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medical grade adhesive for skin
Lee K. HouseApr 29, 20243 min read

Types of Medical Grade Adhesives and Their Uses

Super glue might save you in a pinch at home, but it would undoubtedly make an uncomfortable addition to a heart monitor patch. 

Medical grade adhesives are held to a standard for good reason— nobody wants to risk using a painfully powerful or otherwise uncomfortable adhesive on their skin. 

At Strouse, we’ve spent years helping design engineers find the ideal adhesive for their stick-to-skin medical grade applications. 

Today, we’ll review the different types of medical grade adhesives and how to choose one for your needs. 

Medical Grade Adhesive Requirements 

Medical grade adhesives are often used in stick-to-skin or medical device applications. They are produced in a certifiably clean environment, such as an ISO Clean Room, and can undergo sterilization.

What Are the Different Types of Medical Grade Adhesive?

The medical grade adhesive you choose will ultimately depend on your intended purpose and the surfaces you’re bonding.  For instance, medical grade adhesives for skin will require different considerations than adhesives for medical devices.  

Choosing the wrong adhesive can have severe health and manufacturing price consequences, which is why you’ll want to contact a flexible material converter before settling on a material for your product component. 


Acrylic is a tough adhesive used for powerful skin and device attachments

Acrylic adhesive’s strength and tack allow it to hold heavier devices or fixtures, such as tubes, to the skin and create powerful bonds between substrates. 

The characteristics of acrylic include:

  • Low-to-mid-range adhesive price
  • Increased durability for longer wear
  • Fairly solvent-resistant

Certain acrylic adhesives are marketed as high-conformability for waterproof applications. Although you’ll often see acrylic skin adhesive compared to silicone, your selection ultimately depends on your product’s intended purpose. 


If you’re looking for medical superglue, then cyanoacrylate may suit your project application. 

While acrylic adhesive is often used in tandem acrylic foam adhesive parts, cyanoacrylate is primarily applied in liquid form to bond catheters and surgical instruments. Physicians may also use cyanoacrylate on shallow cuts to protect the edges and reduce scarring


Silicone is a softer adhesive used for more delicate stick-to-skin attachments

Certain patients have thinner skin due to age, conditions, or medications making them more vulnerable to skin tears. Silicone adhesive adheres to the skin with less force and reduces the odds of causing these wounds.

The characteristics of silicone include:

  • High adhesive price
  • Formulated for gentle skin wear
  • Solvent-resistant
  • Good for repositioning
  • Air-permeable 
  • Hydrophobic

Silicone adhesive often comes in the form of a thicker gel coating to reduce skin contact damage. In many cases, it can be sterilized through EtO gas, steam autoclaving, and other methods. 


Natural rubber has a relatively high tensile strength and an increased tackiness, which allows it to stick to other materials. 

The characteristics of natural rubber include:

  • High tensile strength
  • High tackiness 
  • Degrades under UV rays/sunlight
  • Lack of solvent resistance 

Natural rubber’s strength gives it tear resistance. Lastly, alternative products, such as synthetic rubber, might be necessary for patients with latex allergies.


Synthetic rubbers are durable manufactured elastomers that can withstand outdoor conditions such as UV rays.

The characteristics of synthetic rubber include:

  • Great durability
  • High longevity 
  • Good temperature and UV resistance
  • Can function as an electric insulator

Some synthetic rubber products are used as an alternative to natural rubber products due to allergies or high-temperature sterilization methods.

Choosing the Right Material 

So, you’re looking for the right material for your product. You can begin by considering the following questions:

  • What two surfaces do you intend to bond together (i.e., skin, plastic, etc.)?
  • How strong do you need your skin adhesive?

Approaching a converter with the right information will help speed up your process and arm your partner with the info they need to optimize production

Finding a Medical Grade Adhesive Solution

Choosing a suitable adhesive is about more than just product functionality—it’s also a critical factor in determining manufacturability

Overly complex manufacturing processes are expensive. Adhesive converters provide experienced advice on design production to help you select an adhesive and material that won’t hinder your project. 

If you’re looking for the right medical adhesives, consider contacting Strouse to get a design sample or schedule a material consultation.


Lee K. House

Copywriter & Content Creator for Strouse. Lee graduated from the University of Alabama in the Spring of 2022 with a double major in English and Spanish.