Adhesives and Solvents - Gentle Does It!
Issue Three


"All adhesives are pressure sensitive and should not be applied heavily ."

Anatomy of Adhesives

Adhesives in liquid form are packaged in cans, bottles and spray cans. Adhesives are either rubber base or acrylic base. Some contain fillers and other ingredients to help make them mild to the skin (non-toxic). Some are perfumed, some are colored. In any case, all liquid adhesives are pressure sensitive and as such should not be applied heavily. The proper method of application is a very light and even coating on the desired area - whether on natural skin or skin treated with a protective barrier.

Note: With Urinary Diversions appliances are mounted directly to the untreated skin for the best bond. For ileostomies, a skin barrier should always be used with an adhesive type of appliance.

One additional note about direct-to-skin applications. During hot summer months or in hot, humid environments where the skin tends to perspire more, it is recommended that a liquid adhesive be used directly on the skin. However, the skin should be prepared by cleaning with mild soap and lots of warm water, and further cleansed with alcohol (which does not contain glycerin). A non-greasy antiperspirant may be lightly applied for perspiration control. After the skin has dried, apply the adhesive directly to the skin. This usually gives a stronger, more durable bond to the skin so that you get the expected amount of wearing time from the appliance.

Whether you apply adhesive directly to the skin or over a protective skin barrier, make certain either surface is clean (free of oils and dirt) and dry (no moisture remains after washing).

Do not apply a double coat of adhesive. A second coat rewets the original coat and produces a inconsistent adhesive layer with unpredictable results. This can happen when second coat applications are applied to the skin or added to a manufacturers product such as the pre coated foam pads on Nu-Hope pouches. In either instance, you create an excessive and unstable adhesive rather than a smooth bonding film. Also, there is a high risk of trapping unwanted solvents within this thicker layer of adhesive causing the solvents to migrate toward the skin. This may lead to solvents being absorbed into the skin, causing irritation and rashes which in turn leads to skin breakdown.

Keep in mind when using liquid adhesives, thick applications of adhesive layers results in an unusual amount of drying time (much greater than 2 times that of a single thin coat). This double-coat drying can actually take hours. The result will be less wear time and irritation to the skin.

Once a light and even coat of adhesive has been applied, it takes generally four to five minutes for the adhesive thinning agents to evaporate, leaving a desirable bonding surface. Drying time can be reduced with the aid of a hair dryer (set to "cool") to promote air circulation. Once the adhesive has setup (extremely tacky to the touch, but will not transfer off to your finger) the appliance mounting base should immediately be pressed gently - but firmly - onto the skin. Should any excess adhesive show after the appliance has been applied, the exposed areas can be dusted with talcum powder which neutralizes adhesive "tack" and eliminates the nuisance of unwanted attachment to clothing.

Removal of Adhesives

Generally, at the end of a few days (or even a week to 10 days) of wearing time, the appliance needs to be replaced and can be gently peeled away from the skin. Normally, this will not cause any trauma to the skin. Factors such as skin oil and perspiration (and the fact that skin sheds its top layer) are all contributors toward softening the bond between appliance and skin and should allow easy removal without injury. Should the appliance need to be changed prematurely, or where an exceptionally strong bond persists, the use of a solvent is recommended followed by a thorough cleansing as stated earlier.


Solvents are aromatic petroleum products. They are oily by nature and many skins have a limited tolerance for petroleum products. Therefore, solvents should not automatically be used for appliance removal but are reserved to assist in softening an extra firm bonding. This brief exposure of solvent to skin normally will not cause a problem of skin irritation. When solvents are used, soap and water are needed to emulsify the solvent and wash it off the skin. For those who have experienced dry skin from the use of a solvent, there are many skin care products and conditioners available to help replenish the moisture lost.