Unfortunately, skin sensitivities have been found to be a ubiquitous challenge to the diabetes population.

Reactions vary from itchiness to skin breakdown and everything in between; in fact, diabetes forums across the web have threads of conversation with those desperate for advice. Adhesive sensitivities and diabetes can be a frustratingly sorry mix.

These reactions are so common, that according to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology: “the physician tends to minimize its importance. The reactions generally being quite benign, and the cause-effect relationship obvious, the patient often acts on his own to avoid the offending agent.”
Many patients, left to search for answers, buy a cabinet of pricey supplies and through trial and error figure out what works best for them – some aborting the offending product altogether out of utter frustration.

Isolating the common denominator requires thinking outside the box and identifying creative ways to quell the skin in order to continue the use of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors.

Many pinpoint the following problems:
• Repeated skin use areas
• Problems that build up over time
• Adhesive products that adhere to skin with ‘super-glue ‘strength
• Residue from the adhesive remains on the skin
• Skin isn’t given time to repair before the product is placed on it again
• One product may be worse than another

Practical solutions
Going into repair mode is unfortunate and the repertoire may look something like this:
• Skin barrier products
• Prepping the skin
• Cleaning the skin
• Spraying with an anti-histamine
• Soaking the tape to soften and remove it without tearing at the skin beneath
• Removing adhesive from the skin between product changes
Raising a flag of surrender and forfeiting the use of the product is the very last thing people with diabetes want to do.

Whatever the tactic is, there’s a large problem at hand – it’s ugly and it’s uncomfortable – and sometimes solutions are hard to come by. When there’s a child with these issues it can be very problematic: it hurts, they don’t want to try it again, and there’s limited real estate with their small frames.

Expert Advice

This all begs the question: is this overuse irritation or an allergy? Seeking expert medical advice is important; dermatologists and allergists can help you get to the bottom of these skin issues.
Be sure to check in with the company of the product you’re using; their training representative that started you on their product is a great place to start. They’re quick resources for successful solutions that other patients have already engaged.

OmniPod and Medtronic both have thorough product pages detailing potentially helpful products. Please do keep in mind that these two companies aren’t the only ones whose patients are experiencing issues, but they have taken proactive steps in helping their customers.

There are entire lines of hypoallergenic adhesive tapes to explore. Be sure to check with your suppliers to see if your insurance company can be billed for any adjuncts you may need to continue the use of their product.

If it sticks on, issues may erupt – which is true of even simple Band-Aid’s.

To learn more about equipment and devices:

New Medtronic Device Launched: Glucose Sensor and Infusion Set in One
Positive Points on Wearables with Diabetes
Technology to Help Diabetes Control: Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM)