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Steristrips off - how to get the glue off?

raili
raili Member Posts: 96

It's been 10 days since my lumpectomy and my surgeon said I could gently/slowly take the steri-strips off.  WOW, that was a lot of glue.  My skin is still all sticky.  What kind of soap/product can I safely use to get the glue off, without having to scrub so much I harm my incisions?

Comments

  • geysermom
    geysermom Member Posts: 14
    edited January 2010

    BE CAREFUL!!!

    You need to make sure your surgeon did not use Dermabond.  It's a product that they actually use to join the skin together and should not be removed but allowed to wear off (it eventually peels off like dead skin).  In my case it was a very light purple when you looked closely.

    If you just have a lot of adhesive from the steri-strips, I know the hospital and surgeon's offices use an oily product that cuts straight through the adhesive.  I don't know if something like baby oil would work the same. 

    I would call your surgeon's office and ask them what it is that you are seeing and how (and if) you should try to remove it.

    Julie

  • Faith316
    Faith316 Member Posts: 1,088
    edited January 2010

    Try using some baby oil.

  • somanywomen
    somanywomen Member Posts: 82
    edited January 2010

    I wish I had thought of baby oil yesterday when I was trying to scrub off black paint that was used to apply big X's on me at the end of my rad boosts (last one was last thursday)...It has been 2 1/2 months since my lumpectomy and I thought I could scrub it off....My breast hurt soooooo bad after the scrubbing that I had to take a high power drug to help the pain.....so be very very gentle with yourself!!!!

  • pj12
    pj12 Member Posts: 18,108
    edited January 2010

    My lumpectomy was closed with Dermabond (purple thick superglue).  The steristrips came off easily but the glue lasted forever, maybe six weeks!  I was too tender and too afraid to be aggressive with it.  But finally it began to crack and I could gently pick the pieces out of the wound.  It was also irritating to the surrounding skin and once it was gone the redness and itchiness went away.

    Be patient.  This too shall pass :)

    pam 

  • mradf
    mradf Member Posts: 24
    edited January 2010

    To be clear, the steri-strips and the Dermabond are two different things.

    Don't mess with the Dermabond until it starts to peel off on it's own. 

    The steri strips can be soaped up in the shower and g e n t l y peeled up, then use some plain, white, unscented lotion (Vaseline Intensive Care has one and CVS offers an identical store brand) to help it along.  It may not happen in one session, so don't force the issue.  Rubbing some lotion on the glue then g e n t l y rubbing with a soft, dry washcloth will help the residual glue come up, also.  (By the way, it's my preferred makeup remover product, too!). 

    As pam said:  "Be patient.  This too shall pass."

    Be well.

    Maria

  • raili
    raili Member Posts: 96
    edited January 2010

    YIKES!  I didn't know about this Dermabond stuff, and I don't know if I have that!  I don't THINK so??  It doesn't seem purple anywhere... And I have not picked at my incisions at all... there was just gray-ish bits of glue surrounding the incision, from the steri-strips.  And I've been picking that glue off.  Oh geez.  Maybe I need to email my surgeon after all, to ask if there's Dermabond or not... I had decided to post here about my glue question so that I wouldn't be "bugging" her with yet another seemingly-small question. 

  • badger
    badger Member Posts: 24,938
    edited March 2011

    Edited to redact a post with personal information.

  • DianeKS
    DianeKS Member Posts: 36
    edited January 2010

    Olive oil works well on a piece of gauze so you can rub it off otherwise it just gets slippery without coming off very easily.  I've had the same problem with both surgeries and other occasions with tape.

    Diane

  • raili
    raili Member Posts: 96
    edited January 2010
    That's a good point, groundhog... thanks!  I did email her.  She's awesome with communication (e.g. emails me back quickly, sometimes even on weekends, once during her VACATION, etc), and I appreciate that but don't want to take advantage of it.  But you're right, I guess with CANCER, no question is silly or too small, and yes, it is part of her job to answer my surgery-related questions.  And she frequently says "Be in touch with questions!" and encourages me to contact her if I, or any of my family members, have questions... So I should stop trying to preface everything with "Sorry to be bugging you with this, but..."  It's kind of a self-denigrating thing, huh.  And sadly common for women.  My mom and I were actually talking about this topic recently, when I had been waiting for SEVEN DAYS to hear the results of my pathology report and was really impatient but trying not to be one of those "annoying patients" by calling again.  My mom pointed out, hospitals are used to all kinds of patients, such as people who call incessantly, yell, and get rude and demanding.  Just the fact that I spend all this time fretting about not wanting to be a "difficult patient," means that I'm clearly not.  I'm one of the polite ones, and probably a relief in comparison to all those truly difficult patients.  I ended up emailing my surgeon to super-politely ask if she had the results yet, adding all my disclaimers of how I don't want to be a pest and I'm trying to be patient.  When she called me back, she assured me it's normal and right for me to call to check and see if the results are in, and that she encourages people to do that; she gave this mini-speech on patients' rights and used anecdotes to illustrate her point that it's okay to call!, and promised that while many doctors unfortunatley don't call their patients right away with results, she always does, because she knows how important it is.  She is freaking amazing.  So I think I should try and get over myself, and ask questions when I have them!
  • DiDiT
    DiDiT Member Posts: 11
    edited January 2010

    my surgeon recommended vaseline applied, allowed to sit about 15-30 minutes, then wipe off -  three times to soften and then to peel off the glue - However on the hospital discharge instructions - stated glue would wear off eventually

  • raili
    raili Member Posts: 96
    edited January 2010
    Thanks for all the tips, everyone!!  I didn't want to just leave the glue alone, because I'm having a re-excision surgery in a few days... and didn't wanna show up covered in glue that my surgeon/someone would have to "waste time" removing, when that's something I can do at home.  So I've been gently just rubbing/picking it off, in the areas around the incisions, not picking at the incisions themselves... which look fine to me, btw... and I don't see purple stuff anywhere... still waiting to hear from my surgeon, but I think everything's okay.
  • nativemainer
    nativemainer Member Posts: 7,796
    edited January 2010

    Don't worry about making more work for the staff when you go in for re-exicision.  It's actually safer to have the staff do in in the OR where the antiseptic can be applied right after so there's no opportunity for bacteria to get into any little microscopic breaks in the skins from rubbing/picking.the glue off.  Not to mention that we have adhesive remover readily available to use if it's needed. And don't worry about bugging the surgeon and staff--YOU PAY them, their JOB is to answer questions.  When the get the same question from enough patients they'll learn to add it to the discharge instuctrucion paperwork or to mention it  up front. 

  • raili
    raili Member Posts: 96
    edited January 2010

    Thanks, NativeMaine... what you say makes total sense.  But I guess it's too late now!

    I originally asked my surgeon if I should leave the steristrips alone or remove them before surgery, and she told me that at this point (10 days post-surgery), it was okay for me to gently/slowly remove them.  So I'm glad it's at least something she gave me approval to do.

  • raili
    raili Member Posts: 96
    edited January 2010

    My surgeon emailed back... and told me not to trust the Internet. Tongue out

     (No Dermabond, I'm fine!)

  • badger
    badger Member Posts: 24,938
    edited March 2011

    Edited to redact a post with personal information.

  • AngelaD
    AngelaD Member Posts: 6
    edited January 2010

    Baby powder (cornstarch variety) worked great for me.  I patted it on the glue spots and gently the glue rolled off with the powder.  My wounds were healed - with no seeping when I used the powder.  I found trying to remove the residue with alcohol and other wipes was irritating to my skin.  Hope this help - take care everyone!

  • twinkly
    twinkly Member Posts: 104
    edited February 2010

    I know this post may be a little late, but the nurse who removed my staples and then placed steri strips, gave me little packets....just like alcohol wipes....specifically designed to removed that glue painlessly - and it works very well.  For those going home with steri strips, ask for these little gems....two packets was all it took, one for the right side and one for the left.

     take care,

    Twinkly

  • Somuch
    Somuch Member Posts: 21
    edited February 2010

    I was told by my PS to use olive oil to remove all glues and vit. E oil 1x daily on the scars to help them fade. My S sugested Tamanu oil instead of Vit. E and it has been great. The glue comes off a bit of a time with the Tamanu oil too. 

  • echosalvaje
    echosalvaje Member Posts: 73
    edited February 2010

    Dipping a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and wiping it over the sticky tape residue works very well.