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How to Remove Superglue on Skin

author image Tracy Flynn
Tracy Flynn is a nursing professor at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, where she has taught health care policy and economics as well as public health for 10 years. Her prior experience as a certified public accountant has provided her a unique perspective as a nurse. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies at Gonzaga University in leadership and social justice.
How to Remove Superglue on Skin
Superglue effectively bonds anything--including skin.

If there's one product that lives up to its claims, it's Superglue--as anyone who has accidentally glued their fingers together can attest. And unless you know the single solution that will dissolve the bond of Superglue, you can scrub and scrape and pull for hours but will likely remove as much skin as glue. According to the Super Glue Corporation, the key to effectively breaking the bond is acetone--a colorless, flammable liquid. While acetone is present in a surprising number of products, including cosmetics, inks, adhesives--even, according to the Dow Chemical Company, beverages and baked goods--it comes in its purest form in some nail polish removers and in paint thinner. Acetone breaks down artificial fingernails, so many nail polish removers no longer contain acetone. Be certain to choose the product with acetone for the purpose of this task.

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Removing Superglue From a Single Skin Surface

Step 1

Apply the nail polish remover or paint thinner to a cotton ball. Rub it on the glued skin, beginning at outer edge of glue and rubbing towards the center.

Step 2

Repeat the procedure, applying the solution to clean cotton balls and working around the edge of the glue, until there is no remaining residue.

Step 3

Wash your hands thoroughly using an antibacterial soap and gently pat them dry. Apply a moisturizing cream to counteract the drying effects of acetone.

Removing Superglue From Two Bonded Skin Surfaces

Step 1

Dip a cotton swab into the nail polish remover or paint thinner and swab the edge of the bonded skin while gently pulling the two skin surfaces apart.

Step 2

Repeat the procedure, dipping clean cotton swabs into the solution and dabbing at newly exposed glue, until the skin surfaces separate.

Step 3

Apply the solution to a cotton ball and rub it over affected skin surfaces to remove any remaining residue of Superglue.

Step 4

Wash your hands thoroughly using an antibacterial soap and gently pat your skin dry. Apply a moisturizing hand cream to counteract the drying effects of acetone.

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