Liquid bandage is a topical skin treatment for minor cuts and sores that is sold by several companies. The products are mixtures of chemicals which create a polymeric layer which binds to the skin. This protects the wound by keeping dirt and germs out, and keeping moisture in. They are typically a polymer dissolved in water, alcohol or solvent, sometimes with an added antiseptic, although the alcohol in some brands may serve the same purpose. These products protect the wound by forming a thin film of polymer when the carrier evaporates. Polymers used may include polyvinylpyrrolidone (water based), pyroxylin/nitrocellulose or poly(methylacrylate-isobutene-monoisopropylmaleate) (alcohol based), and acrylate or siloxane polymers (hexamethyldisiloxane or isooctane solvent based). Other types of liquid bandages (more suited for use when the wound is actively bleeding), are based on cyanoacrylates. Although ethylcyanoacrylates are conventionally used in "superglue" adhesives, medical cyanoacrylates are based on octylcyanoacrylates, as they do not break down in the body to toxic byproducts, as ethylcyanoacrylates do. Research is underway into acrylate copolymer based products, as there is less chance of gluing body parts together accidentally.
In addition to their use in replacing conventional bandages in minor cuts and scrapes, they have found use in surgical and veterinary offices, as they cause less trauma, and do not have to be removed like sutures (stitches) and staples do. Liquid bandages are increasingly finding use in the field of combat, where they can be used to rapidly staunch a wound until proper medical attention can be obtained. Liquid bandage has also been used to treat skin tags.