Stop Skin Irritation for Type 1 Diabetic Kids
Let’s face it, even if your child doesn’t have sensitive skin, you’re probably seeing skin irritation from the diabetes gadgets they wear. Our kids skin can get raw from all the adhesives on their skin. Sweat and water also aid in skin irritation and it can feel like their skin is always broke out because, well, they have these gadgets 24/7/365. I thought it might help to share some of the top tips I’ve learned along the way to stop skin irritation for our Type 1 Diabetic Kids.
Managing Skin Irritation From Diabetes
My son has had his fair share of really irritated skin from his Continuous Glucose Monitor and also at times, irritation to his insulin pump site. A lot of times the skin irritation is from the overlay patches, and not really from the diabetic tech themselves – as you can see below. I notice an increase in irritation in the summer when it’s hot and sweaty, and he is in an out of the water. But, the winter months bring another issue and that is skin dryness.
Below are my top tips to stop skin irritation for Type 1 Diabetic Kids!
Avoid Alcohol Wipes
Clean skin is a necessity when inserting new diabetic gadgets, but that doesn’t mean you have to use an alcohol wipe. Alcohol is VERY drying to the skin and can effect your child’s skin even if they aren’t prone to skin breakouts. Instead, try to replace sites after they have bathed. Make sure to wait for the skin to fully dry, so that the gadget sticks, and don’t forget to avoid lotion to the area you will be using for the new site.
Maybe this goes without saying, but try and rotate their sites each time. My son prefers his Dexcom on the backs of his arms, but he has eczema and he needs more than 10 days before going back to the arm. Find other spots, like thighs and stomach to be able to rotate around. We are able to give each site a three-week break by finding four spots he doesn’t mind using.
Use a Barrier Spray
Barrier sprays create a thin barrier between the skin and the adhesive and can help to reduce skin irritation. There are a few types, our favorite is the spray, but they also make barrier spray wipes.
I do want to caution one thing – I have included the brand Skin Tac in our list of recommended products, but I have found this to be more irritating to the skin and would not consider this a barrier option. This product is REALLY GOOD at keeping Type 1 gadgets to stay on the skin longer and come in really handy for summer beach days or vacations, but can cause skin irritation for everyday/normal use. Maybe you have a different experience, but wanted to make sure I was clear as the name suggests it is a barrier wipe.
Another suggestion is to use a barrier tape, like Tegaderm, on the skin before inserting the Dexcom sensor. I find these patches are much like the Dexcom patches they offer (which you can get them for free through Dexcom).
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Similar to a barrier spray, using a nasal allergy spray, we use Flonase, can help reduce skin irritation. In some cases, an allergic reaction happens from the adhesive, especially if the adhesive gets wet (from a shower) and sits on the skin. Using Flonase can reduce possible allergic skin reactions. Spray on clean skin and let it dry, then insert the new sensor or pump site. I also have found Flonase to be helpful with chaffed skin from adhesive. Use on clean skin after the sensor is removed, just as long as there isn’t any open skin from the irritation. I find this helps the skin heal quickly.
Depending on your healthcare coverages, you can have your child’s pediatrician write a prescription for Flonase and you may get it for less than buying it off the shelf, maybe even at no cost!
Keeping the skin moisturized is super important. It helps tore up skin heal and also skin that is moisturized and well maintained will, most likely, not become as irritated. Again, don’t use a lotion on skin that has an open sore. Unfortunately though, most lotions available in your local CVS or Walgreens don’t do the best job at deeply moisturizing the skin. You can find our faves in our Amazon Store, if you’re looking for some that provide deep moisture that work really, really well.
What to do if their skin has an open sore?
You’ll need to check with your child’s pediatrician, but my son’s pediatrician gave us a prescription of
Another great option is to grab these 2nd Skin Squares. They are medical-grade gel adhesive squares that cool, sooth, and protect the open skin and are great for healing our Type 1s skin irritation.
Using an overlay patch can not only help keep the diabetic tech on the skin longer, but can also help with skin irritation. Unfortunately, they can also aid in skin irritation.
Here are two tips I have learned over the years, when it comes to overlay patches. While the patches are waterproof, and provide protection, it is still important to dry them out a bit after swimming or showers. Keeping wet adhesive on the skin to dry by itself only promotes more irritation and can aid in blisters, sores, and even infection!
Use a hairdryer on the low heat setting and dry the patch out. You don’t need it to be fully dry, but drying it some really, really helps.
The second thing that is really helpful is that you use a quality, hypo-allergenic patch! There are A LOT of patches out there, and it can take some time to weed through them and find what works. Our favorite, hands down, is by Pump Peelz. I also love that they offer insulin pump stickers and CGM stickers. It’s nice to let the kids decorate their Type 1 gadgets – and personalize them a bit. Pump Peelz’s adhesive is most delicate on my son’s skin, compared to other brands, and they have some really great patterns – instead of just plain colors.
Our Favorite Skin Care Essentials for Type 1:
More Care Essentials for Diabetic Skin Irritation
Skin Irritation for our Type 1 Diabetic Kids, on top of everything else that we have to manage, can be super frustrating and time consuming! I hope these top tips help you if you are dealing with skin irritation with your Type 1 Child. If you try any of these tips, or have some tips of your own, let me know in the comments below!