What do you do if your feet are extremely sweaty, or it’s wet, and your blister prevention tape won’t stick properly? You use something like Friars Balsam – an adhesive enhancer.
Alternative Product Names For Friars Balsam
Other names for Friars Balsam include:
- Compound tincture of benzoin
- Compound benzoin tincture
- Tincture of benzoin
What Is Benzoin?
“Benzoin is unrelated to benzoin resin or TBCo. Benzoin resin is commonly called benzoin (but is not the chemical compound of benzoin) and is also called gum benzoin or gum Benjamin. Tincture of benzoin is a pungent solution of benzoin resin in alcohol. A similar preparation called Friar’s Balsam or Compound Benzoin Tincture (USP) contains, in addition, Cape aloes and storax (liquidambar resin).” Wikipedia
You want the tincture, not just benzoin. Tinctures form a film over the skin as they dry. They’re sticky, that’s why they’re used as adhesive enhancers.
“Tincture of benzoin is a pungent solution of benzoin resin in ethanol. A similar preparation called Friar’s Balsam or Compound Benzoin Tincture contains, in addition, Cape aloes or Barbados aloes and storax resin. Friar’s balsam was invented by Joshua Ward around 1760.” Wikipedia
What Does Friars Balsam Look Like
Compound tincture of benzoin is a brown liquid. You can get it in:
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How To Use Friars Balsam
- Apply the product to your skin
- Allow it dry
- Once dry, apply your tape (or dressing) over it
Ideally, apply to the exact area of skin that your tape will adhere to. Because if you apply Friars balsam over too large an area, as your skin perspires, the tincture will become sticky again. Then sock fibres, dirt and grit will stick to your skin. Not only that, the increased stickiness (higher coefficient of friction) means blisters are more likely. So, be careful with your application.
A small amount of powder or lubricant on these uncovered areas of tincture is a good idea to minimise these problems.
Compound Tincture of Benzoin is also used during the blister treatment procedure affectionately known as the “hot-shot”. You can read all about performing hot-shots, watch videos of the technique and learn my thoughts on this here.
Alternative Adhesive Enhancer Products
Use adhesive enhancers like Friars balsam when tapes don’t stick well to your skin. In addition, if your skin is macerated or your shoes and socks are already wet, these products will help your dressings stay on.
Personally, I use Skin-Prep wipes. They come in individual little packets and the liquid in them is colourless. So they’re less messy compared to the brown Friars balsam. We have Skin-Prep wipes in both the ADVANCED and ULTRA Blister Kits.