Injection tips

Learn the proper way to inject with a pen or insulin syringe

Whether you use a pen or an insulin syringe, proper injection technique is critical to good diabetes management.1

Skin lift technique

Learn how to use a skin lift technique when you inject

Depending on the length of your needle and your body type, you may or may not need to use a skin lift technique when you inject. Use the following table as a general guide, but you should always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Injections should be administered in adults at a 90° angle (straight in) to the skin surface.2  
A skin lift may be warranted to prevent an intramuscular (IM) injection in a slim limb or abdomen, even when a shorter needle is used.2  
A skin lift may not be required, particularly for people who are using a 4-mm needle.2   Injection at a 45° angle may be required in extremely lean adults, if no skin lift is used.2 Injections should be administered into a skin lift at a 90° angle. Lean people should inject into a skin lift at a 45° angle to prevent possible IM injection.2

If you are injecting into a skin lift, practice proper technique to avoid IM injection.

Correct technique

A correct skin lift is made by lifting the skin with the thumb and index finger.2

Incorrect technique

If the skin is lifted using the whole hand, muscle may be lifted as well as subcutaneous (SC) tissue, which can lead to intramuscular injections.1

Products and resources

BD Nano™ 4mm pen needle

Learn how the BD Nano 4mm pen needle is designed for easier and more comfortable injections, for all different body types.

BD insulin syringes

Learn more about the BD insulin syringe with the BD Ultra-Fine™ 6mm needle designed for more comfortable injections.

View resources

Read the latest recommendations from diabetes experts that can help you advance your diabetes management.


* Always check your pen or insulin syringe needle manufacturer’s Instructions-for-Use and your insulin expiration date.

† A 4-mm needle can be inserted at a 90° angle without a skin lift in adolescents and children >6 years of age; children aged 2 to 6 years require a skin lift in order to avoid intramuscular injection. If a child or adolescent is lean, 5-mm and 6-mm needles require a 45° angle injection with a skin lift.2

  1. Frid AH, Kreugel G, Grassi G, et al. New insulin delivery recommendations. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016;91(9):1231-1255.
  2. Berard L, Desrochers F, Hagerty D, MacNeill G, Roscoe R. FIT Forum for Injection Technique Canada: Recommendations for best practice in injection technique (3rd edition). Accessed May 30, 2017.