Butterfly Bandages: All You Need to Know About Butterfly Band-aid

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Butterfly bandages are called “butterfly” bandages because they legit look like a butterfly; narrow shaped with a non-adhesive center area and adhesive sides that are comparatively wide.

They are commonly known as butterfly bandages, however, they can also be recognized by the name of butterfly stitches or wound closure strips. Just how butterflies are soothing for the eyes, butterfly bandages are soothing for the wounds!

Butterfly Bandages: All You Need To Know About

Keep reading to know all about butterfly bandages!

Image Credit AOG Dalton

Butterfly Bandages: What Are They?

Butterfly bandages are a substitute for traditional stitches that help cover and close small wounds or shallow cuts. So in case of large cuts or gaping, butterfly bandages are not a good option.

Butterfly Bandages: Where Not To Use?

Butterfly bandages are adhesive bandages that only cater to small wounds or cuts. If the cut is near any loose skin area (a finger joint), or a moist hairy area, it is advisable to not use butterfly bandages there.

Butterfly Bandages: How To Use?

All of us are familiar with little wounds, be it from playing, riding a bike, or maybe in the kitchen. Even if the wound is large, sometimes it can be looked after at home. These wounds, even the gaping ones, can be treated at home using a butterfly bandage.

Fun Fact

Many specialists and doctors use butterfly bandages in an ER instead of stitches.

When To Use Butterfly Bandages?

If the cut or the wound does not require any stitches, you can make it better by applying butterfly bandages at home. But the main question is “when to use a butterfly bandage?” Well, the following are the scenarios that can help you decide whether you can consider using a butterfly bandage instead of visiting an ER.

(Always visit a doctor in case of deep wounds)

1. The Edges: Clean Edges

Butterfly bandages work best for holding clean edges of shallow cuts together. But in the case of ragged edges, you will need a liquid bandage or a larger bandage to cover the wound or a cut.

2. The Bleeding: If Stops

To who whether you can use a butterfly bandage to cover a wound or a cut, first, apply pressure on the wound using a clean cloth or towel. If this pressure stops the bleeding, go ahead with the butterfly bandage otherwise visit an ER.

3. The Size: Not Too Deep

In case of deep cuts or wounds, visit an ER. If your wound is nowhere more than half an inch, you can use a butterfly bandage otherwise, seek medical help.

When Not To Use Butterfly Bandages

Butterfly bandages cannot help in the following cases:

  1. In case of scarring.
  2. In case of continuous bleeding even after the application of intense pressure.
  3. In case of jagged wounds.
  4. In case the wound is on your elbow or knuckle as they move continuously and are under pressure.
  5. In case of deep wounds.

What Are The Alternatives Butterfly Band Aids

Butterfly Bandages are not suitable for all kinds of wounds. Here is a quick informational section about the alternatives in case of a different kind of wound.

1. Stitches

One of the most commonly used methods for closing wounds, stitches mostly cater to deep wounds or cuts.

2. Skin Glue

Just as the name suggests, skin glue helps to skin to stick together to avoid any bleeding and it can heal underneath. However, this can only be used for small wounds or cuts.

3. Staples

In places of moist and thin skin, staples can come handy as they can be applied much quicker than traditional stitches. These can be used in case of deep wounds.

Butterfly Band Aid: How To Apply?

Follow the steps mentioned below to learn how to apply a butterfly bandage.

1. Applying Pressure On The Wound

In case of any cut or wound, always stop the blood from flowing by applying pressure. Do not use paper tissue. Always use a clean gauze of a compression pad to do so once the bleeding stops and the area is dry otherwise the bandage won’t stick. 

Once the bleeding stops, you can go ahead with the next steps. 

2. Cleaning The Wound

Once the bleeding stops, clean your wound to flush out any debris with clean water. This will help prevent the infection. However, it is advisable to keep the sterile saline solution at home in case of any emergency. 

Once the wound is clean, you can go ahead with the next steps. 

3. Applying The Bandage

To apply the butterfly bandage, make sure your wound is clean and dry. Dry with a clean cloth towel. Start applying the half of the bandage by removing the back half while holding the skin together. Then proceed by stretching the bandage, removing the other half of the bandage and sticking it on the other side of the wound.


Stretch the butterfly bandage while going on the other side of the wound so that the bandage holds together the wound in place tightly. Do so by placing the first side of the bandage a bit away from the edge of the wound.

4. Always Do Extra

Even in case of a small wound, apply the first bandage in the middle part of the wound. Try making an “X” using the bandage to grab more skin that can help keep the wound intact and secure. This speeds up the healing process.

The bigger the wound, the more bandages you can apply. 

5. Keep Antibiotic Next To Yourself

To help speed up the healing process, make sure you take good care of the wound by applying a dose of an antibiotic ointment on a regular basis. For professional consultancy on which antibiotic you should apply, visit a doctor!

6. Covering With A Band Aid

In order to speed up the healing process, make sure you keep the wound and the edges dry. But at times, wounds can be at places where water can reach easily. To avoid so, apply an additional band-aid or gauze to keep the area dry.

7. Vitamin E Oil

This part depends on the kind of wound you experience. If you have an itchy wound, apply vitamin E oil to help soothe the area and make it moist. However, do not apply it right away. Wait for a week’s time and once the wound gets a little better you may apply the vitamin E oil.


Close the wound by holding the edges together tightly. Then proceed on by applying the butterfly bandage on one side at a time and then bridging it to the opposite side. During this, make sure you hold the wound tightly enough so the wound is kept closed and the butterfly bandage is applied correctly. 

If you feel that the wound is not properly held even after the butterfly bandage application, put on some extra ones to keep the wound in place tightly. Keep the area dry and out of reach of the water.

Butterfly Bandages: Taking Care

Here is a guide on how you can take care of your wound once you have applied the butterfly bandage; while the wound is healing and once it has been healed and it’s time to remove the stitches:

1. Cleanliness 

Make sure you keep the area clean. Use Pyodine and gauze to clean the wound.

2. Dry

Keep the wound dry especially for the first 48 hours. No contact with water. 

3. Trimming

In case the stitches come loose make sure you cut them off with the scissors. DO NOT PULL!

Butterfly Bandages: Removing 

If the butterfly bandages have not fallen on their own after 10 to 14 days, you should remove them on your own. DO NOT PULL otherwise the wound will slit its own. Do so by soaking the stitches in a solution of ½ water and ½ peroxide and then lift them off.

When To See A Doctor

Following are situations where you should consider seeing a doctor:

1. In Case Of Continuous Bleeding

This is an alarming situation where you get butterfly bandages or stitches for wounds that keep bleeding continuously.

2. In Case Of Swelling Or Redness

This is an alarming situation where you get butterfly bandages or stitches for wounds that swell.

Butterfly Bandages VS Stitches

In the case of deep wounds, traditional stitches are prioritized. While butterfly bandages help seal the small cuts and wounds, the following are the conditions where you might consider getting stitches:

  1. Deep cuts
  2. Cuts that have huge gaps
  3. If the area of the cut is curved or on a joint that moves a lot; elbow or knee joint
  4. Cuts that bleeds continuously
  5. Cuts on fat areas
  6. Cuts on muscle areas
  7. In case of scarring

Butterfly Bandages VS SteriStrips

Also known as butterfly lines, SteriStrips too perform the task of closing a wound. They are longer and slimmer than butterfly bandages and well, they look nothing like a butterfly either. 

However, butterfly bandages cover much more area than a SteriStrip because they are wider. Butterfly bandages are better for smaller wounds whereas SteriStrips are better for longer wounds where one might need a lot of bandages to close the wound. 

Butterfly Bandages: DO IT YOURSELF (DIY) Hack

Who doesn’t like to create things at home? Well, if you have time and patience keep reading because we will be talking about making your own butterfly bandages at home using one thing; Tape! You can use the following:

  • Masking tape
  • Medical tape
  • Duct tape

However, the first choice is always butterfly bandages as first aid. But if in case, DIY butterfly bandages can also come in handy. For example:

  1. In case of backpacking where you can not bring too many first aid supplies along.
  2. Have no other backup or option available
  3. Any emergency or injury that requires stitches and needs to be closed for the meantime (while you drive all the way to the hospital)

Be that as it may, I don’t suggest this for ordinary circumstances. Tape isn’t sterile and it is anything but a keen plan to put it almost a vast injury. 

The recommendation is to keep fixed, sterile butterfly bandages in your emergency treatment pack.

Let’s move ahead and learn about the process.

1. Twisting Tape

The first thing to keep in mind is to make the bandage in such a way that the middle area is smaller and non-sticky. For this, we recommend a medical tape.

You can start by applying the tape to one edge of the cut and stretch the tape while pulling it to the other side of the wound along with twisting it a few times. Once done, place the tape onto the other side of the wound tightly.

Since we are aiming for a smaller area with non-sticky tape, the medical tape is the best option. If you use duct tape, it will be messier and sticky. 

2. Cut And Fold

The twisting tape process is a lot more tricky than it sounds and can sometimes be a little sticky too. However, the cut and fold method is much better as it has a lower risk of leaving stickiness around your wound.

All you need is a pair of scissors and some time. Here is the process:

  1. Cut the tape of around 1 inch in thickness and 3 inches in length.
  2. Fold the tape in half making sure that the sticky side sticks out.
  3. Proceed on by cutting small triangles from the tape.
  4. Fold these triangles together making the center of the tape non-sticky.
  5. Apply by using the same procedure as the butterfly bandages. (apply, stretch, bridge, apply)

For further clarity, click here.

Butterfly Bandages: Other Alternatives

As the world grows, so do the technologies. Hence we have seen a lot of processes in the medical field especially when it comes to non-invasive treatments. Likewise, there has been a lot of progress in the non-invasive wound healing area i.e. stitching up the skin without using any needles. 

This has introduced us to a new world of healing and many hospitals have shifted to this non-invasive method. These non-invasive devices work like butterfly bandages. The only difference is that these use a “zip” to close the wound. 

Options To Choose From

Always visit a doctor in case of an emergency or a wound that hurts or feels like an infection. However, there are some alternative options available. They are:

  1. CloseX
  2. Micro Mend
  3. Zip Stitch


Butterfly bandages are glue gauzes that are utilized to close little, shallow cuts. They are used by clinical experts and can be applied at home under the correct conditions. These come in handy in emergency situations.