Got diabetes dry skin? Try out these treatments…

photo by CC user Eisfelder at wikimedia

Blood sugar, insulin, strict diets- these are all things that diabetics expect to deal with. But skin disorders? Not so much.

Surprisingly, as many as one-third of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder caused or affected by diabetes at some time in their lives. Potential skin issues include dry skin (which comes from high glucose levels), itching, cracking, and difficulty healing from open wounds. Diabetics also tend to have weakened immune systems, which can lead to bacterial and fungal infections, and rashes, which diabetics may be prone to because of dry skin and infections. In rare cases, diabetics may experience yellow skin as a side effect of insulin use and the fact that it works in a similar way to growth hormones.

To prevent these skin issues, diabetics can make use of basic skincare techniques. Diabetics should bathe daily in warm water using mild soap, avoiding very hot showers and bubble baths, which can dry skin. Using lotion and moisturizer after baths and in cold/windy weather can also battle dry skin, and keep your home more humid during cold, dry winter months can also help. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, can also nourish and strengthen your skin, and drinking plenty of fluids (especially water and sugar-free caffeinated drinks) will help your skin stay hydrated.

Diabetics may also want to build a first aid kit for skin that they can have on hand in case of an unexpected skin issue. This kit might include:

  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Clean petroleum jelly
  • Gauze pads
  • Hypoallergenic tape
  • Prepackaged cleansing fragrance-free towelettes
  • Self-adherent elastic wrap from Coban

Finally, diabetics should remember not to neglect their feet when it comes to skin care. Diabetics often experience blisters, cracked feet, infections, and other skin conditions caused by a lack of circulation or diabetic nerve damage. Help prevent foot problems by seeing your doctor each year for a foot examination that focuses on circulation and sensation.