Skin Adhesives (Liquid Stitches)

Topic Overview

Skin adhesives are clear gels that may be used to hold the edges of a small cut together. Your doctor may apply a skin adhesive instead of stitching your cut. A liquid will be applied to your skin and allowed to dry. As it dries, it creates a film that will hold together the edges of your cut.

If a skin adhesive is used, be sure to follow your doctor's instructions on how to care for your cut. In general, to care for your cut:

  • Leave the skin adhesive on your skin until it falls off—usually 5 to 10 days after it was applied.
  • Do not scratch or pick at the adhesive. This may cause the adhesive to fall off too soon.
  • Follow your doctor's instruction on keeping the wound and skin adhesive dry. You can shower with a skin adhesive in place. Be sure to gently dry the area after you shower. Avoid soaking your wound in water, such as tub bathing, washing dishes, or swimming.
  • If your doctor has applied a bandage over the wound, keep it clean and dry. Follow your doctor's instruction on changing the bandage.
  • Do not put ointments, including antibiotic ointment, over the adhesive. This can cause the adhesive to soften or come off too soon.
  • Watch for signs of infection. If signs of an infection develop, call your doctor.

Credits

Current as of: June 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC - Emergency Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Health Library