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What makes Nexcare™ Products unique?

To us, every cut and scrape is serious and deserves the best care. For nearly 60 years, 3M has provided innovative products to the health care industry in many forms. We’ve taken those leading hospital products and brought them to the consumer. There's a lot of science behind our products, but we also focus on making them easy to use, durable, and adaptable for different needs. So, whether you have active kids, love to be outdoors or are on the mend from surgery, we have a product that will match your specific healing needs.

What's with the shape of the bandage?

That diamond shape offers a 360-degree seal around the pad’s entire surface. That does a better job of sealing than bandages where the pad is the same width as the bandage. Because it is sealed all the way around, it keeps out dirt and germs, and in the case of our waterproof products, water. This lessens the chance for infection.

Why do Nexcare waterproof bandages have a paper frame?

The frame helps you apply the bandage, which we make using our great thin-film technology. The advantage of such a thin film is that it truly conforms to your body, you barley notice it’s there, and it doesn’t get in the way of your day to day activities. The frame keeps the thin bandage from folding over on itself or wrinkling as you apply it. That way you get an excellent waterproof seal to the skin. It’s also part of our patented delivery system that makes it possible for you to put it on with one hand.

What makes the Tegaderm™ Waterproof dressing unique?

With Tegaderm dressings, which were developed by 3M’s health care division and are preferred by hospitals and doctors, we are able to bring 30 years of expertise with adhesive and thin-film technology to consumers. The adhesive used in Tegaderm is designed to stay on for up to seven days. When you put it on, it’s so thin that it doesn’t feel like it’s there. And you don’t have those thick edges that might rub against your clothes and lift off. The best part is it’s breathable so it can release excess moisture from your skin or wound. That way you maintain a moist wound healing environment.

Aren’t wounds supposed to stay dry in order to heal?

Mom always said, “Dry it out,” but that’s an old wives’ tale. Actually, your wound heals more slowly if a scab forms. Our waterproof dressings and bandages take the place of the scab and promote a moist wound healing environment. In a moist wound environment, the body’s own components needed for healing such as antibodies and nutrients can migrate in the wound area more easily. This moist environment can help relieve pain and promote healing.

How can a bandage be both waterproof and breathable? It doesn’t seem possible to be both.

That’s a common misunderstanding. The reason a bandage can be both waterproof and breathable comes down to understanding the difference between a water molecule in liquid versus gas form. The water molecules combined together form a liquid which is too large to fit through the thin film of our bandage. But, when we are sweating, the moisture is evaporating from over the skin as water vapor. The water vapor in gas form is small enough to pass through a thin film. That is what makes it breathable. It’s like comparing the water in a teakettle to the steam that’s coming out of it.

What can I do to help a bandage or dressing stick better?

First, make sure that the area is cleaned. Then when you first put on the bandage, apply some pressure. Don’t apply hand lotion right before you put a bandage on. And if you are using an antibiotic, make sure it’s not in the area where the adhesive will be applied.

What’s the trick for removing a bandage?

Some tips are to soak the bandaged area in warm water for about 30 seconds first, and then apply some baby oil or cooking oil to help release the bandage. Covering the bandage with ice wrapped in a paper towel also will make the adhesive brittle and encourage it to release.

An extra tip for our waterproof bandages: Most people’s tendency is to find the corner and pull it back over the wound, but it’s best to grasp an edge and stretch away from the wound, parallel to the skin. This releases the adhesive and it comes right off. This also works well for our Tegaderm™ dressings.

How do you make sure Nexcare products work the way you want them to?

As we come up with new ideas for products or new ways to design therapies, we continually test and refine them to make sure they're safe and effective.

We have an entire lab focused on skin health, where a team of scientists and medical professionals explore how best to treat wounds and how to adjust materials to suit different skin types. A tape that works well for an extreme sports athlete is not the same tape you’d want to use for a child who just had surgery. The same is true for bandages. The team integrates new technology and materials into therapeutic skin care devices and adhesive products for consumers. Then we put all of our products through a battery of tests to make sure they work for our intended customer.

How do you know when a product idea is a winner?

You never really know for sure, but there are times when you have a real good feeling. For instance, when you do a focus group with people and they want to take the product home with them. Or when we share it internally around here at 3M and people are calling and asking for more. That recently happened with our Sensitive Skin Tape. When we could give it to family and friends, there was a lot of positive feedback after people had surgery. People started going to hospitals for surgery and bringing their own Nexcare tape.

What is the best part about being a 3M scientist?

When you come to work every day, there is always something new to learn. There is the ability to network, and if you need an answer there is someone in the company who knows. Everyone is so willing to help. They will say, “Tell me more. How can I get involved?” That’s really what makes 3M exciting along with the vastly different technologies that we can incorporate into our products. It’s a strong community that’s all about collaboration and innovation. It’s great working with a team of people who are passionate about developing great products for consumers and knowing that you are helping to make their lives easier.

What kind of product testing do you do?

Testing goes on continuously through the whole product development cycle. You have initial samples and prototypes that you’re making and testing, and then you have a more developed concept and you’re testing that. Then you get to the point where you can actually do some trials and focus groups to see how the products work in real life situations. Finally, there is a lot of testing done during the qualification experiments. We’re testing all that time. But the first step always starts with the consumer, and we do a lot of consumer research to understand what consumers’ needs are. That drives a lot of our product development.


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