Choosing materials is one of the hardest parts of the converting process.
Which factors should you consider? How do they affect your project?
We will review the difference between skin adhesive silicone and skin adhesive acrylic.
Silicone vs. Acrylic Adhesive
Before we begin, let’s discuss the factors that divide skin adhesive silicone from acrylic.
Determining the right amount of strength is crucial to building skin adhesives: Too weak, and it’ll fall off, but too strong, and the skin will come with it!
Re-dressing the wound too often can lead to infection since the wound is exposed to more contaminants.
Certain adhesives take longer to bond, which could be detrimental in a fast-paced clinical setting.
Next, we’ll look at both materials and their advantages and disadvantages before you make your final pick.
You’re probably aware of the phrase “ripping off the bandage,” and that’s where silicone tape has acrylic adhesives beat.
Silicone is a gentler adhesive that peels off with a clean removal and doesn’t pull up skin or hair.
It’s also flexible and breathable, allowing doctors to check on a wound without needing to replace all the bandages.
Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to using skin adhesive silicone.
For one thing, it might not be strong enough to support critical tubing.
The other main drawback of skin adhesive silicone is the cost. Skin adhesive silicone is far more expensive than acrylic or rubber.
Still, assuming it matches your intended purpose, you might choose silicone despite the cost.
Acrylic is widely used in the medical device manufacturing industry thanks to its cheap cost and durability.
Skin adhesive acrylic tape is tough, tacky, and fixes each part in the correct spot on a patient’s skin.
Its strong adhesive properties allow the acrylic to support heavier tubes and devices for long periods.
Skin adhesive acrylic can be used on top of suturing wounds that reduce infection or scarring and as pressure sensitive tapes in bandages or disposables.
Many manufacturers use modified acrylic, which is still cheaper than silicone and gentler than standard acrylic.
Regular adhesive acrylic isn’t nearly as forgiving when it comes to skin application.
Acrylic is much tougher than silicone, and its removal can be traumatic for the skin to the point of:
- Skin tearing
- Medical adhesive related skin injuries (MARSI)
Repositioning acrylic can be downright painful, meaning you must be far more careful about its initial application.
Still unsure whether to use silicone or acrylic? It’s time to compare.
Choosing a Skin Adhesive Material
By this point you’ve read about both, but you’re wavering between silicone or acrylic for your skin adhesive.
The simplest answer? It depends on the patients you’re treating and the device’s function.
Silicone is well-suited for delicate jobs like applying adhesive directly onto the wound and is excellent for patients with thinner skin such as cancer patients, children, and the elderly.
However, skin adhesive silicone isn’t strong enough to carry heavier objects. In the end, it might lose stickiness and slide around before falling off completely.
Acrylic has a stronger tack than silicone and can support tubes or medical devices. But on average, modified acrylic requires more time to bond with a surface than silicone can.
You might find your converter using silicone AND acrylic adhesive for wearable medical devices. The silicone attaches to the patient’s skin, while acrylic adhesive holds a medical device in place on the other side.
If you have more questions about skin adhesive materials, feel free to ask.
In the meantime, you may want to check out our guide to selecting adhesives for medical devices: