Why Do Super Glue Adhesives Bond To The Skin? Tips And Remedies

By any chance, have you ever spilled superglue accidentally, and then you realize it sticks to any surface within a few seconds? If you haven’t! Let us warn you; adhesives do stick even on the skin. The results will be fingers or skin glued together or to other objects. Well, it’s all because of the key chemical used to make super glue known as cyanoacrylate monomer. So, when exposed to moisture in the air, they react by bonding immediately.

Cyano-acrylate monomer makes super glue unique compared to the standard white glues that bond woods and various materials together. The monomers in cyano-acrylate naturally bond together to make long chains of molecules known as polymers. Polymers are pretty common in our daily lives since all plastics and synthetic fabrics are made from them.

What makes cyanoacrylate monomer extraordinary is its speed at which they form polymers. In contrast, to white glue with water inside to prevent them from sticking to the inside of the bottle, super glue is sealed inside a vacuum that doesn’t have water to start the bonding process. If exposed to air, the moisture present begins the process of hardening, which forms polymers. Our skins are moist and secrete oil which makes it a suitable surface for cyano-acrylate to start bonding. This is the main reason the glue sticks to your skin, but it doesn’t stick to the bottles inside.

Super Glue Adhesives Bond To The Skin

How Do You Remove Mighty Bonds From The Skin?

Be very careful always when using any glue. But if your skin becomes bonded by super glue, don’t panic; it’s not usually harmful. Plus, there is a range of home remedies you can use to remove it quickly. You can either try the following solutions:

Try Peeling It First.

Luckily, if the irritating glue has stuck to one of your fingers instead of sticking some together, then this process will be sufficient. Try peeling carefully and stop if you feel pain or see skin lifting off. Please wait until the glue dries entirely before peeling it off.

In a case where your fingers are stuck to another or skin gets attached to another object, you should soak the area in warm soapy water first, after which try to separate the glue from the skin or fingers using a blunt object like a spoon handle. Pulling apart the skin can be painful, so try rolling motion or peeling motion. Take good care of your skin to avoid breaking its surface.

Soaking In Warm And Soapy Water

Try soaking the affected area for about five to ten minutes in warm and soapy water if the superglue is not fully dry. Once the glue becomes soft, rub gently or peel it off the skin. Stop if it’s painful because it may tear the skin. It will remove the bond, but if it fails, leave it and try other methods below.

Use Nail Polish Remover Or Acetone.

If you have stricter skin types, this method is excellent. The nail polish removal contains a powerful solvent called acetone that can dissolve super glue. Before you proceed, ensure the object is safe to use removal chemicals like this on it, e.g., it’s unsafe to use acetone on something that has peroxide on it. It’s good to rinse the object before using acetone. There is also the possibility acetone may alter the color of some things like plastic.

To work effectively, pour the nail remover into a bowl and soak the skin for few minutes. If there is some glue remaining, continue soaking the affected area until the glue dissolves the bond. But remember, you should never apply acetone to your open wounds.

Butter And Oils

Yes, butter and oils are another effective way of removing super glue. Remove the adhesive by soaking your skin in warm water first, then apply oil or butter and rub onto the super glue to dissolve the bond. Like avocado or coconut oil, butter and oil can separate fingers that are stuck together with super glue. Massage the area while applying more oil until the bond is broken. 

Lemon Juice 

Believe it! The acid found in lemon juice can remove super glue. However, the remedy works best on small patches of super glue.  Soak the skin for about ten minutes inside the lemon juice bowl and use a soft toothbrush or cotton swab to rub directly onto the area. Further, rub it with a dry washcloth, wash your hands, and then moisturize to get rid of glue completely. 

Pumice Stone

Naturally, pumice stone is used to remove the dead skin and calluses, but it will also help remove dried glue bits. Soak the affected area in warm soapy water first and dip the stone in the water. In a circular motion, rub the surface using the stone until all the superglue is gone. You can purchase pumice stones in pharmacies, natural health stores, or online.

Use Salt

A paste prepared of salt and water can help scrape away the glue. Put two tablespoons of salt in your hands and add little water to make a paste. Rub the paste for a minute, and then rinse it off. Continue rubbing without adding water until the salt has dissipated.r This will help lift off the glue in your skin.

Try Margarine

Apply a little margarine on the affected area and rub it gently; repeat the process until you can peel off the glue. However, if you have sensitive skin, use grease or olive oil to remove the super glue. 

Glue Removers

Some craft and hobby stores sell products that can remove super glue without damaging your skin. Use glue remover if your skin is glued to plastic rather than acetone.

Is Super Glue Harmful To The Skin?

Superglue sticks quickly to the skin the way it does to surfaces. Trying to pull apart the glued area can cause a tear in your skin, making it painful. But don’t worry; it should not cause any lasting damage. Only in rare cases, super glue can cause burns.

When super glue is left alone, it will eventually dissolve on its own within a few days. But you can speed up the process by using the home remedies like peeling it off, soaking it in warm water, using nail polish, or applying glue removers, among others. If you develop a burn or rash, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. 

How Long Does Super Glue Stay On Your Skin?

The time takes for super glue to come off the skin depends on the amount of adhesive, the affected area, the object glued, and the method used to remove adhesive. If you use home remedies or seek assistance from the doctor, it will take a few minutes to remove the super glue altogether.  Suppose you put a small amount of super glue on your fingers and do nothing about it; it will come off between three to five days.

How Do You Keep Super Glue From Sticking To Your Hands?

Masking, surface preparation, storage, bottle shape, gloves, and clean-up are some of the ways you can use to keep super glue from sticking to your hands. You can also use standard methods like wetting your hands a bit to be just moist as superglue doesn’t stick to water so well. Wearing gloves while making sure you soak the fingertips can also help not trade off the bond.

Tips For Using Super Glues

Surface Preparation

If you are working with a smooth surface, it will be nice to roughen a little bit. Light sand will give you great results. Roughening increases the chance for the adhesive to bond. No matter what, ensure that both surfaces are clean and dry since the glue will stick to anything, including dirt. Be careful when doing so to avoid sticking your hands with super glue.


Wear your gloves and avoid bonding your skin with super glue. Take your time and put on your gloves while ensuring the fingertips are wet before using the adhesive. It will give you more confidence while enabling you to work faster without any fear.


It’s a great idea to mask the surface surrounding you are working on before applying the glue. As you know, mistakes do happen, and tape masking will help them stick to the unwanted surface. You can also cover up the surrounding areas with an old rag in case you drop the glue bottle. If there is spillage around, you will take the rag off and avoid sticking your hands on it unknowingly.

Bottle Shape

Your glue’s bottle shape does matter if you will work with small objects that need a precise fit as it will make things easier. But if you are working with a large surface, it’s not of much concern. A small squeeze tube may also be better to avoid excess glue spills that can stick on your hands.


After finishing your work, ensure you store your superglue bottle in a safe place out of children’s reach. Remember, super glue works by reacting with moisture in the air; thus, you should always make sure the lid is air-tight.

Clean up

Remove any cured super glue from the surface either mechanically or by using chemicals. Mechanical involves scraping or grinding, whereas chemical consists of the use of solvents. It will avoid unnecessary skin sticks that you can experience with a messy surface area.


Superglue skin sticks on the skin due to contact with moisture. However, the sticking may not be dangerous on your skin since it can be removed using various ways. Sometimes it’s good to wait for a few days to see if the glue comes off on its own when the home remedies don’t work. Nonetheless, it would be best if you avoided at all costs any super glue near your eyes and mouth. If you swallow superglue by mistake, rinse your mouth thoroughly, and go to the emergency room to see a doctor. 

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