Four Proven Steps to Stop Your Freestyle Libre, Dexcom, or Omnipod From Coming Off
We’ve all had our continuous glucose monitor or insulin pump fall off prematurely. It’s expensive, it’s frustrating, and we feel cheated by the little adhesive underneath it. We have to do more manual finger prick testing and re-calibrate a new CGM, and it takes TIME.
But you can prevent the stress and anxiety of your device coming off by following the proven steps below. We tested our adhesives on a range of skin types and patient groups and found the below proven method to keep your Freestyle Libre, Dexcom, or Omnipod on for the full duration.
Step 1 – You need the perfect application site, or you’re set up to fail
How do I get a perfect application site?
- Clean the area thoroughly, removing any debris, and ensure the area is shaved and free of hairs.
- Let the area become completely dry.
- Do not apply the device to moist or sweaty skin. This will interfere with the formation of the molecular bonds between the adhesive and your skin.
Why are these important?
- A dirty application site is going to cause you to have reactions to the debris trapped under your 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 sticking to our skin, not the hairs, and we don’t want growing hair follicles fighting back against the adhesive.
Step 2 – You need to know how the adhesive works
Once you have applied your device, push down on the adhesive!
Make sure as much of the adhesive molecules get into all of the nooks and crannies of your skin as possible. This is going to increase the surface area of adhesion, and will make an incredible difference to the longevity of your device.
Why is this important?
- Most adhesives in the medical world are pressure sensitive adhesives.
- This means that when subjected to force (for example, you pushing on it with your finger) the adhesive starts to form bonds with your skin, providing incredible sticking strength.
- This also allows the adhesive to access more of your skin, increasing the amount of bonds formed, 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 adhesive and adding incredible sticking power to the patch.
Step 3 – You need to apply it quickly!
Have you ever wondered why the adhesive doesn’t stick to the paper you peel off? Why glue sticks don’t stick to the tube? Why post-it notes don’t stick to each other permanently?
Adhesives are designed to work after they have been removed, after exposure to air. As soon as that paper is off of the adhesive, you’re on a clock. Get it on and get it stuck, and then you’re okay.
- You need to plan your application, to make sure you aren’t stood with the adhesive or patch doing something else, whilst the stickiness literally evaporates.
Step 4 – You need to call in 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 Dexcom 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 patch.
What do patches do?
- Patches are the ultimate & final level of protection for your device. If you want to stop your Dexcom or Freestyle Libre falling off, guarantee it by adding a patch.
- They protect your kit and look great whilst doing it.
How do they work?
Let’s look at the science.
You’re adding a patch to your device with a pressure-sensitive adhesive that’s got almost triple the surface area of the device itself.
- Straight out of the box you’re looking at triple the adhesion, and a 3x reduction in anxiety about your device falling off.
Mechanically, you’re also covering the device. This means that if you catch your Freestyle Libre, Omnipod, or Dexcom on say a door or a table, the patch will stop it being ripped off. It’s still going to hurt, because you just smashed your Dexcom against a doorframe, but you can’t “catch” on a patch, so you’re protected.
Are they waterproof? Yes.
- Our patches were tested on different skin types, versus different activity levels, in different types 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 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 it’s 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. For the next 24 hours your adhesive will be maturing to maximum strength, forming bond after 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. Any bonds that didn’t form, instead bound with the water you introduced. This applies to sweating as well.
- Do not apply your diabetes device just before starting a workout or a sauna session.
So you’ve followed all four steps, now what?
Go and live life. Test out your device and patch and see what you can throw at it. How strong do you think your adhesion is now? Check out some examples from Type One Style customers 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 5 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 3 times a week with a Dexcom G6 & patch in Dover
- Our own product development and testing process here at Type One Style as well as our science backgrounds and combined knowledge
REALLY interested in the science? One fun fact is that there are no actual chemical bonds in adhesives between the adhesive and the skin. It’s actually 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 just to call it a bond – nobody actually needs to know the granular physics behind adhesion.
We know what we’re talking about at Type One Style. Complicated question? Message us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @typeonestyle and ask to speak to our founder Charlie. He has a biomedical background and will happily talk you through things.