Tips to Care for Your Skin in Diabetes
According to statistics, one in three diabetic patients develop skin problems associated with their condition. There are a lot of factors for diabetes related skin-problems with poor blood circulation as a result of damaged blood vessels as well as dry skin caused by high blood sugar levels being the major causes.
Some people with diabetes might also get skin issues due to the pricks and jabs from the blood sugar testing kits at home or from insulin injections. When you have diabetes, it is important to pay careful attention to the needs of your body.
No issue is too small when you have a chronic disease as you can never be sure as to what’s causing it. To understand how to care for your skin in diabetes, let’s first get to know the dangers surrounding it.
Nerve damage caused by diabetes makes it difficult for you to notice any skin problems including extra dryness, infections or wounds. At the same time, the reduced blood flow due to damaged blood vessels can cause itching, warts or ulcers that are slow to heal potentially resulting in serious complications.
Another reason why you are more prone to get skin issues is because when you have diabetes, your body tries to get rid of some of the excessive glucose in the blood through urine.
As a result, your body loses more water depriving the skin of moisture and essential fluids that are required to keep it healthy and infection free. Dry skin is prone to cracks and opens doors for bacterial and fungal infections that may take time to heal.
Here are a few simple ways to take care of your skin that can help you avoid these issues:
- Keep your blood sugar levels in check: The first advice to fight any diabetes related complications is to make sure that you keep your blood sugar levels at the target levels as much as possible. Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level can help you avoid any diabetes-related skin problems.
- Scan for signs: Use shower time to look for any signs of redness, irritation or wounds on your skin. Examine concealed spots more carefully including under arms, between legs or toes. Nerve damage causes alteration in the skin and brain’s messaging to let you feel pain and let a potential infection go unnoticed.
- Clean and dry: Maintain proper hygiene. Wash up everyday with warm water preferably with an unscented, moisturizing soap that suits your skin. Dry your skin with gentle pats with a clean towel and make sure not to leave any spots wet.
- Do not soak: Soaking can cause dry skin and cracks so it is recommended that you do not use warm soaks. Even while showering, avoid hot water and restrict your bath time to not more than 10 to 15 minutes, as long exposure can deprive the skin of oils and make it even drier.
- Moisturize in moderation: Apply lotion after bathing and don’t miss out on areas prone to dryness such as your elbows, knees and heels. Remember, applying too much lotion can also open doors for germs so be careful with the quantity and avoid moisturizing areas between the toes or in skin folds, where extra moisture can accumulate.
- Water yourself: Drink lots of water and fluids to keep your skin healthy. Hydration can also help you maintain your blood sugar levels so make sure you carry a water bottle with you at all times.
- Avoid tight clothing: Wear loose clothing to let your skin breathe. Go for materials like cotton, that allow air to move around your body to avoid excessive sweating.
- Winter care: Cold months can be tough on your skin and cause excessive dryness. When indoors, use a humidifier to moisten the heated air and wear warm gloves, boots whenever you leave the house. Apply lip balm to chapped lips and don’t forget to carry a lotion or a moisturiser.
- Sun protection: Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or more and wear a hat. This will protect your skin from getting any burns and blisters that can lead to infections.
- Consult your doctor: Treat any cuts or wounds immediately to avoid the spread of infections. Ask your doctor about the kind of products you can use to protect your skin as well as treat minor wounds.
Even though it might feel like you can overlook minor issues, remember that with a life-long illness like diabetes, the only way to avoid serious complications is taking precaution. Never ignore something even as minor as an ingrown nail.
Watch what you’re exposing your skin to and the effects it can have added with your condition. Eat what’s right for your skin, exercise regularly and follow these tips for a problem-free skin in diabetes!