People who suffer with diabetes also tend to suffer from chronically dry skin, especially when blood sugar levels are elevated. High blood sugar levels cause the body to lose fluids and thus, the skin becomes dry. The American Diabetes Association reports that as much as one-third of diabetics develop skin disease brought on or exacerbated by their diabetes. The nerve damage and other bodily imbalances that result from diabetes make diabetics prone to developing skin conditions. However, the diagnosis of these related skin conditions often leads doctors to the discovery that a patient has diabetes. Keeping skin moist is probably the most basic way to avoid dry skin and other skin problems with diabetes, but great care ought to be taken to recognize, treat, and prevent skin conditions associated with diabetes.
Common diabetes skin complications include:
Itchy Skin Patches: Diabetics usually experience dry, itchy skin, especially on lower legs. This is generally a result of dryness due to dehydration and poor circulation. The nerve damage that often develops in diabetes sufferers prevents the skin from producing adequate sweat, which acts as a natural moisturizer when skin gets hot and dry. Also, scratching dry skin can actually break the skin, producing small cuts, which attract bacteria and infection. NOTE: taking longer to heal
Diabetic dermopathy: Presenting as light brown scaly patches on the shins and legs, diabetic dermopathy (DD) is the most common skin disorder related to diabetes. Diabetic dermopathy presents mostly in people over fifty, and affects twice as many men as it does women. Although diabetic dermopathy doesn’t itself cause harm to the body, it is usually a sign of other health complications, including coronary heart disease.
Atherosclerosis: This narrowing of the arteries can cause very serious problems in the body, and warning signs begin in the skin. Atherosclerosis makes the skin, especially on the legs, get thin and hairless. The slowing of blood circulation can also cause wounds to heal more slowly, allowing infection, possibly even gangrene, to build up.
Here are some healthy skin tips to assist you in managing your skin with diabetes:
- Keep skin hydrated with oil-free skin-lasting! Diabetics have to keep their skin hydrated and supple BUT it also has to be dry – hard to do with oily moisturizers. Skin-lasting leaves no oily residue and gives a smooth finish to naturally hydrated skin with a spray-on delivery system that makes it easy to apply. Lanolin, petroleum, or oil-based products don’t have lasting or longer relief; you have to reapply often and it is difficult to thoroughly reach those hard-to-reach places.
- Frequently examine your skin for sores, bruises, soreness, or other signs, especially on your lower legs and feet, and report anything unusual you find to your doctor.
- Shower or bathe using only olive oil, oatmeal, or glycerin based soaps and thoroughly pat your skin dry, being careful to dry in and under folds of skin and other hard-to-reach places like between the toes.
- Cool off those hot baths or showers; they can dry your skin, try lowering the temperature a little.
- Make sure your water is as soft and pure as possible by using chlorine removal shower heads.
- Don’t scratch that itch! Scratching breaks the skin when it is dry, which can easily lead to infection.
- Avoid the use of womanly hygiene sprays.
- Avoid soaking your feet. Soaking your feet makes the skin extra soft and vulnerable, making it easier to cut or pierce the skin. Unless it is prior to cutting toe nails to make the nail easier to cut.
- Have your physician take examine your feet at least twice a year.
- Wear gardening or work gloves to protect your hands and always wear shoes to protect your feet when outside.
- Clean and treat cuts immediately, covering them with appropriate bandages.
- If you have high cholesterol, be sure to take your prescribed medications or diet. Improving your blood circulation through cholesterol control can improve the health of your skin, too.
- Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated especially filtered water unless your physician has instructed you otherwise.
- Eat foods loaded with omega-3 essential fatty acids, which nourish skin This can include fish like salmon, sardines, albacore tuna and mackerel, or even tofu or other types of soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed and their oils.
- Don’t forget to get proper Vitamin D, either through sunlight or supplements.
Diabetes affects more than just your pancreas; it affects your entire body, including your skin. If you are aware of your body and you follow your health regimen, you should be able to stay on top of skin issues that develop as a result of diabetes. Use skin-lasting to keep your skin hydrated and supple without trapping oil or other unwanted moisture between folds of skin, and improve the overall condition of your skin over time.