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  • Writer's pictureMeg

Products I use to heal skin irritation from adhesives



Ah, site changes. It can feel so good to have a fresh site on, but taking the old one off can cause some issues. Irritation, itchiness, inflammation, dry skin– I’ve seen it all! But I find with a few products and a little effort, I’ve been able to help my sites heal and in some cases, help irritation from developing in the first place.


While these tips have worked for me, it's important to remember that your skin may react differently. Be sure to speak with your diabetes team or healthcare provider to find a solution that works best for you!


  1. Use a product to remove adhesive residue: When removing a site, I use Unisolve to help remove any adhesive residue. This actually helps PREVENT any extra irritation that may come from ripping off the site. Unisolve is a specially formulated solvent that helps dissolve adhesives and remove them from the skin without causing further damage or irritation. Simply apply a small amount to the site and gently rub until the adhesive is removed. (pro tip: it also removes nail polish, so beware!) (1)

  2. Apply hydrocortisone cream: If the site feels irritated or really itchy after removing the site, I apply a small amount of hydrocortisone cream to the immediate area. Hydrocortisone cream is a topical steroid that can help soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. While prolonged use of steroid creams like this can cause skin to thin, I usually just apply once (maybe twice if it’s particularly irritated still the next day) which hasn’t been shown to have those negative side effects. (2) But as always, be sure to follow the instructions on the label and speak with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns! (3) (4)

  3. Moisturize: In the days following the site change, I keep the area moisturized using my normal lotion (I use this one!). If it's a particularly irritated site, I use something like Aquaphor, Vaseline, or petroleum jelly for extra protection. These products create a barrier on the skin that helps prevent moisture loss and protect against further irritation. I apply a small amount to the site and gently massage it into the skin.

  4. Use a body scrub: Once the skin is healed but maybe still a bit dry, I use a body scrub in the shower to help smooth it (this is my fav!). I’m super gentle with it, as I don't want to irritate the skin any further. A body scrub can help remove dead skin cells and promote healthy skin cell growth. I don’t use it more than once or twice a week. You can also make your own for pretty cheap!

  5. Protect your skin: Finally, it's important to protect your skin from further damage. Wear sunscreen (this is my fav!) when you're outside and drink lots of water to keep your skin hydrated and healthy!


I try to be as consistent as I can with this routine (I call it my *self-care*), but I’m not too strict with it. If I notice that my skin is not healing the best (which especially happens in the summer!), I will be more diligent with these steps!


To see some community suggestions about how to prevent irritation from happening in the first place, check out this blog.



References

  1. Unisolve product information. (n.d.). Smith & Nephew. Retrieved from https://www.smith-nephew.com/professional/products/wound-management/remover-products/unisolve-adhesive-remover/

  2. Aschoff, R., Schmitt, J., Knuschke, P., Koch, E., Bräutigam, M., & Meurer, M. (2011). Evaluation of the atrophogenic potential of hydrocortisone 1% cream and pimecrolimus 1% cream in uninvolved forehead skin of patients with atopic dermatitis using optical coherence tomography. Experimental dermatology, 20(10), 832–836. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0625.2011.01335.x

  3. Hydrocortisone topical. (2022). MedlinePlus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682793.html

  4. Siebenhaar, F., Staubach, P., Metz, M., et al. (1997). Efficacy and safety of a new cream formulation of hydrocortisone butyrate 0.1% compared with its vehicle and a commercially available hydrocortisone 1% cream in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Clinical therapeutics, 19(4), 710–719. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0149-2918(97)80095-1

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