CGM newbie - overpatch, Skin-Tac?

Long time T1 (37 years), brand new CGM user. Got a G6 kit and still on my first sensor - 8 days in!

Anyway, at 8 days in, including a lot of me sweating while exercising in the past week, the sticky stuff is just starting to wear off and there’s some small wrinkles that have been building around the sensor. I smooth them out and make sure the edges don’t peel up but at 8 days in I can tell that the edges won’t last forever. I think I’m good for 10 days on this one but have been trying to learn what’s out there to help make sure future ones stay on for 10 days.

Couple of questions for those with experience:

1: I have a bunch of Skin-Tac wipes but didn’t use for the first sensor. I seem to have no allergies to the Dexcom adhesive. Would it make sense to use the Skin-Tac wipes even though I have no problems with the adhesive? Does Skin-Tac actually help the sensor stick through all 10 days?

2: I also have a batch of G6 overpatches. Does it make sense to put an overpatch on right away after applying the sensor? And then the overpatch has to last for all 10 days? Or does it make more sense to put an overpatch on after say 5 days as sort of a time-extension, and then the overpatch only has to last for 5 days?

Skin Tac is the go-to product for keeping sensors on when the factor adhesive can’t do the job. Let it tack up for about 1-2 minutes before putting in the sensor. Try to avoid the small area where the filament enters your body. Some people put Skin tac directly onto the tape but I find it doesn’t work quite the same.
You can get FREE overtapes (10-pack) by calling Dexcom tech support-NOT sales. Just tell them you are having trouble with them staying on and they’ll give you the tapes. Better to give customers tapes than to replace costly sensors!


I am still on Dexcom G5 as a Medicare patient and just use Opsite Flexifit to make an overpatch so that I don’t have to waste time calling Dexcom Tech support and they work wonderfully because I can custom cut them as required. Cost is just a couple of cents per patch as a roll will last you for years. I get about 125 patches per roll. Opsite does not start to peel at the edges for several weeks and I don’t have to deal with messy Skin-Tac.

The trick, however, is to make sure to shave well the area where the Sensor and overpatch will be applied. I usually shave the area I am going to use, take a shower and apply sensor. That way I don’t even use alcohol swab.

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I second @CJ114’s recommendation to shave the area. Getting off the dead skin cells makes a big difference.

Also, once hairs grows more than about 1/8 Inch (about 3 mm) or so, it starts to loosen the adhesive bond between the skin and the Dexcom sensors.

We use skin tac, then an oval of opsite flexifix a little larger than the sensor adhesive then apply the sensor right over that - no holes cut for sensor wire. Has worked great for years.

@Tim12 I use Tegaderm and have found it to work like a charm.

I place the Tegaderm on the side of my belly. Then place the sensor directly in the center. I don’t need any Skin Tac with this set up and it stays clean and looking like new 21+ days. I use Dexcom G5. The edges don’t curl. Water does not effect it. I don’t cut a hole in the Tegaderm, I just go right through it. I find the sensor to be very accurate. The pieces of Tegaderm are precut and individually wrapped.

The cost, I think, is reasonable. The link below would be $0.65 cents for nearly a month (for me with the G5) - and, best of all, it’s clean looking and smooth, not hard and crusty from all the applications of Skin Tac or layered with multiple pieces of tape/overlays.

It’s not that I don’t like Skin Tac, I do. I use it with my OmniPod. But, those only need to stay on for 3 days, not 30.

Tegaderm has been key for me with both my G4 and now G5.

I can get thru to Dexcom support quickly and the patches are a PERFECT fit around the body of the sensor mount. No way could I make them to fit correctly and certainly not 10 of them in the time it takes to ask support for a package. Some people just hate calling. My wife is like that. She wanted to forgo getting an adjustment on a $600 pair of glasses until I prompted her repeatedly. The optho is a surgeon she has worked with for years and he oversees my and her yearly diabetic exams. When something isn’t right, one should complain.

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To answer the original poster’s Q #2:
I use the free Dexcom overpatches. I wait until the sticky part of the G6 sensor starts to curl up at edges and then add the Dexcom overpatch. I’ve applied overpatches anywhere from day 3 to day 8 on a sensor and this has worked really well for me.

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I like to use the skintac like @Dave44 says. Let it tack up.
I use the over patches later on when I see that the edges are starting to lift. So maybe day 5 to 10?
I wear my G6 for 14 to 21 days. I always try and change my sensors on Sundays (I put the new sensor in Saturday night before bed to let it soak.)

Wow. That’s awesome!

I use Skin-Tac and aggressive site washing to dependably get 14 days out of most of my sensors. I’m still using the G4.

When I prepare a site for a new sensor, I use soap, hot water, a wash rag, and a clean dry towel to prepare the site. When I dry the site, I slightly abrade the skin to remove most of the dead skin cells.

I intall the sensor in the usual fashion and then paint Skin-Tac over the top of the sensor adhesive patch , slightly overlapping the perimeter of the patch edge. At this point, I’m careful not to move too much before the Skin-Tac wetness dries or that can make the entire effort fail.

Good luck with your new sensor habit. CGM has been one of the best tactics I’ve used to manage my blood sugar. It provides the best customized education possible, if you pay attention. Uploading data to the Clarity app will also help with making basal, insulin to carb ratio, and sensitivity factor adjustments. I find the CGM improves my quality of life, improves my numbers while taking less effort than living without it.

I use the over-patch when traveling and seeking to avoid any Skin-Tac spilling disasters.

I’ve never needed to go to that extreme. Are you sure that that process is what takes you from failure to success, or do you just do it because you think it might help?

I put Skin Tac into a tiny eye drops bottle, clearly labeled and there is just me and my wife here, so not to worry about someone putting into their eyes. Any other similar tiny plastic dropper bottle would work. If it falls on it’s side, it wont leak. As u can see in the photo, it is smaller than the typical eye drops bottle.

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I use Skintac on clean dry skin, a layer of Opsite over top of that, and then cover Opsite tape with more Skintac and lay the G5 sensor down on the prepared surface.

Sensors are restarted and last between 28-49 days (usually 5-6 weeks). My sensor readings are far more accurate after 3 weeks than they are initially.

Do you put the skin tac right where the filament goes into your body?

I cut a hole in the Opsite patch for the sensor filament and try to carefully coat the top of Opsite with Skintac without contaminating the “window” or skin.

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I wouldn’t start doing extra stuff until you see a need. It’s not inevitable that the Dexcom adhesive won’t work (although clearly it’s insufficient for many people).

Like Karin7, I wait until there’s some curling then put on a Dexcom overpatch. Sometimes I go the whole ten days without any curling. I find the overpatches can be mildly uncomfortable and prone to get dirty so I don’t use them until I need them. I’ve never had a need for skin-tac.

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I quit using Skin Tac and switched to just using an overtape as soon as I install a sensor. Doing that is far labor-intensive. I’m an impatient type, so when I used Skin Tac I’d use a hair dryer to speed up the “tack-up” process.

It is, of course, just anecdotal but makes sense that dirty, oily, or dry skin cells would work against good adhesion. It doesn’t feel extreme to me.

With any repurposed liquid container used during airplane travel, I worry about leakage caused by changing cabin air pressure. I used to travel with the single use Skin-Tac packets in my DOP kit. They leaked and made a sticky mess. It’s made me wary of using Skin-Tac on the road. The overpatch is a nice solution for me.

Your contact lens cleaner bottle may be a good answer.