Don’t remove them too soon. Always follow your doctor’s orders—even if the Steri-Strips are itchy or irritating. Removing them too soon could cause your incision site to reopen. Plus, you may introduce harmful bacteria, which can cause an infection. If your doctor didn’t advise you to take them off after a certain amount of time, call the office and ask if and when you should.
Do not aggressively rip off the strip. The same logic that forces people to rip off BAND-AIDS in a super speedy, yanking motion does not apply to Steri-Strips. Why? Steri-Strips are much more adhesive than standard BAND-AIDS, and you’ll probably do more harm than good if you tug on them very forcefully.
So if you’re going to take them off, be extremely gentle in your approach and peel each strip off slowly, one tiny bit at a time.
Remember that you can almost always wait. Know that you can almost always wait until the strips fall off on their own. In fact, many surgeons recommend it. Showering and the natural oils of the skin will allow the strips to peel on their own in time—usually in about ten days. Some surgeons, however, will tell you that you can remove them after a certain number of days post-op. Please note that this is a guideline. For instance, if you were told that you could remove the strips on Day 7 and yet you can’t, it won’t hurt to keep them on for a few more days. As the days after surgery pass, Steri-Strips do lose their adhesiveness and begin to curl. Simply trim the curled edges, and within a few days, the whole strips will fall off. Finally, If you find that you just can’t remove them yourself and they don’t fall off on their own, your doctor can always take them off at your next appointment.