Steri strips, also called butterfly closure strips of butterfly bandages, are special medical tapes used to pull minor cut wounds together. They act like some sort of tape version of suturing injuries. Butterfly closure strips are reinforced adhesives that are strong enough to exert constant pressure on the skin for the duration of the healing process.
Butterfly closure strips are strong. Just like general medical tapes used to tape wires and tubes to the skin, they are hard and can be painful to take off. For that reason, one must wait until the steri strip’s usefulness expires. Simply said, it is until the compounds binding the tape to your skin weakens and loosens so they are easier to take off.
In general, most butterfly closer strips are strong enough to stay on the skin for a period of 2 to 3 weeks as is the estimated time needed for the wound to heal. There are also stronger and much more reinforced brands of steri strips that could last for up to 3 months. Although it is very unlikely for minor cut wounds to last this long, this excess strength is added to keep the butterfly closure strip from coming off too early. This could also prevent the unpleasant occurrence of accidentally ripping the strip due to carelessness, and risk opening the wound.
Although minor cut wounds are likely to last only a couple of days, a week and a half at most, the rest of the days the steri strips are kept on serve as an allowance for the scabs to loosen so they’ll be easier to take off. Taking off the steri strip too early or accidentally ripping it might tear away the scabs and open the wound. However, if continuing to wear steri strips is making you uncomfortable, you may ask a nurse, a doctor, or a well-instructed adult to remove the strips for you. Even when the wound has completely healed prior to the steri strips’ expiration, it is not advisable to take them off on your own. Scabs might still be sticking to your skin, and taking off the strip might hurt you again.
Some butterfly closure strips are akin to standard medical tapes used for medical gauze in a way that if you spread liquid along the surface of the strips, they will loosen and be easier to take off. However, some strips require the aid of a medical practitioner if you plan to remove them early, especially when medical glue, another adhesive applied over steri strips to secure the wound, was applied.