Quitting Mastisol... Switching to FlexiFix :))

This time, I spread my wipe-on protectant (‘Skin-Prep’) on a taller and longer area, allowing for a strip of Flexifix to cover the most of the “upper” half of the Sensor’s adhesive pad. This is not complete coverage; The Transmitter and bottom half of the adhesive pad are still exposed to open air. But across the top half, I’ve got a horizontal strip of Smith & Nephew “FlexiFix”. It’s 4" long (the width of the ‘wide’ roll which I bought), and it’s about 1" tall.

That size provides about 1/2" of skin contact at the tallest part of the Dexcom oval, and increases skin coverage as the Dexcom pad gets less tall (towards the edges). My Flexifix strip length is the entire 4" width of the “wide” package, so that leaves about 1/2" extra at the ends (sideways), where it’s completely on skin. I’m now on day 10, which is about when I’d begin to see tiny bits of black muck at the edges of the Dexcom adhesive pad. (With Skin-Prep applied underneath, but nothing else). Often, during days 10-14, I’ve needed to “patch up” the edges of my Sensor adhesive pads…

And Mastisol, once used, requires a strong chemical “remover” to take it off. Also, it isn’t (for me) a permanent fix, and often needs a re-application a few days later. So for me, this looks like better performance, quicker to do, and easier on my skin, and permanent: A total winner.
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BTW, it’s not due to less physical activity while wearing this particular Sensor: We just had a Class-2 Hurricane in my neighborhood (wind and rain, but inland, without “storm surge” tides). I’m wrassling several of busted-up fence posts, along with all the rails, planks, and battens which had been mounted on them. :((

I love Flexifix! I also bought the 4 inch wide roll, and each time I insert a new sensor, I cut a piece of Flexifix about 2.5 inches long. I then cut a hole in the middle so it looks like an elongated donut and put the whole thing over the sensor (the hole allows the sensor itself not to be covered. The tape patch is big enough so that it covers all the edges of the Dexcom sensor pad. I typically get 11-12 days out of a sensor, and the Flexifix is going strong even by day 12 – no peeling up at all. Surprisingly, it’s not difficult to take off once I’m done with a sensor. I use skin prep as well, and have not had any irritation or itching.

I use mastisol and flexifix tape… I also use the 4" and I often don’t need to replace the tape for 7-10 days (when I replace it, I carefully cut it off at the original dex tape, then re-stick any portions of the dex tape that need help, wipe down the whole area with adhesive, and put the tape over it all). I’m currently 18 days into my current sensor (which is still working great) and I replaced the tape on day 6… and haven’t touched it since, so it’s been in place for 12 days now. It will be interesting to see how long it stays on but so far it’s only barely peeling up at the corners (which I usually round off, but I didn’t last time)… I expect that I will get at least a few more days from it :slight_smile:

I am also a huge flexifix fan. Ann- I do exactly what you do with cutting out the hole for the transmitter to fit through, and use Skin-Tac alcohol wipes as prep (my entire Dexcom routine is here: http://dontfeardiabetes.com/2010/04/dexcom-questions-part-2-and-how… ). Works like a charm. So far, my flexifix has outlasted all my sensors (and this is with a decent amount of time spent surfing in a wetsuit, so it gets A LOT of moisture). I also feel like it makes the Dexcom adhesive even easier to take off when the time comes. Maybe the water gets in somehow and works it away and then peeling off the flexi just takes the whole thing off nice and easy, no remover required. I wish I could remember where I first read about the stuff so I could send that person a thank you card.

The one thing I’d say is it takes some practice to cut/handle it without bunching it up, but the rolls are big and you use so little at a time. Also, if you mess up or don’t cover all the edges of the Dex adhesive, you can just cut a little patch and put that on top. It seems to stick to itself as well as it sticks to skin.

I know that the more common usage is to cut a larger piece, covering nearly all of the Dexcom pad. Thanks for your success stories about that way, too! For me, the key seems to be coverage which reaches well past the EDGE of the Dexcom adhesive pad. If the edge is well -protected and reamins flawless, the middle of the Dexcom adhesive pad stays OK with no extra treatment.

(Excluding the Skin-Prep, which does help the adhesive some… but my primary use of that stuff is to prevent horrible rashes and blisters.) So I’m getting by with less tape, less trimming, and no more Mastisol at all.

YMMV, of course.

Thanks for the post. Now that it has been getting warmer, I have been using surgical tape to hold down the edges to prolong sensor life (or at least the adhesive pad!). I will give the flexifix a try. Any recommendations on where to purchase online or is it available at any local medical supply house or drugstore?

I’ve been looking online for flexifix and found it at Amazon and American Diabetes Wholesale. It isn’t cheap at either place, but the later seemed a little less expensive. Does anyone know if flexifix is hypoallergenic?

I don’t know a lot of people with stronger reactions than me. Back at the end of January, I forgot to bring Skin-Preps for a quick trip to another city, and I had to put on a new Sensor without Skin Prep underneath…

The blisters and rashes are still there, 3 months later (in spite of burn cream, cortisone, udder cream, and skin lotions in large quantities, multiple times per day.) It’s not going away until ALL the skin sloughs off from that site. So I would be the right person to ask :)), except that I’m not going to DARE risking another skin reaction just to find out whether it’s “safe”. Especially when, for me, it probably isn’t. :((

Thanks. After some searching yesterday, I ended up purchasing from American Diabetes Wholesale. I got the 4 inch tape for just less than $32 shipped. Not sure how, I tried to use a pump supplies discount coupon code and maybe that worked!

Does the hole in the center need to be cut out, or can you cover the entire sensor with no hole. I did this with another tape my OmniPod trainer gave me, and it caused the sensor to pull away from the original adhesive. Just curious - Renea

I’m on Day 6 of my second sensor. The first one I used Transpore tape on the two long edges. At the end of the first week, the taitches and and I started getting a small inflamed area under the tape. This time I decided to just use the Dexcom with no other prep than a skin barrier prep. So far the edges are staying stuck and I have no redness or itching. If it starts to peel up, I’ll add tape knowing that I won’t need it for more than a week. I have no ambitions of trying to make a sensor go longer than two weeks. I’m not convinced yet that I don’t need to consider scarring, and since sensor starts are so easy and my insurance pays for sensors, I don’t see any reason to try for more than two weeks.

But I’ll certainly check out Flexifix if I need something else. Sounds like everyone who uses it thinks highly of it.

I’d been using the Skin-Prep/Flexifix combo for awhile but was getting incredibly itchy from the tape. I am so happy with the Bands for Life I’m wearing on my arm over the sensor. I only use Skin Prep now. No itching, and the band keeps both the sensor and the adhesive in place. Showering has no affect on it. Very happy.

I’ve been using hypafix dressing, which I think it similar to flexifix, but cheaper.
Hypafix is similar to the white ‘fabric’ tape on the dexcom sensor itself. I found the 4in X 11 yds at amazon for 14.50.
I cut a hole as others have said, and just cover the tape part of the dexcom sensor.

Fascinating! I LOVE the idea of less tape. Do you wear the same band for the entire 2 weeks, or do you switch to alternate ones after they get sweaty? And also - can you wash them in a “cold/delicate” machine cycle, or do you have to do genuine hand washing?

I assume that an automatic clothes dryer is a bad idea. Am I right about that?

You can hand wash them whenever they need “freshening up.” I wouldn’t put it in the clothes dryer. It’s important to get the right measurement so it stays in place. Worked great on my arm. Got a thigh band and found that more challenging to keep in place, due to pants rubbing. I am thinking of resewing it to make it a bit tighter.

The same 4" strip of flexifix along the top edge works fine for me also. Like others I got it at Amer Diabetes Wholesale. I don’t know well it would hold past 11 days which is the longest so far that I’ve been able to keep a sensor working.

How did the hypafix work out for you in the long run?

What are Bands for Life?