We’ve all had our rtCGM or Insulin pump fall off. CGMs are meant to stay on, but the adhesive patch they come with doesn't always hold up. When your CGM comes off, it creates problems:
- You may need to buy a new CGM
- It's super frustrating
- You may blame yourself for the weak CGM adhesive
- You may worry about future CGMs coming off
- You will need to calibrate a new CGM
- You may have to do manual blood glucose tests for the rest of the day
So, how do we prevent our sensor from coming off?
We have completed a range of skin type and adhesion tests and found the below-proven method to keep your Freestyle Libre, Dexcom, or Omnipod on for the entire duration.
Step 1 – You need the perfect application site, or you’re set up to fail
How do I get an ideal application site?
- Clean the area thoroughly with an antibacterial wipe, remove debris, and ensure the site is shaved and free of hair.
- Let the area become completely dry.
- Do not apply your CGM to moist or sweaty skin. This will interfere with the formation of the molecular bonds between the patch adhesive and your skin.
- A dirty patch application site will cause you to react to the debris trapped under your adhesive patch, and the adhesive will be binding with the dirt – not your skin, meaning it won’t stay on for as long.
- It’s the same for hairs. We want our adhesive patch sticking to our skin, not the hairs, and we don’t want growing hair follicles fighting back against the adhesive, pushing the patch up.
Step 2 – You need to know how the adhesive works.
Once you have applied your device, push down on the patch adhesive!
Make sure as many of the patch adhesive molecules get into all of the nooks and crannies of your skin as possible. This will increase the surface area of device adhesion and make an incredible difference to the longevity of your CGM or insulin pump.
Why is this important?
- Most CGM adhesives in the medical world are pressure-sensitive adhesives.
- This means that when subjected to force (for example, you push on the patch adhesive with your finger), the patch adhesive starts to form bonds with your skin, providing incredible sticking strength.
- This also allows the patch adhesive to access more of your skin, increasing the number of bonds formed and further strengthening it.
We use pressure-sensitive adhesives in our Dexcom, Freestyle Libre, Omnipod, and Medtronic patches.
- When you smooth down the edge of your patch after applying it, you’re activating the patch adhesive and adding incredible sticking power to the patch.
Step 3 – You need to apply it quickly!
Have you ever wondered why the CGM adhesive doesn’t stick to the paper you peel off? Why do glue sticks not stick to the tube?
Adhesives are designed to work after being removed and after exposure to air.
You're on a clock as soon as that paper is off of the adhesive. Get it on and get it stuck, and then you’re okay.
- You need to plan your application to make sure you aren’t standing with the CGM adhesive or doing something else - while the stickiness evaporates into thin air.
- Once you have applied your CGM, it's time to put an adhesive patch on for guaranteed protection. Check out Step 4 and the live demo video below.
Check out the video below of how Emma applies her Dexcom G6 adhesive patch quickly and effectively.
Step 4 – You need to call in the backup that you can trust.
Patches and tapes for diabetes devices are huge at the moment, and that’s because they make a difference to thousands of type 1 diabetics. The adhesives from the makers of the Dexcom G6 and Freestyle Libre don’t always stand up to what we can throw at them as diabetics, so here at Type One Style, we researched and created an innovative new type of adhesive patch.
What do adhesive patches do?
- Adhesive patches are the ultimate & final level of protection for your CGM device. If you want to stop your Dexcom G6 or Freestyle Libre from falling off, guarantee it by adding a patch.
- They protect your diabetes devices and look great while doing so.
Let’s look at the science.
You’re adding an adhesive patch to your CGM device with a pressure-sensitive adhesive that’s almost triple the CGM device's surface area.
- Straight away, you’re looking at triple the adhesion and a 3x reduction in anxiety about your CGM device falling off.
Mechanically, you’re also covering the CGM device.
If you catch your Freestyle Libre, Omnipod, or Dexcom on a door or a table, the adhesive patch will stop it from being ripped off. It’s still going to hurt, but you can’t “catch” a sticky patch, so you’re protected.
Are they waterproof? Yes.
- Our patches were tested on different skin types, versus different activity levels, in different kinds of water (saltwater and swimming pools). They’re waterproof for the entire life of your device, no matter how much you get them wet.
- They have lab-proven breathability too. This means that the patch does not resist the water and instead allows it to flow through it smoothly and harmlessly, making sure your patch and device are not agitated by the friction of passing liquids, further helping to keep them on.
Take the worry out of it keeping your Freestyle Libre, Dexcom, or Omnipod on - put an adhesive patch on and relax.
Step 5 – You MUST let the adhesive do its thing over the first 24 hours
Once our insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor has been applied, we’ll be relieved. We’ve been through the pain of the applicator, and we don’t want it to fall off and have to go through that all again.
From the moment the adhesive hits the skin, a clock starts. Your adhesive will mature to maximum strength for the next 24 hours, forming bond after bond. After 24 hours, you’ll have all the bonds.
If you get your patch or device wet in the first 24 hours, you’ll stop all of the bond-forming from that moment onward, and it won’t start up again. Instead, any bonds that didn’t form in time, will bond with the water you introduced. This applies to sweating as well.
- Do not apply your diabetes device before starting a workout or a sauna session.
So you’ve followed all five steps; now what?
Go and live life. Test your device and adhesive patch and see what you can throw at it.
Check out some examples of what Type One Style customers do with their adhesive patch below:
- Freediving in the North Sea off of Scotland with a Dexcom G6 & patch
- Rugby 3 times a week with an Omnipod & patch on the thigh in Bristol
- Swimming lessons five times a week with an Omnipod, Dexcom G6, and two patches in Colchester
- Walking into doorframes twice a week with a Freestyle Libre & patch in Leeds
- CrossFit sessions three times a week with a Dexcom G6 & patch in Dover
As a trusted provider of patches and stickers, we're on hand to advise and support you at every step of your journey. You can explore designs and styles from the menu or by clicking here :)
- Our product development and testing process here at Type One Style
Are you interested in science? One fun fact is that there are no actual chemical bonds in adhesives between the adhesive and the skin. It’s millions of van der Waal force interactions in three dimensions, using the electrostatic force to stay stuck to your skin. But let’s be honest, it’s easier to call it a bond – nobody needs to know the granular physics behind adhesion.