Dexcom G4 - Help with sensors sticking to skin

I read some older similar posts with no success with any of the suggestions:

I have had my Dexcom CGM for nearly a year now. I notice that when I shower the tape starts to loosen/lose its stickiness as I am sure all of you other users do as well. Whenever I start to exercise and sweat, the sensor will practically fall off within hours (and I am not one to profusely sweat). I have tried applying medical tape which gets ridiculous when you have 8+ pieces of tape barely hanging on. I have also tried 3m Tegaderm Transparent Film Dressing 4"x4" (helps for a short amount of time), Skin Tac liquid adhesive (doesn’t help at all), and various other medical tapes or patches. I insert the sensors to the right or left of my belly button (closer to my sides) as that is the easiest and most comfortable at this time, but I am seriously considering other locations.

Dexcom is of little assistance other than pointing out that I should use rubbing alcohol around the area prior to applying and then letting dry (which I do). I’ve tried every way I can possibly think of, but I was hoping that someone out there has had similar issues and could recommend another solution.

I read that some people put the sensor on their arm or leg. Is this comfortable? Thinking out loud here… but this seems like it would be easier to tape up because I could possibly tape around my entire arm if need be, lol.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

I use OpSite FlexiFix. I put down some tape on me, and then insert the Dexcom sensor on top of it. Thus, the Dexcom tape sticks to the FlexiFix, not my skin, and, as an added bonus, there are fewer skin problems (infections, bleeding, etc.).

When I use FlexiFix, the sensor stays on for about 2 weeks. (In fact, more often than not, I have to change it because the receiver keeps showing “???”, not because the sensor is falling off.) When it’s on my skin, it stays on for about a week.

The biggest enemy seems to be showers. When it’s on my skin, there’s no salvaging once the tape begins to not stick to me. But when it’s on the FlexiFix, I just press down on the wet adhesive, and it sticks a bit.

Skin Tac adhesive works for me. Don’t know what else to suggest.

I shave the area before I put down the sensor. I press down on the tape with the back of my finger nail while moving my nail parallel to the edge of the tape. When I shower I try to expose the tape to as little water as I can. After the shower I gently touch the tape with a towel several times. This seems to help a lot. The tape is as solid after 10 days as it is on day one.

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Here’s the system I use to stick my Dex CGM to my skin for a dependable14 days. I’ve used my abdomen, love handles, and back of my arms with equal success.

I use hot water with a wash rag and soap to thoroughly clean the intended site. Rinse well with hot water and the rag. I dry with a dry towel while firmly rubbing the site. I use a hair dryer to make absolutely sure that the skin on the site is dry.

I apply the sensor to the skin and insert the sensor. If using the abdomen, I stand up so that the skin at the site is taught and not scrunched up, as it is when sitting. (What you’re trying to prevent is to have the skin surface relaxed when the sensor bandage is applied and then when you stand up and pull the skin tight, it weakens the skin/bandage adhesion.)

Once I withdraw the sensor applicator I use the back of my finger nails, like @Helmut describes, to press the adhesive firmly against the skin. Next, I paint Skin-Tac liquid adhesive over the top of the Dexcom fabric bandage with the fabric ball applicator. While the bandage is wet it can pull away from the skin so I’m careful to watch for that and don’t make any moves that might pull the wet bandage off of the skin. If that happens, I gently push the bandage back down onto the skin. Then I use the hair dryer again for several minutes until the bandage is completely dry. It takes longer than you might think. I use the low heat setting on the dryer.

I use Hypafix by Smith & Nephew. It comes in a roll, and I cut off a piece about 4" by 2.5". I apply it over the entire sensor/transmitter setup. The Dexcom sensor transmits fine through the tape. I usually need to replace the tape after about a week, but this is easy to do by holding the transmitter firmly in place while removing the tape. Oh, and I clean the skin with an alcohol swab and let it dry thoroughly before insertion.

I use it on my arms and really like results. There are several YouTube videos about how to do it. However remember this is not a recommended placement by Dexcom.

Like I say I love doing it and I have good results.

rick phillips

I’ve noticed a few things with my sensor and it’s stickiness after 4 months of trial and error

  1. I need to wait a long while to shower (or otherwise get it wet) after the sensor is put on. I insert a new one right after a shower then usually do not shower the next day (as is my habit, anyways) or wait until later on the next day.

  2. The more tape I put on, the worse. I put one on once and immediately placed the Flex-fit stuff around it. That one lasted about a week. So, I go as long as I can before I have to tape down the original adhesive. First I’ll use some regular white medical tape, then when that starts coming up I gently peel it off and replace it with Flex-fit, again not showering for at least 24 hours.

  3. When the original adhesive starts to come up too much and I do have to tape it down, I gently life the original adhesive up and apply some skin-prep between that and my skin before smoothing it back down and taping over it.

  4. Water is the enemy!! Probably every other show I take, I use medical tape and a plastic bag to create a water-tight cover. This works best if the sensor is on my leg and I can wrap the bag around my entire thigh.

This is the end of day 18 for this sensor and it’s still holding on strong.

My son prefers his arms and legs as sites. He finds them the most comfortable.

I see that Skin Tak has not helped. Have you tried Mastisol?

I’m sorry you are having this trouble. Very frustrating.

Thanks for all of the replies! I now have some new things to try!

my sensor is useless after a shower, even though dexcom is proud to say that you can wear it in the swimming pool or ocean. i try and rotate my showers in the same way that i rotate my sites. i recently started using the tegaderm and found that it is actually hard to remove when i am changing sensors. but, it still does not cure the showering dilemma; somehow water gets right in there and my sensor is useless. i use alcohol wipes on my transmitter and my skin area where i plan to put my sensor. i wave my hand over the moist area until it is completely dry. when i attach the sensor, i rotate my fingers gently around its own adhesive tape. pressing down lightly in a kind of spreading out motion. once i remove the introducer needle and i attach the transmitter, i cut open the part of the tegaderm that will allow it to fit around the sensor, careful not to cover the transmitter. this seems to be working for me. it’s only been a month now. i must say this, though: i have a difficult time using the tegaderm b/c it is so delicate and so sticky. i don’t always get it right on the first try.

I use the enlite sensors, and allergic to adhesives. I can use tegaderm and that’s about it. I ignore all the suggestions from MM about using them. I place a piece of tegaderm on the bottom, put the sensor and cover it up with a whole piece of tegaderm. I get six days of it. If you are not allergic to the adhesive then just use the top piece of tegaderm and then you might get another week of it.