There is an important connection between diabetes and skin. What diabetes skin problems do you need to be aware of? What steps can you take to keep your skin healthy?
Paying close attention to the health of your skin and sticking to a skin care routine become particularly important when you have diabetes. So let’s take a look at six skin care tips that can help you avoid diabetes skin problems.
Examine Your Body After Showering
After a shower, quickly, but thoroughly inspect your body for any signs of redness, dryness, or soreness. It is important to do this after any time you wash so that you can prevent the possibility of infection. While you dry yourself off after washing, check your skin for signs that something might be wrong.
Routinely Apply Moisturizer to Your Skin
Anyone who has had diabetes for a while will tell you that diabetes and itchy skin and diabetes and dry skin tend to go hand in hand. So, once you've done your washing and drying, apply a good quality lotion or other form of moisturizer to your skin. Consider keeping a bottle of lotion by the sink in your bathroom to help you remember to apply it after washing.
To further help you avoid skin problems related to diabetes, avoid any lotions that have fragrances, dyes, or harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin. It’s also a good idea to limit the number of different topical products you use on your skin. Using too many products can increase your risk of having bad skin reactions.
If you aren't sure what kind of moisturizer would be gentle on your skin and beneficial for it, ask your healthcare provider what they would recommend.
Don't Forget to Stay Hydrated
While you want to keep your skin supple and hydrated with a good quality moisturizer, it is even more important to keep your entire body hydrated to avoid diabetes skin problems. Remember to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, particularly water. It helps to invest in a water bottle that you can refill wherever you go and always have water on hand when you are not at home.
Diabetes and Dry Skin When Temperatures Drop
It isn't uncommon for people both with or without diabetes to suffer from dry skin as soon as the weather gets colder. To avoid diabetes skin problems related to dryness, consider investing in a room humidifier to maintain the proper level of moisture in any room that you are heating during the winter season. This will aid in protecting your skin from drying out.
Always Treat Cuts Immediately
One of the biggest issues with diabetes and your skin is the potential for wounds to be difficult to heal. Any time you accidentally cut yourself on something, get the wound treated right away no matter how minor it may seem. When treating it, you don't want to use products like rubbing alcohol, iodine, and antiseptics, as these will be too harsh on the skin. Instead, ask your healthcare provider for ideas on the best topical ointments or antibiotic creams that you can use to apply to the wound.
Shield Your Skin From Too Much Sun Exposure
Skin problems associated with diabetes can also be compounded by exposure to the sun. Especially during the spring and summer seasons when you will be spending more time outdoors, don't forget to arm yourself with some SPF (30 or higher is best) and wear the proper clothing to protect your skin. The more your skin is covered, the better, and don’t forget to shade your face with a hat.
It is also important to protect your skin when you are outdoors in the winter months because sun damage can occur any time of the year. When temperatures plummet, don't leave the house without taking extra precautions, such as wearing a hat, gloves, and boots to keep your skin safe.
More Helpful Tips on Avoiding Diabetes Skin Problems
For more helpful tips on diabetes and skin problems, check out these resources:
- Good Skin Care and Diabetes from Joslin Diabetes Center
- Skin Care Tips from the American Diabetes Association
- Diabetes: A Skin Care How-To from WebMD
- Skin Care for People With Diabetes from Cleveland Clinic
Care Coordination and Other Help With Diabetes
Our care coordination services include 24/7/365 telephone and online access to clinical Health Assistants who can answer healthcare questions, help you follow through on your doctor’s instructions, research more cost-effective options for your diabetes medications and other prescriptions, and connect you with diabetes support resources and important preventive care.