Sep 18

Dermabond: First Aid Pouch Necessity

Band-aids are great when you have small cuts or open wounds.  Irrigate the wound slap some antibacterial goop on there and follow up with a band-aid, no big deal.  But what about when a band-aid won’t work?  Suck it up and just deal with it right?  Not so fast Rambo.  Small wounds/sores can be the worst to deal with, especially when it comes to feet.  I’ve seen men who could probably go hunt a bear with a spoon go down because of a few small blisters/open sores on their feet.  Sometimes a band-aid simply won’t work, so when the mission demands that you drive on a different type of solution is need.

Last week I purchased some new Asics running shoes.  I’ve been working on my 2 to 3 mile run time and doing quite a bit of interval training/speed work as well.  My current pair of Asics were about 3 months old and were shot, and as I have written about before I knew that it was time for a new pair.  For some reason the new pair of shoes (combined with my short “footy” socks) did not work out so well resulting in a pretty nasty open sore on the back of my left Achilles tendon.  Not keen on laying around for a week or more to let the wound heel, I searched for ways to mitigate the damage while continuing to workout.  I tried band-aids and they didn’t stick (even the sport ones).  I tried using medical tape and it fell off, I even tried using duct tape on top of the band-aids and it would not stick.  After getting frustrated I decided to wear some taller socks and go for a run anyways, this was the result.

dermabond 1

Obviously the above picture is not optimal and after that event the only way I wouldn’t limp around was while wearing sandals.  If I put on socks and tried any pair of shoes/boots it would rub up against my sore and make things pretty uncomfortable.  I needed to figure something out which would allow me to continue mission (workout), thankfully my wife is much more versed in medical issues than I ever could be and had the answer.

My wife is an Operating Room Nurse (RN-BSN) and had the foresight to suggest that I purchase some Dermabond.  From a layman’s perspective it’s like super-gluing the wound, you just snap the capsule to activate it and coat the wound thus sealing it up and making things tolerable.  I was skeptical but my wife insisted we give it a go, I couldn’t believe how well it worked.  Here is what the back of my ankle looked like prior to the application of the Dermabond.  If you look closely you can see the residue from where I tried using Duct Tape to hold a band-aid in place.

dermabond 2

Here is a picture of the Dermabond, and my wife applying it to my wound.  I should note that I made sure to wash it very well before going through this procedure.

dermabond 3

dermabond 4

Once the Dermabond is applied it hardens into a nice clear protective layer.  I was able to walk around just fine about 15 minutes after this procedure and was able to workout the very next day.  I ran with no issues whatsoever the day after that as the wound continued to heal.

dermabond 5

At around $30 a vial Dermabond surely is not cheap.  Yet it could be looked at as just another tool in the kit, something to use when other methods are not available or simply will not work and the mission requires that you must drive on.  i suggest grabbing a few vials and sticking them in your medical kit just in case.

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  1. Hmmm. Dermabond. Duly noted! I’ll check it out.

      • PJ on September 19, 2013 at 9:17 AM
      • Reply

      It really is good stuff. I mean if you are far enough along in your medical preps to have IV kits, Staple guns and other misc supplies why not toss a few vials in there.

  2. Please ask your wife, How does Dermabond differ from New Skin? Which, by the way, is a helluva lot cheaper.

      • PJ on September 22, 2013 at 2:43 PM
      • Reply

      I guess the short answer (and purely our opinion) would be that Dermabond is clinical strength whereas products like New Skin are not. The active ingredient in Dermabond is 2-Octyl Cyanoacrylate, which…

      is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for closure of incised skin.[1] In addition to its surgical adhesive indication, 2-octyl cyanoacrylate was approved by the FDA in January 2001 for use as a barrier against common bacterial microbes, including certain staphylococci, pseudomonads, and Escherichia coli.


      The active ingredient in New Skin is Benzethonium Chloride 0.2%, which…

      It has surfactant, antiseptic, and anti-infective properties, and it is used as a topical antimicrobial agent in first aid antiseptics. It is also found in cosmetics and toiletries such as mouthwashes, anti-itch ointments, and antibacterial moist towelettes.


      My wife has seen surgeons use Dermabond many times to assist in any area where the skin has been opened. She said they stitch and then apply a thin later of Dermabond over top of the stitches to help seal the closure and to keep out infection. In contrast, on the New Skin website it clearly states that it should not be used over sutures.

      All of that to state that for minor cuts and wounds I’m sure BOTH would work just fine, New Skin being the cheaper option of the two. For clinical strength and something that has been engineered to be utilized in the operating room, one certainly can’t go wrong having some Dermabond on hand too. Heck, have both just to be safe. 🙂

      ps. Any surgeons in the house feel free to shoot my theory full of holes.

    • susan yasalonis on November 7, 2013 at 8:37 PM
    • Reply

    super glue (new skin) is what the old time plumbers have been using on their booboos for years. I have used it on my animals as well, small lacerations. Clean/flush/dry the wound well and apply a bead over the wound. Shave around the area if needed and you can take very small strips of duct tape to use if you don’t have stri-strips and/or coban. Snug up the skin and apply strip to tighten/close the wound. Make it taunt. Let dry and you are good to go. If it is a weight bearing extremity you will need to put a heavy snug dressing on it. Dental floss and a sewing needle if you can’t get bleeding under control.
    nurse Susie.

    • Pierat on November 30, 2013 at 11:46 PM
    • Reply

    This is great stuff but it is extremely important to do a thorough job of cleaning and disinfecting the wound before sealing it closed. When my older son was 8 or 9, he received an accidental human bite wound (playing around) on his chin. The doctor on duty cleaned it and sealed it up. Twenty-four hours later the wound was swollen, red and hot and kid #1 was running a fever. We had to take him back in to get the wound re-opened, properly cleaned and stitched…plus a course of anti-biotics. For a broken blister, abrasion or clean cut, the “glue” is great. For a dirtier wound I would opt for a more traditional treatment. Not a health worker, just my experience and reflection 🙂

    • Brendan on January 5, 2014 at 6:37 AM
    • Reply

    Keep in mind this should only be used for lacerations and abrasions. Puncture wounds should not be closed in this manner as they are difficult to clean and disinfect. using dermabond or the equivalent Vetbond on a puncture only serves to seal in the infection. But it really works well with lacerations. Avulsions are also problematic as there is a skin flap cut or torn away from the body part on two or three sides of the wound. if you can get it clean enough, dermabond can be effective in saving that skin flap. but in other cases, you may be better off removing the flap first as it may turn necrotic if it has insufficient blood vessels in the flap.
    I once had an arrestee hell bent on injuring himself in his scell and was slamming his forehead into the bars which caused a laceration in the center of his forehead. He was brought to the E.R. and the Dr. closed the laceration with dermabond and he was returned to his cell. A short time later, he was at it again and managed to lacerate his forehead again before we could stop him, but not in the same place. The new laceration was right next to the first one. The dermabond on the first laceration held together! Needless to say that after the second incident, he was transferred to the prison ward at the hospital where he could be properly restrained to prevent any further injury to himself.

    • doc pop on January 24, 2014 at 6:21 PM
    • Reply

    You could also have used tincture of benzoin and leukoplast tape I like to use on my guys for friction blisters. Benzoin makes an awesome base for the tape to stick to.
    Now if you are the dude that can take on the bear w/a spoon, there is another route you can go. Evacuate out the fluid, I use a lancet like a diabetic would use to puncture the blister, then I put tinctuer of benzoin in the area that the fluid was in. THIS BURNS LIKE H#$$, ie: tincture=alcohol. I do this with a small gage needle 25 or 27ga and an hypo, work this in then smooth out and tape down FLATthis will make the roof of the blister stick back to the dermis. When the dead skin comes off you will have the most beautiful callus and no more blisters in that area for quite a while or ever. There is a whole art form to treating blisters long and short term fixes or repairs. In my world “the drive on” out last the skin on the feet very often. The drive and need to finish the mission the body takes a beating, feet carry the brunt of the load.
    Anyway that’s my 2¢ worth try looking up Journal of Special Operations Medicine summer 2002 I think there is an article on blisters, I also think you may find a PDF file on line if you Google it
    Good luck, be safe, and God bless.

  3. Oh wow that looks like a fantastic addition to my First Aid Kit on our camping trip. My husband and I are taking a bunch of kids – our son and a few nieces and nephews on a camping trip and we wanted to make sure that we had all we would need in case of any medical emergency. We know the basic items we would need but had not heard about dermabond before. Knowing the kids we are taking along, I have a feeling once they hear about this cool medical aid, they are going to be tempted to get hurt and lacerated just to see how it worked. Glue Treatment

      • PJ on March 5, 2015 at 5:09 PM
      • Reply


      Glad the article could help, hope you don’t need it though!

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