Skin Science

Nexcare™ Bandages are taking big strides for little cuts. Steve Kantner, PhD, Division Scientist in 3M Consumer Health Care, explains how.

soccer player

Can you really bring innovation to a bandage?

You can innovate anything! In the case of bandages, it’s not just about protecting a wound. You also have to understand skin. We have an entire laboratory focused on skin health, exploring treatment of wounds and how to adapt materials to different skin types that may be fragile in older people, sensitive in children, or even wet from swimming or sweating.

Nexcare Waterproof Bandage

Can you provide an example of a bandage technology that Nexcare has introduced?

We have an entire health care business focused on developing products for technical and clinical professionals in hospitals and other health care settings. One of these products is Tegaderm™, a thin, transparent film utilized in hospitals to secure IV catheters. By taking the film technology utilized for Tegaderm™, adjusting it to fit consumer needs by making it easier to handle and modifying the composition so it doesn’t swell and buckle in water, we were able to develop the Nexcare™ Waterproof Bandage. A bandage that not only seals out water, dirt, and germs, but also allows the wound to breathe because the materials are designed to allow oxygen and water vapor to pass through them, preventing the skin from getting macerated.

360-degree seal

Does innovation always come from a new material?

No, good ideas can come from anywhere, anytime. For instance, everyone knows that traditional adhesive bandages tend to form a gap and let dirt in. So, to maximize the protection from outside contaminants, we designed a bandage with a 360-degree seal around the pad. That’s why our bandages are diamond-shaped. This helps maximize both the flexibility and protection the user experiences as they go about their day.

What’s next for the Nexcare line?

We’ll continue to migrate professional-grade 3M technologies and materials used in hospitals to the consumer world. And the more we learn about skin, the more ways we’ll find to make bandages and dressings that help promote healing.


Meet Steve Kantner

Steve (right) is a new product development scientist in 3M’s Consumer Health Care Laboratory. In this role he leads development of formulations and products for therapeutic skin care and adhesive product line innovations, integrating technology trends in the health care space into these efforts. Steve is a 29-year employee of 3M with broad-based experience in pressure-sensitive adhesives, personal-care ingredients and formulations, medical devices, hydrogels, and low-adhesion surfaces.