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Surprising Science

Coming Soon: Medical Tape For Sensitive Skin

For infants and the elderly, the use of standard medical tape can cause scarring and irritation to the skin. A team of researchers have created a safer version.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

This week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences contains a report on a new kind of medical tape that can be used on infants and the elderly — two groups with especially delicate skin — without causing trauma or damage upon removal. The tape works by incorporating a thin layer of silicone between the adhesive layer and the backing layer, creating a “release liner…[which] is very similar to the strips of slick paper that you have to peel from a Band-Aid before putting it on your skin.” Grid lines etched into this liner allows the tape to adhere better.

What’s the Big Idea?

Injury caused by the removal of medical tape used to hold devices in place has been a long-standing issue, according to Don Lombardi of the Institute for Pediatric Innovation, which requested the research. “When you take the tape off, you take the skin off…Some end up with months of aftercare for lesions on their skin due to the tape.” The research team, which consists of experts from Harvard University and MIT, say that the tape can be mass-produced by adapting current manufacturing systems.

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