-2 minutes. Next, gently rub the surface until all adhesive is wiped off, and rinse with clean water.

5. Create a fold

If you use medical tape to secure a dressing or a medical device to the skin, turn a section of the tape over and stick it to itself. Hold this flap and slowly pull it against the skin to remove the tape.

This method is quick but may be more painful than the other alternatives. 

What are the properties of a good adhesive remover?

  1. Gentle on the skin.
  2. Completely dissolves adhesive. 
  3. Just a little goes a long way.

Where to buy adhesive removers?

HPFY carries a wide range of products that remove adhesive from dressings and other appliances. Some of our best-sellers are:

1. Coloplast Brava Adhesive Remover Spray

FSA Approved

An easy way to remove any adhesive from the skin, this spray is alcohol-free and non-irritating. It dries within seconds and does not impact the adhesion of the next appliance. Its discreet packaging is spillproof and easy to carry while traveling.

How to use Coloplast Brava Adhesive Remover Spray?

  • Shake well before use.
  • Peel back one edge of the skin barrier or medical tape and spray around the edges of the adhesive.
  • Wait a couple of minutes and gently remove the barrier or tape. 
  • Reapply the remover if required.
Coloplast Brava Adhesive Remover Spray



2. Smith & Nephew Uni-Solve Adhesive Remover

FSA Approved

Gently removes acrylic, rubber, and hydrocolloid-based residues from the skin. This adhesive remover is formulated to reduce skin trauma by softening the adhesive and contains aloe vera to soothe and moisturize the skin.

How to use Smith & Nephew Uni-Solve Adhesive Remover?

  • Apply  remover to the edge of the dressing or tape 
  • Squeeze gently, so the fluid spreads between the skin and the adhesive.
  • Wash with soap and water.
  • Rinse and pat the skin dry.
Smith & Nephew Uni-Solve Adhesive Remover



3. Safe N Simple Peri Stoma Adhesive Remover Wipes

FSA Approved

These large-sized wipes gently soften the adhesive of ostomy appliances, films, and medical tapes. They are alcohol-free, gentle on the skin, and do not need to be rinsed off with water. They are cost-effective and non-irritating.

How to use Safe N Simple Peri Stoma Adhesive Remover Wipes?

  • Remove a wipe from the pack.
  • Wipe skin clean.
  • Make sure the skin is dry before applying the next dressing or ostomy device.
  • Reseal the pack to keep wipes moist.

To use with a dressing or tape

  • Gently lift the corner of the dressing.
  • Wipe between the skin and the wound dressing.
  • Gently peel back the adhesive while continuing to wipe ahead.
  • Repeat this process till you have completely removed the dressing.
Safe N Simple Peri Stoma Adhesive Remover Wipes



Removing dressings, tapes, and ostomy skin barriers with adhesives can be traumatizing whether you have normal or sensitive skin. It can lead to redness or rashes on the skin. Reach out to your doctor if you are unable to remove the adhesive on your own. You can also ask your doctor’s advice about products that are gentle on the skin and do not leave a sticky residue, such as the 3M Kind Removal Silicone Tape, which is hypoallergenic, offers controlled adhesion, and can be torn easily with a hand.


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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