Troubleshooting Skin Care - ExpressionMed

Troubleshooting Skin Care

Experiencing issues with your ExpressionMed adhesives? We’re here to help! Below is some information to help identify the type of skin irritation you are experiencing along with some known remedies. Everyone’s skin is different so there isn’t always a one-size-fits-all solution. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

I’ve never had a reaction to an ExpressionMed Tape, why am I having one now? 

According to a 2019 study the median duration of sensor use before dermatitis (a reaction caused by allergens or irritants) is 6 months. Meaning it takes time for your skin to “become sensitive” and you have time to prevent such irritation! 

Before we dive into what to do if you have a reaction, let’s chat about what types of reactions there are. Whenever your skin starts to get red or itchy the first thing that pops into your mind is, “Oh no! I’m allergic! How will I keep on my expensive cyborg parts if I’m allergic to tape!”

Don’t worry, out of the 3 skin reactions, allergies are the least common, but it is important to know what each reaction is and how to treat and avoid it. 


Types of Skin Reactions

1. Allergies - Least common 

Allergic contact dermatitis (a skin reaction caused by allergies)  is a lot less common than Irritant contact dermatitis (a skin reaction caused by an irritant). 

What does it look like? 

Allergic Contact Dermatitis generally presents itself as swelling and water blisters. The blisters may break, forming crusts and scales. Untreated, the skin may darken and become leathery and cracked. 

What is the risk with ExpressionMed? 

Materials like nickel, latex, rubber, dyes, and even plants such as poison ivy are the most common allergens. 

This is exactly why ExpressionMed does not use any latex or natural rubbers that are often used in adhesives. Instead we use a blend of acrylates. There is a .1% chance of an individual having an allergic reaction to acrylates.

How do I avoid it? 
  • Get a patch test and learn what you are sensitive to.Your doctor can do a patch test on your back to check for allergies and help identify potential triggers. Sometimes you’ll find that it is not the adhesive that you are allergic to but trapped allergens.  In a 2019 study of 70 Freestyle libre users, 23 patients had contact allergy to substances that are probably not related to the glucose sensor materials, such as preservatives (11 patients), fragrances (seven patients), metals (seven patients).
  • Check labels on everything that you will be applying under or around your device. For example, fragrance may not irritate your skin as a light mist in the morning before work, but once it is trapped for weeks, it may do more serious damage.

What should I do if I have it?

If you have a blistering allergic reaction:

  • Remove the tape as gently as possible, as  you are removing it early, it will be really stuck. Use oils or an adhesive remover if you have one.
  • Clean the area. Soap and water will do, but Bactine will help stop itching and pain and prevent infection.
  • Allergic Contact Dermatitis can take 2-4 weeks to heal. A healing eczema ointment will help. 

2. Irritant - Most Common

Irritant Contact Dermatitis is very common in long wear adhesives. 

What does it look like? 

Itchy, dry, red skin. No liquid filled blisters. Potential swelling.

What is the risk with ExpressionMed? 

Based on clinical trials:
There is no risk. In a 21 day straight “cumulative irritation in humans” test, it performed with so little irritation that it could be a surgical tape. 

Based on the reality that people with diabetes wear tapes over and over again and a 21 day trial does not represent them: It depends on how often you change your site.

In the above section you read that 6 months is the median amount of time it takes for allergens to cause a reaction with CGM use.

When it comes to irritants, timelines are about the same. If you place any material in the same place for months on end, you have a high risk of developing contact dermatitis at some point. 

How do I avoid it?

We recommend identifying multiple comfortable sites that give accurate readings, and to switch between these sites each time you replace your monitor. 

What should I do if I have it?
  • If this is your first case of contact dermatitis. Switch site locations (I know, I know, this is an expensive choice) and avoid the irritated area for 4 weeks, even if it looks like it has completely healed. 
  • If you are getting many cases of contact dermatitis, get an allergen patch test from your primary care physician. 
  • If you don’t have allergies, and still have reactions on multiple sites,take a break from wearable devices for a while and take good care of your skin. We recommend looking at articles regarding skin care and diet for sensitive skin. 
  • If for any reason, you cannot, or don’t want to take a break from your CGM (understandable) we recommend  Tegaderm Hydrocolloid Thin Dressing under the adhesive. It’s great for healing.


    3. Skin Trauma - Avoidable

    Skin Trauma is caused by improper removal of the material and is 100% avoidable.

    What does it look like? 
    • No itching, redness or inflammation before tape removal
    • After tape removal, redness, torn skin, eventual scabbing
    What is the risk with ExpressionMed? 

    Only possible by removing the tape aggressively instead of stretching off of skin or utilizing softening agents like oil and unisolve.

    How do I avoid it? 
    • See Care Instructions Page for proper removal.
    What should I do if I have it? 
    • Heal the skin as if you have a scrape from falling. My recommendation is Bactine for pain, Neosporin for antibiotic properties, and hydrocolloid bandages for wet healing. Wet healing = no scabs or scars.