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Sometimes the adhesives used in CGMs or insulin pumps can irritate the skin. Not only is the irritation annoying, but it can damage body tissue or result in infection if left untreated. Ignoring mild irritation can lead to hypersensitivity and severe rashes.
A little irritation is normal when using these devices. The insertion of needles and pulling away upper layers of skin during removal means that tissue damage is part of the game. As a result, some people may find that the area where they wear their device becomes irritated over time. You can prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your skin by applying the adhesive when your skin is clean, cool, and dry. A good application will help your device peel off more readily when the time is right. You can also use skin barrier wipes to keep the adhesive from bonding directly to your skin.
Using good hygiene during application will also help prevent infection. Inserting a needle into the skin that hasn’t been cleaned is just begging for infection. Pay attention to keeping your hands and body clean when inserting your CGM. Wash or sanitize your hands before handling your CGM and wipe down your arm with an alcohol wipe.
While scars might make the wearer seem tough, they also interfere with glucose measurements or insulin absorption. Preventing unnecessary scarring is a priority. Many manufacturers recommend using a new spot each time you replace your CGM. Choose a spot 2-3 inches away from the insertion point of your last CGM. Read and follow the application instructions for your personal device. Rotating across various sites will help prevent scars from forming, which keeps your CGM operating perfectly and your skin feeling silky smooth.
Some types of irritation are cause for concern. Users may simply be allergic to the adhesive their CGM uses, while others may develop an allergy-like response. Hypersensitivity is a type of skin reaction that develops over time and resembles an allergy. Once a sensitivity to an adhesive is developed, irritation and dermatitis will occur quickly when the skin is exposed to the irritating substance. A person may go months or years without their CGM bothering them, then get a rash where the adhesive touches their skin. The only way to avoid irritating the skin in these cases is to avoid the chemical irritants in the adhesive completely.
Some people may choose to put away their CGM and return to finger-prick blood glucose meters. Because no adhesive is used in the test and bandages aren’t necessary for a small finger stick, this can be a workable solution. For most, it is important to have constant monitoring of their blood sugar, and a CGM is necessary. Finding a hypoallergenic adhesive is the best solution for solving skin irritation caused by allergy or hypersensitivity.
Because different manufacturers use different adhesives with varying irritants, contacting a doctor about a patch test can save time and money in the long run. The doctor will test your skin to determine which ingredients are irritating your skin and help you find products that are compatible with your body.
When we created Skin Grip, one of our goals was to make a patch that worked for people with different contact allergies and skin sensitivities. We use latex-free, hypoallergenic acrylic material to create adhesive patches and medical tape that are safe to use and designed to fit Dexcom, Freestyle Libre, Omnipod, Guardian, and Medtronic sensors.
Not sure if Skin Grip will work? Grab a free sample here. We’ll let you try it out to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin like other brands can.
Skin care isn’t just for your face, it’s for your whole body. Taking care of the skin beneath your CGM will be a reward over time, as it maintains the integrity of your CGM’s results over the years to come. Skin Grip is here to help you along the way.