Millions of people around the world wear external medical devices and patches: insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors, and pain relieving patches. These devices provide convenience, relief, and can save lives. Unfortunately they sometimes come with the side effect of adhesive-induced irritation. Skin is a sensitive organ and many people find themselves with irritation that can range from mild to quite severe when adhesives are applied to their skin. This is called irritant contact dermatitis and is similar to what happens when the skin encounters an allergen.
Many people suffer from this and many strategies have developed to combat it. Keep reading for some very good news if you are one of them.
Athletes Also Experience Adhesive-Induced Irritation
The problem of adhesive-induced irritation is not limited to users of medical patches and devices. Millions of serious athletes and weekend warriors “tape-up,” sometimes multiple times a day, to protect or prevent further injury to an inflamed area or joint. Trainers routinely apply a strong adhesive spray to make sure the “tape job” holds up to hours in the gym or on the field. Trainers may apply an underwrap to mitigate or minimize skin irritation. Sometimes this works, but many times it does not.
Patches and devices adhere to the skin via a strong adhesive that is exposed after peeling the covering layer. Most people applying and then wearing patches and devices inevitably discover that the supplied adhesive is not sufficient to keep the device firmly attached to the skin for the required time period. The adhesive must resist water, sweat, and grime and most do not hold up to the rigors of everyday life, much less any sort of active lifestyle.
Strategies to Improve Adhesion Often Fail
Use of external bands and wraps to reduce the likelihood of devices being knocked off by physical contact with an object or another person tends to make the skin surface hotter and more moist. To avoid this discomfort, people may add an additional adhesive to their skin.
Ultimately, most patch and device wearers end up using a strong external additional adhesive to make sure the device stays on firmly. This is a great solution for holding the device in place, but when it is removed (and all devices inevitably are) there is redness, irritation, abrasion (excoriation), bruising, raised skin, and pain around the site, especially at the point of any needle insertions. Anyone who has ripped off a bandaid has likely experienced this to a much lesser extent. Problems to the skin are exacerbated if the user picks at the inflamed areas, leading to the itch-scratch-itch cycle of continued inflammation.
Solving Adhesive-Induced Skin Irritation
One way to mitigate the above problems is with an adhesive remover, chemicals that loosen the adhesive at the time of removal. This, however, comes with a risk that the chemical ingredients may cause further irritation and contribute to inflammation, a common reaction.
Another strategy is to coat the inflamed area with rich healing cream. These creams offer relief, but are often messy, getting on other parts of the body through contact, and on clothes (unless covered, which means applying another adhesive). In the event that a typical healing cream is insufficient, then a steroidal on non-steroidal cream can be applied. Note that there are quite a few other issues that come with this over time, such as the loss of effectiveness, expense, and requirement for a doctor’s prescription.
Another strategy is to apply a barrier film on the skin, and then apply an adhesive to this film, but this is frequently complicated by the reduced effectiveness of the adhesive.
Millions of people each year find themselves wondering if there is an alternative to red, irritated skin. The truth is that while medical science has not created a reliable adhesive that does not cause irritation, there is an alternative to having to suffer.
Ideally, the solution would be a safe, natural product that does not require a prescription and can be easily applied topically to the area of irritation. A readily absorbed oil, Delta-5TM is just such a product. When applied immediately upon removal of an adhesive, the likelihood of suffering anything more than the most minor irritation is almost entirely eliminated. This is an inexpensive and easy alternative that is gentle enough to work on children’s skin when a bandaid has to be removed.
Preliminary evidence suggests that Delta-5TM oil will be of great value to anyone who experiences adhesive-induced irritation and inflammation. Check out SciaEssentialsTM Testimonials for examples of improvement. Look for Daigan’s story.