What Causes Adhesive Rashes?

adhesive irritation

What Causes Adhesive Rashes?

Adhesive irritation or rashes occur when the outer layers of skin are removed by adhesive material, leading to pain and an increased risk of infection. If you use catheters or any other ventricular assist devices (VAD) as part of your post-surgery recovery, these rashes can also delay your healing.

In this post, we are going to talk about what causes adhesive irritation, its symptoms, and how you can effectively remedy it.

Symptoms of Adhesive Rashes and Irritation

Based on the cause of the reaction, there are several types of rashes that come with their own set of symptoms. If you are having a dermatitis reaction to the adhesive, your skin will appear red and dry. If you remove the adhesive or replace it with a new one, this condition usually goes away.

It is also possible that you are having an allergic reaction to something in the adhesive or the dressing. If this is the case, your skin will become red with blisters that can last for up to a week.

If you are experiencing a maceration reaction to the back of the tape, your skin will appear gray or white in color, and may even become wrinkled. This leaves your skin highly prone to damage from any kind of friction.

If you are having a folliculitis reaction, the hair follicles on the affected area will become clogged and inflamed as a result. This looks like tiny, raised bumps on the skin that may fill with pus in a few days. 

What Causes Adhesive Irritation?

If you are suffering from any kind of skin irritation or rashes, it is happening because your skin-to-adhesive attachment is way stronger than skin cell-to-skin cell attachment. This causes the epidermal (outermost) skin layer to separate from the dermal (inner) layer.

Due to constant application and removal of adhesives on skin, the outer layer becomes damaged and prone to infections.

The following people are highly susceptible to adhesive rashes:

·        Seniors with age-related skin fragility

·        Patients that need frequent dressing changes

·        Patients on medications for arthritis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and skin conditions

·        People suffering from incontinence 

·        Patients suffering from eczema

·        Patients with a diagnosis of dehydration and/or malnutrition

How to Reduce Adhesive Irritation

The best way to make sure your skin doesn’t have an adverse reaction to medical adhesive is to use good quality products, and carefully follow the application and removal instructions. Cloth tapes may seem like a sterling idea because they adhere most strongly, but we don’t recommend them since they can tear the skin. Silicone and foam tapes are gentler to the skin.

If you need to apply the adhesive on areas prone to edema or your joints, consider using an adhesive that’s stretchable. However, you might be better off using a modern hydrocolloid-based adhesive like CathGrip which eliminates the risk of irritation and skin tearing altogether. If you’ve had trouble with conventional adhesives in the past, it might be time to try something new.

Wound Care Resources Sales: Your Advanced Wound Care Center

Looking for an effective and affordable adhesive that’s latex-free and gentle on skin? Wound Care Resources Sales has you covered. We offer a wide array of medical device accessories that have been designed to help you lead a comfortable and healthier life. Call 855-400-2433 to get in touch with us today.


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