Types of adhesive bandages and how to choose them

Minor or small injuries often occur in daily life such as cuts or abrasions. When such accidents occur, adhesive bandages are a reliable first aid kit. Adhesive bandages are often stocked in every home and workplace, and there are many types available for different purposes. Each type has a different purpose, so it is necessary to know which one is best for each situation.

What is an adhesive bandage?


Surgical tape is a hygienic material that prevents bacteria and other germs from entering the wound and speeds up the wound healing process. This tape is sometimes referred to as ‘surgical tape’ or ’dressing tape’, but they have the same purpose of protecting wounds and facilitating healing.

Surgical tape and dressing tape are used for protecting wounds, but this article also introduces Band-Aids and Cut-Bands, which are a combination of tape and gauze and are designed for small wounds.

Types of adhesive bandages and how to choose them

Adhesive bandages are available in a wide range of sizes, from small to large, according to the size of the wound, as well as in terms of the material of the adhesive plaster itself and the environment in which it is best used.

Selecting by material

Adhesive bandage materials can be broadly divided into PVC and non-PVC adhesive bandage materials.


The most widely distributed type of adhesive bandages are made of PVC or polyvinyl chloride. They are inexpensive and highly elastic. They come in a wide variety of colors, including many realistic skin-colored items, and can be applied anywhere.



Polyolefin and urethane non-woven fabrics are also available. Non-woven adhesive bandages have excellent air permeability and can be used for long periods of time without getting stuffy, even when it is difficult to change them at the workplace.


Selecting by use

Adhesive bandages can be selected based on the environment in which they are used and their intended use.


Waterproof/water-resistant adhesive bandages are resistant to water and are less likely to peel off or lose their effectiveness even when in contact with water. Waterproof adhesive bandages include those with stronger adhesive strength than conventional adhesive plasters, as well as gel or liquid adhesive plasters that are applied to the affected area like an adhesive to prevent water from penetrating.


Adhesive bandages for chapped hands

These are adhesive bandages that have no padding and are used to protect the skin from dryness and roughness. This type of bandage ranges from those that are only for a specific area, to bandage rolls that are rolled like duct tape.


Fast-healing adhesive bandagesSome adhesive bandages are hydrocolloid types or called wetting agents, which speed up the healing of wounds. In the case of minor cuts, clear fluid may come out of the wound which contains the effect of speeding up the healing of the wound. Conventional adhesive bandages, however, absorb the active ingredients and dry them out, which in turn slows down the healing of the wound.

The fast-healing bandage effectively treats the wound by trapping the fluid within the bandage.


Adhesive bandages for puncture protection

These adhesive bandages are used to protect and cover the skin after injections, blood sampling, intravenous drips, and joint punctures. There are also thicker ones with a padded section for compression hemostasis after a large needle is used.


Metal detector compatible

Some adhesive bandages have a padded part made of aluminum composite or other material that reacts to metal detectors. These adhesive bandages were developed so that they can be easily detected by metal detectors in food factories and assembly plants, even if the adhesive bandage comes off during work and gets mixed in with the product. Metal detector-compatible adhesive bandages are often bright blue or pink in color so that they can be easily identified visually.


Selecting by size and shape

Adhesive bandages are available in a variety of tape widths and pad dimensions, and in different shapes for fingertips and joints.

Adhesive bandage size


Adhesive bandages are available in a variety of sizes according to the size of the wound. The normal size is about 19mm in tape width, while larger ones are available in sizes of 60mm, 70mm, and so on.

For an adhesive bandage to be effective, the wound must be firmly contained within the pad. In most cases, the pad dimensions are listed along with the tape width in the product description section of the adhesive bandage, so be sure to select an adhesive bandage with pad dimensions that match the size of the wound.

Adhesive bandage shape


Adhesive bandages are available in a variety of shapes, from the standard oval (oval or ellipse) to those specialized for the area to be protected, including the puncture protection adhesive bandages mentioned above. If you find it difficult to apply an oval-shaped adhesive bandage to a fingertip or joint, you may choose an adhesive bandage specialized for that area.


Adhesive bandages are effective in first aid for minor cuts and abrasions. When using an adhesive bandage, it is effective to wash the wound well under running water and clean off any foreign substances before use. It is not necessary to use an antiseptic solution before applying the adhesive bandage. This is because some disinfectants can damage not only bacteria but also the cells around the wound, which in turn may slow down the healing process.