Dermabond® Incision Care

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Your child has an incision that was closed with an adhesive film called Dermabond. The Dermabond will hold your child’s incision together at skin level. It will loosen from the skin and fall off in 5 to 10 days.  Exposure to water may make it fall off sooner. Call your child’s doctor if the edges of the incision open or pull apart. Avoid tanning lamps and prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Follow these Directions

  • Teach your child not to scratch or pick at the film.This may loosen the film before the incision is healed.If you keep the incision covered, your child will be less likely to pick or scratch the film.
  • No bandage is necessary.
  • Do not apply any ointments, lotions, creams, or tape over the Dermabond film.This may loosen the film before the incision has healed.
  • You do not need to clean the incision with soap or water.
  • If the Dermabond gets wet, gently blot the incision dry with a soft towel.
  • Do not soak or scrub the incision.

Signs of Infection

There is a chance the incision may get infected. If you think it is infected, call your child’s doctor or return to the Emergency Department or Urgent Care

Watch for the following signs of infection:

  • Increasing redness and warmth around the incision
  • Increasing pain or tenderness
  • Yellow or green drainage from the incision
  • Increased swelling
  • Foul odor from the incision
  • Fever
  • Red streaks that start at the incision and travel toward the body


  • Your child should avoid activities that produce heavy sweating until the Dermabond film has fallen off.
  • Your child may go back to school or child care.Please tell the teacher the limits on your child’s activities.
  • Your child should avoid contact sports, bike riding, swimming, tree climbing, skating and skateboarding, physical education class and other rough play.
  • Swimming is not allowed for 7 days.

When to Call the Doctor

  • Call your child’s doctor if the edges of the incision open or pull apart.
  • Call your child’s doctor if your child develops a rash around the incision.

Other Advice

Many things affect how a healing incision looks. Proper cleaning, proper nutrition, location, exposure to sun and susceptibility to thick scarring can affect the look of your child’s incision. The final scar may not settle for a few years after the injury.

After the Dermabond has fallen off, you may apply lotions to the healed skin. You may use lotions such as aloe vera, shea butter, cocoa butter, vitamin E oil or an over-the-counter scar-reducing cream. 

Before going outdoors, use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. It is important to apply sunscreen often to the wounded area for up to 2 years. For healed incisions on the head, a hat should be worn to protect the area from the sun and UV rays.

Dermabond® Incision Care (PDF)

HH-II-160 8/05, Revised 2/19 | Copyright 2005, Nationwide Children’s Hospital