In most areas of life, the subject of adhesive tape is a relatively simple one.  You pick up a generic tape for any given purpose, use it in accordance with the instructions and let it get to work doing its job. However, things are fundamentally different when it comes to the medical tape being produced by leading 3M tape convertors up and down the United Kingdom.

In a wide variety of healthcare settings and in millions of homes alike, medical tape is being put to use in a wide variety of way for the benefit of adults and children of all ages. Needless to say, what makes this kind of tape different from standard adhesive tape is the way in which it is designed to be used in direct contact with your skin. And as it is something you are likely to be putting it on your body or someone else’s body, it’s important to know it’s the right tape for the job. Not only this, but it also pays to know the basics with regard to how to use it properly.

Which is precisely what we will be looking at in this article – a brief overview of choosing the right medical tape and putting it to use.

Getting the Right Tape

Along with quite literally thousands of different generic medical tapes and adhesives, it is also perfectly possible these days to pick up custom medical tapes. Which essentially means there are infinite possibilities when it comes to the products available for you. Nevertheless, it is relatively easy to work out what kind of product you need, simply by considering its intended purpose.

Sensitive skin

For example, one thing to bear in mind from the onset is whether or not the individual that will be using the medical tape has sensitive skin. There are endless options on the market these days when it comes to tape designed specifically for use with sensitive skin, which is usually breathable in order to reduce the likelihood of skin irritation due to excess build-up of moisture. Skin sensitivity should also be taken into account when considering exactly how strong the bond the tape offers needs to be. In the case of those with sensitive skin, it generally isn’t a good idea to choose a particularly strong adhesive as while it may stick well, it may damage the skin upon removal.


Also important to bear in mind is whether the intended recipient or recipients of the medical tape have any allergies you need to be aware of. The reason being that it is perfectly possible for people to be allergic to the latex used in some medical tapes, the adhesive itself or any of the other components that have gone into its production. Before ordering a product or commissioning the production of a custom product, take into account any potential allergies and be sure to find out what exactly it goes into it. In addition, sometimes when an adhesive tape claims to be hypoallergenic, this may only refer to the tape itself and not the adhesive.


Another key factor to consider is exactly how much protection and what kind of durability the adhesive tape should have. For example, if the individual and therefore the tape itself are likely to become wet at any time after application, it makes sense to consider waterproof medical tape. Likewise, if the person is likely to be exposed to any specific atmospheric conditions – humidity, high temperatures, low temperatures etc. – these should also be taken into account.


The most important rule to follow when it comes to applying medical tape of any kind is to do so in strict accordance with the instructions you are provided with. The reason being that each and every individual medical adhesive you come across is likely to have entirely different instructions from every other. It is not enough to simply assume that they all function in the same way – many need to be handled and applied quite differently than others.

Generally speaking however, there are a few rules of thumb to follow when it comes to applying adhesive medical tape, which are as follows:

  1. First of all, it is of critical importance to ensure that the skin has been extensively cleaned and dried before the tape is applied. Any dirt, dust or moisture will affect the tape’s performance.
  2. It is also usually recommended to wipe the area with an antiseptic or alcohol based preparation wipe, before applying the tape.
  3. With the exception of a very few specific products, medical tapes in general should not be stretched as they are designed to be applied tension-free. Any kind of stretching will only affect their performance.
  4. When it comes to removing tape, most experts advise a slow, steady and controlled removal process, rather than ripping the whole thing off as quickly as possible in one pull.

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