Fact or myth? Pain reduction in solvent-assisted removal of adhesive tape

J Wound Care. 2011 Aug;20(8):380-3. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2011.20.8.380.


Objective: To determine if solvent-assisted tape removal reduces pain when compared with dry tape removal.

Method: A double-blinded comparative study was performed, in which commonly used solvents, namely water, alcohol, peanut oil, sunflower oil, and Leukotape remover (BSN medical), were applied to six zinc oxide adhesive tapes (Leukoplast, BSN medical), 10 cm long, 2.5 cm wide that had been placed on the volar side of each forearm of adult volunteers. One tape was left dry. Pain was measured using a visual analogue scale (VAS) and statistically analysed.

Results: There were no statistically significant differences in VAS pain scores between the used substances when compared with the dry tape (p=0.39). The use of oil (peanut and sunflower) caused remains of adhesive to occur significantly more often (p<0.05).

Conclusion: Applying substances to ease pain associated with the removal of adhesive tapes does not lead to a reduction of pain when compared with dry tape.

Conflict of interest: None.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adhesives* / adverse effects
  • Adult
  • Alcohols
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Plant Oils
  • Solvents*
  • Surgical Tape* / adverse effects
  • Water
  • Wounds and Injuries / nursing*


  • Adhesives
  • Alcohols
  • Plant Oils
  • Solvents
  • Water