Dear Doctor Edelman,
I’m a really active person and my sensor often falls off before it’s time to be swapped out. How do you keep your CGM in place and also keep it from irritating your skin?
These are two totally separate questions. First let’s tackle how to keep your CGM in place.
Have you ever gotten so sweaty – in bed maybe – that your sensor falls off? It can kill the mood as well as your blood sugars. Adhesives help with this problem. Before applying any type of adhesive though, make sure you’re putting it on clean skin. Dirt, oil , massage oil and other types of lotions and moisture can all interfere with adhesives.
There are lots of different types of adhesive products on the market today that can help keep your CGM in place. Skin-Tac, GrifGrips, and Skin Grip are a few products that many people have good success with, and you can also try flexible tapes. Some adhesives can be difficult to remove, so special adhesive removers (Skin-Tac or Mirabalm are a couple of options) can help protect your skin when you’re taking off your device. Tearing your skin off is not a good thing and it hurts like hell!
If the types of activities you do interfere with the location of your insertion site and cause your CGM to dislodge, you may need to experiment with other locations for the site. Most areas of your body with subcutaneous tissue will allow the sensor to work just fine. Examples are back of the arm, upper thigh, upper outer area of your buttocks and lower back.
For specific adhesive product ideas and more info, click here: Dexcom Adhesive Options
Next let’s address skin irritation.
As with adhesives (and many mother-in-laws), extreme irritation is possible. There are lots of different products that can help with skin irritation. Barrier films, patches and bandages are good options to try. Everyone’s body chemistry and activity levels are different, so you may need to try a few methods to determine what works best for you.
One strategy I heard about recently (but haven’t tried) is to place an overlay patch on the insertion site directly on the skin. Then insert the sensor on top of it. Make sure the sensor goes in the donut hole and the sensor adhesive lands on the overlay patch. Then put a second overlay patch on top for good measure. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
For specific product ideas and more info, click here: Dexcom Tips for Skin Irritation
Feel free to share other tips in the comments below!
I’m a really active person, and have experienced this as well. As soon as I tried GrifGrips (mentioned in the article), I have had no trouble at all. They have different strengths of adhesive that work for different people. My current favorite is their Clearly Oval option. It is a super light option that has a very strong grip.
Thanks for sharing what works for you, Alison!
I have been on a FreestyleLibre for about a year. Living in the south I was frequently sweating off my sensors before Medicare would let me get more. I researched tapes, patches, etc. They were only going to make this more expensive than it already was. I found a guy on YouTube who was cutting off the tops of socks and putting them over his sensors! Since I was only putting sensors on the back of my arms, this has been a perfect solution for me! I know this won’t work for everyone but I hope it works for someone.
Very creative – love it! Thanks for sharing!
I’ve found using Kinesiology tape (which is fabulously cheap and a roll will last you months) to be the best solution
I like using Skin-Tac; first I wipe with 91% Isopropyl Alcohol, which is also useful for removing the tacky afterward… a small amount around the edge of the tape can encourage it also.
Weirdly enough, at times it seems as if when I use the 91% alcohol, I don’t have to use the Skin Tac, especially for the infusion set. As was suggested in the article, 91% really does strip off the oils and any dirt left behind and makes for a stronger attachment. I had used the regular alcohol before this, and found that things would fall off. It just doesn’t seem to do the job.
Hope that helps… 🙂
Thanks for sharing what works for you, Chip!
You guys keep putting out great stuff!
Why is there no mention of Skip-Prep. I’ve used it on sites and sensors for 25 yrs and it has performed better than anything else for general use. An overpatch not mentioned is Hypafix tape, a hypoallergenic, breathable, flexible, removable/replacable, pediatric friendly, fast drying, and water proof.
Thanks Stephen! Appreciate the info!