Doctors, nurses, Registered Dietitians and Certified Diabetes Educators all work as a team to bring Type 1 Diabetics as much education as possible about this disease. Even with their accumulative knowledge, they still can't tell us everything. These professionals might be able to tell us what to set our basal rates to and what kind of breakfast to have in the morning but they can't tell us where the sites are more comfortable so the wire doesn't get wrapped around your bra ten times over or the best lancing devices to use to prevent scarring (I should say that some of these professionals might be able to provide this information because they too are diabetics but in my 16 years of T1D, I've ran into very few who are).
So I wanted to fill the gaps and give my readers an insight into what medical tapes I found to secure my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) to different parts of my body, something the professionals can't. I reviewed four different tapes, trying each tape a couple times in order to fully grasp whether or not the tape fully grasped (see what I did there?) my CGM and made my daily life as a half-cyborg comfortable.
Click on the name of the tape or on the picture to be directed to their website so you can purchase your own!
I want to emphasize that my main concern was finding a tape that held on for the full life of my CGM (6 days) without the edges peeling up and sticking to clothes or becoming loose in any way. I've been lucky enough to never worry about rashes or skin irritation. I've never had a reaction to laundry detergent, make-up or skin care so I wasn't concerned with that happening with medical tape. If you do struggle with sensitive skin, I advise you to try sampling the tape if possible or e-mailing the company about possible irritants.
Right off the bat StayPut™ Med was accommodating to my hesitance before trying their tape. Ordering and purchasing a package of say 20+ tape can be overwhelming when you don’t know if the tape will last, or be kind to your skin. StayPut™ Med makes trying a sample of their tape super easy with the “REQUEST A SAMPLE” button on the navigation bar of their home page.
The overlay tape came within two days of requesting a sample and arrived with instructions on how to peel their tape off the paper and place onto the skin. At first I questioned why an adhesive tape needed instructions, but then I realized that because of the great strength of this tape, if it's not put on correctly and needs to be taken off, there's no reapplying. Luckily, getting the tape ready and putting it on wasn’t difficult so I didn’t need to worry about taking it off and trying again.
StayPut™ overlay tape was my absolute favorite tape. Their overlay tape not only held on for the 6 days but wasn’t hard to take off. Whenever tapes hold on SO well, there’s always that question in the back of my mind asking, well how many layers of skin is this bad boy going to peel off when I need to change it? I also like to put my CGM on sensitive parts of my body where the skin is thinner, this is only because I find those spots to work best. So I was worried what my skin would look like after being under this extremely well working medical tape for 6 days. The tape peeled off smoothly and didn’t leave a rash or residue!
Review: I give the StayPut™ overlay tape 4.5/5 stars. I would give it 5 stars if they had a better selection of colors or designs. This isn’t a problem that should deter anybody from purchasing their tape, but I do have my CGM visible most of the time and I like when the tape has a little something fun to it!
Okay, the inner shopper in me was so giddy when I was browsing the Expression Med site. The patterns of their tape are so dang pretty, I wanted one for every outfit. If you’re going to Hawaii soon, they have some tropical styles, or if you’re heading to your first music festival, they have ~free spirited~ designs. But really, if you need stocking stuffers for the Type 1 Diabetic in your life or need some retail therapy after a day of high Blood Glucose (BG) levels, this is the medical tape for you.
This medical tape company started in 2015 (just three short years ago!) So they are still in the works for tape to fit all the CGM and pump devices in use. Right now, they are limited to Dexcom cut-outs. I was still eager to try out their tape because even with a long rectangular cut out, the tape should still be able to hold onto the sides of my seashell shaped Medtronic Guardian Link CGM.
The rectangular cut-out in the tape did an excellent job of holding my CGM onto my stomach. The tape they sent me was a white background with a dragon pattern, which made me look pretty badass if I do say so myself. The tape lasted the full 6 days, leaving no redness or irritation!
Review: This tape gets 4/5 stars from me. The lack of one star is only because of the availability of tape with a cutout for the Medtronic Guardian Link but their website says that they are working on this! Their beautiful and unique patterns definitely make me excited to order more tape even if it’s with the Dexcom cut-out.
SIMPATCH was the last tape that I tried. They have a website that allows you to order a pack of 25 coverings for $17.75 if you’re an Amazon Prime member! This discount saves you about $2.00 and with Amazon Prime you can get super fast shipping at no cost. Fast shipping is important to me for when I run out of tape and know I’m changing my sensor the next day.
These tapes are very simple, no patterns or designs, just straight to the point. The four colors include tan, pink, black, and purple. Using Amazon, I ordered a 25 pack of black adhesives with no cut-out. Having no cut-out allows me the option to cut my own cut out for my sensor or just leave it to fully cover my CGM. I was a little too lazy to cut out anything fun, but I’d say if you got creative you could do a lot with these blank canvases.
I used SIMPATCH two sensors in a row. This tape did not budge at all but was also a little painful to remove. This could be a positive or negative depending on your lifestyle. I’d say if you were extremely active, say surfing everyday or hiking through the mountains, a sturdy tape like this is perfect. My lazy butt wasn’t doing anything more than pilates when wearing this tape and didn’t find the edges to budge at all. I tried two different areas when using this tape to test out the sensitivity. The first time was on the back of my arm where the skin is a little rougher and then the second time, the inside of my arm (a fave spot of mine) and both times the tape stung when I removed it. No marks were left and no rash occurred, so I do see myself finishing the 25 pack that I purchased.
Review: I give this tape 3.5/5 stars. The tape held on and totally did it’s job but I wish there were more shapes and smaller packs available. I think I would’ve preferred a 5 packs instead of 5x that amount. I also am a little nervous about the pain of removing it on somewhere sensitive like my stomach.
4. Grif Grips
Grif Grips was started by the parents of a boy who was diagnosed when he was 9 years old, which gives this product a lot more depth. This isn’t a company trying to make money off the diabetic niche who utilizes such products to keep their devices on, and doesn’t really understand what kind of product we need and why. Grif Grip’s tape comes out of trying to make lives better for us as Type 1 Diabetics. This plays into why a lot of their tapes have personalities, for example, I purchased the Cherry Blossom design because I felt this matched better with my mostly floral wardrobe.
As I first explored through their site to learn this information, and I was SO excited. The best part was that for the price of $5 I received 5 tapes of two different colors! I also loved the perfect sized hole in the middle of the cherry blossom that allowed for the CGM to peek through. Some other tapes that hold the Medtronic Guardian Link hold around the CGM which allows the underneath of the sensor to get caught on things.
But the first time I tried Grif Grips, I was so sad to see that the tape was hanging on for dear life the full 6 days of me wearing my Continuous Glucose Monitor. I put the tape on post-shower and pre-lotion and on the outside of my thigh. By the end of the day and after taking pants on and off, I noticed that the tape didn’t feel as secure as I wanted. After one shower, the edges began to peel up around the flower petal’s edges and also turned a darker color from the debris from my clothes lining.
The second time I tried Grif Grips, the tape held onto the top of my thigh for four days before peeling up. That’s about 4 showers and 3 workouts for me but still not enough to ensure a full six days of stickiness. The weird thing about this second-go was that I put the tape on after lathering my legs in sunblock, which you would think would prevent the tape from sticking at all. I don’t recommend doing this and I’m not saying that this helped the tape hold on, but it was weird and a little frustrating how unpredictable this tape seemed to be.
Review: I give this tape 3/5 stars. The designs, mission and cost are all ideal but I was truly disappointed in the ability to keep my CGM in place for a 6 day span.