Skin Care for Diabetics
Diabetes can affect every part of the body, including the
many as one third of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder caused or
affected by diabetes at some time in their lives. In fact, such problems are
sometimes the first sign that a person has diabetes. Luckily, most skin
conditions can be prevented or easily treated if caught early.
Some of these problems are skin conditions anyone can have, but people with
diabetes get more easily. These include bacterial infections, fungal infections,
and itching. Other skin problems happen mostly or only to people with diabetes.
These include diabetic
Diabetes can hurt your skin in two ways:
If your blood glucose is high, your body loses fluid. With less fluid in
your body, your skin can get
skin can be itchy, causing you to scratch and make it sore. Also, dry skin can
crack. Cracks allow germs to enter and cause infection. If your blood glucose
is high, it feeds germs and makes
infections worse. Skin can get dry on your legs,
elbows, and other places on your body.
Nerve damage can decrease the amount you sweat. Sweating helps keep your
skin soft and moist. Decreased sweating in your feet and legs can cause dry
Tips to take care of your skin:
There are several things you can do to head off skin problems:
clean and dry. Check places where water can hide, such as under the arms,
under the breasts, between the legs, and between the toes. Use talcum powder
in areas where skin touches skin, such as armpits and groin.
your feet. Check them every day for sores and cuts. Wear broad, flat
shoes that fit well. Check your shoes for foreign objects before putting
Avoid very hot baths and showers. If your skin is dry, don't use bubble
Moisturizing soaps may help. Afterward, use a standard skin lotion, but
don't put lotions between toes. The extra
moisture there can encourage fungus to grow.
Prevent dry skin. Scratching dry or itchy skin can open it up and allow
infection to set in. Moisturize your skin to prevent chapping, especially in
cold or windy weather. Also, drink lots of fluids, such as
water, to keep your skin moist and
Wear all-cotton underwear. Cotton allows air to move around your body
Treat cuts right away. Wash minor cuts with soap and water. Do not use
Mercurochrome antiseptic, alcohol, or iodine to
because they are too harsh. Only use an antibiotic cream or ointment if your
doctor says it's okay. Cover minor cuts with sterile gauze. See a doctor right
away if you get a major cut, burn, or infection.
During cold, dry months, keep your home more humid. Bathe less during this
weather, if possible.
shampoos. Do not use feminine hygiene sprays.
See a dermatologist (skin doctor) about
problems if you are not able to solve them yourself.
diabetes under control is the most important factor in preventing the skin
problems associated with diabetes. Follow your health care provider's advice
medication. Keep your blood glucose level within the range recommended by your
skin care can also help reduce your risk of skin problems with diabetes.