Freestyle Libre: allergies and skin reactions



This happened to my daughter. She has been using the Libre for one year and then out of nowhere she started having a bad reaction to the adhesive. We have tried putting on cortisone cream before inserting the sensor, but it has not helped much. I think we will try Flonase next. She’s very sad about it.

Freestyle Libre in the US: 10-day vs 14-day sensor comparison

I do, myself, use a generic flonase spray as part of my installation routine. Hard to know if it is actually helping, at this stage of use, since I’ve not shown any adverse reactions yet.

I am preemptively using the following installation process:

Shave the intended area with moisturizing shave gel to remove any/all hair.
Let dry.
Clean the area with 91% isopropyl alcohol.
Let dry.
Clean the area with 91% isopropyl alcohol again.
Let dry.
Apply fluticasone spray to the area.
Let dry.
Apply fluticasone spray to the area again.
Let dry.
Apply SkinTac to the area.
Let dry.
Apply SkinTac to the area again.
Let dry.
Prepare the sensor for installation (finally!)
Flex the intended installation area, and install the sensor, pressing firmly for approximately 30 seconds.
Remove the insertion device (it will tend to stick to the SkinTac)
Apply either a SimPatch or Rocktape covering.
Wait at least 12 hours before activating.

Note that “let dry” may be, and frequently is, expedited by use of a hand held hair dryer, set on low. I even pre-warm the SimPatch or RockTape before application.

I do get random itching sensations from time to time, with every sensor I have used so far, but, (knock on wood) the only thing I’ve had to deal with is removing adhesive/SkinTac residue.
I do apply a small dot style bandaid over the old insertion point, with a dab of triple antibiotic, for about 3 days after removing a sensor.

I do think that many of the solutions used by the Dexcom users are the same ones the Libre users are using to address adhesive reactions. Those approaches seem to be as varied as the people who are trying to solve this dilemma. As are the results.
I do hope that you find a solution that works for your daughter. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to get used to scanning your glucose levels for a year and then having an adhesive reaction throw a kink in the works. Some of the pictures I have seen have been downright scary


@DaveJ, that is a pretty strong process you are using to prevent allergic reactions. That should take care of a lot of potential issues.

Be aware that some people have reacted to the alcohol. Those often replace the alcohol by lukewarm water and gentle antiallergenic soap. There are other solutions out there, such as teatree oil etc.

@Lisa, sorry about your daughter! If you have a look at the link posted above about Dexcom allergies, I hope there is something she can use there. Wishing her a lot of good luck!


Thanks @DaveJ for all of that info. I am glad that your process is working for you and I hope that you never have a reaction to the adhesive. We actually changed a sensor yesterday and her skin was red, but a lot less raw than it was, so I think that the cortisone may be doing something. So we tried the cortisone again and we’ll see how it turns out. If not we’ll move to Flonase or Benadryl spray.


@Michel, thanks. Yes, I did read the post on Dexcom allergies and it was very helpful. If her problems persist then we will go through the list and try different things until we come up with a formula that works.


@DaveJ, for the sake of allowing people to find solutions quickly through google search, it might be worth putting together a specific wiki thread on Frewestyle Libre allergies, by having a more specific first post and largely duplicating (where applicable) the rest of the knowledge base from the Dexcom and Omnipod allergy threads.

You have done a lot of research on Freestyle Libre allergies. Do you have specific info about them (ie different from Dexcom/Omnipod) we could use to build a first wiki post for such a thread?



To be honest, all of the allergy related info I’ve discussed thus far has been from anecdotal reports from others gleaned from a wide variety of sources. I’ve not personally had any experiences with allergic reactions, and my efforts fall totally in a theoretical prophylactic approach to attempting to forestall/prevent allergic reaction, in as much as it is possible for me to do so.

But the very nature of allergic reaction is how truly PERSONAL it is. What works smashingly for me may indeed send someone else straight to the Emergency Center for immediate treatment.

What I can, and will say, is that from everything I have seen, the efforts used by users of both devices are consistent with each other, as are the resulting variation in successful remedies discovered.

If pressed for a possible reason, I would conjecture that, given the current nature of pharmaceutical manufacturing, there is a high probability of shared ingredient usage in both adhesive formulations between the two companies.

As someone else pointed out, by it’s very nature, any adhesive that will adhere to human skin for 2 weeks, survive bathing & swimming, as well as perspiration and a reasonably wide range of temperature variation, has to be at LEAST somewhat chemically aggressive, or else it wouldn’t last more than a day or two, and would be more like Band-Aid adhesive instead.

All that being said, I am more than willing to lay out a rough start for a “suggested best practices” allergy Wiki for the Libre, based on the information that I am aware of, thus establishing a place for others to share their own attempts, successes, methods, and hopefully, only a few minor failures, to combat allergy issues.


@DaveJ, that’s great!

When we put together the Dexcom wiki, we spent a lot of time going through published personal and discussing. Then we found out that people who had the same problem with Omnipod did not find the Dexcom allergy thread, which has largely the same solutions. So we created a slightly different first post, and mapped the other posts of the wiki thread to the Dexcom thread: the info is 90% the same, but the search triggers will respond to Omnipod, so people will find it.

So, unless you think otherwise, we don’t need to do a lot of extra research for the Libre. If you already are familiar with good Libre allergy threads/ references, what we could do is have a new first post for the Libre, then map all the other material from Dexcom and Omnipod threads into the wiki as well (we used, I think, 5-6 conescutive posts), since almost all of it applies. I’d gladly work on it with you if you want. Or, if you want to do a totally different wiki just for the Libre, that would work too!


Read this on diatribe

If you get adhesive allergies, try spraying Flonase on the skin before inserting the sensor. Others like educator Gary Scheiner recommend applying a Band-Aid Tough Pad to the skin first, then inserting the sensor right through it.


Others use a small Tegaderm on the skin, and stick the sensor the the Tegaderm.