May 10, 2021
Does this picture look familiar to you?
Ever since the launch of the g6, more and more Dexcom users are noticing irritation under their device that they’ve never had to deal with before.
This has become so common that there is an entire 13,000 person Facebook group to address it!
You may have noticed that the picture above shows irritation where the dexcom was placed, but not where the ExpressionMed Tape was worn. If you find a tape you love that does not irritate your skin, see if that company offers an UnderPatch. If the material is thin enough, it should not affect your sensor longevity or readings.
We recommend you find a non-printed tape to use as an underpatch since the ink adds thickness to the material.
If you are still experiencing sensitivity with an underpatch, there are 3 potential culprits. Luckily we can offer solutions to all three.
There are trapped irritants/allergens between the tape and your skin.
Wash the area with unscented soap and water before application
The skin is damaged from overuse of rubbing alcohol and strong adhesives.
Give this area of your skin a break. Patch test another area of your skin by cutting a square out of an adhesive and putting it on another part of your body. Make sure to patch test the Tape before using it under your Dexcom. If your skin reacts and you have to remove your Dexcom, the test becomes a lot more expensive.
You are sensitive to the adhesive as well.
This one breaks my heart, because we have not changed our material in the past 5 years and still some of our favorite customers are developing sensitivities to the material.
At first I thought there was no explanation until I began studying how allergic contact dermatitis affects the skin barrier. I learned that just one case of allergic contact dermatitis, or even an overuse of rubbing alcohol can damage the skin barrier and leave your skin more prone to sensitivity and reactions, even to materials you’ve never reacted to before.
The solution to this skin barrier damage was actually determined way back in 2001, people just don’t talk about it.
What I’m recommending is not medical advice, but instead a conversation to have with your doctor, if this is something you are newly struggling with.
This study found that combining a topical corticosteroid with corneotherapy agents prevents the delay in the healing process of skin barrier disruption due to allergic contact dermatitis.
In non-scientific words, this means that if rubbing alcohol or an allergen damaged your skin barrier and is making your skin more sensitive to materials you weren’t sensitive to prior, you can speed up the rebuilding of your skin barrier. You can do this by using topical corticosteroid lotions ranging from over the counter hydrocortisone (anti-itch cream) to prescription level Diprolene to stop the allergic response.
If you combine this with corneotherapy: taking protective measures while your skin is healing, you can speed up the healing process. These protective measures could include using a barrier spray before applying adhesives or wearing tight clothing, using a barrier cream daily to promote healing or using a hydrocolloid patch for 3 days to promote full healing of the affected space.
If you are treating an allergic reaction, try not to use the above barriers on their own without the corticosteroids, you need to treat the allergic reaction AND create an environment for healing.
Again, I’m not a doctor and any choice you make should be discussed with your primary care provider or endo, but I hope my internet deep dive helps you understand your own skin and avoid those pesky rashes!
Until next time,
Founder and CEO
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