Diabetes & Skin Problems
sugar levels can affect your skin in several ways:
body loses fluids by making you urinate more
often. This loss of fluids (dehydration) can
make your skin dry.
Diabetes can damage nerves that make your body
sweat less, particularly in the legs and feet.
Your skin relies on sweat to keep it moist - the
loss of sweat can make it dry. Dry skin cracks
easily, letting germs enter.
Diabetes can cause blood vessels to become
damaged (narrowed), resulting in poor blood
flow. When blood flow is poor, an injured area
cannot get enough oxygen and food to heal.
diabetes, your body's natural defenses are
weakened. White blood cells that fight germs are
fewer in number and work more slowly. This makes
you more prone to infection. Breaks in the skin
can become easily infected, spread faster, be
harder to treat, and take longer to heal.
frequently have high blood sugar levels, you may
notice your skin is extra dry, itchy, cracked or
you may have rashes, boils, pimples or other
Your Doctor Immediately If You Notice Any Of The
diabetes are prone to getting many different skin
conditions. Here are a few of the most common.
Skin. People with
diabetes commonly have thickening of the skin
with a yellow waxy appearance. This condition
may decrease joint mobility. Improving blood
sugar control may help, but there is no known
treatment or cure.
Dermopathy. Diabetic dermopathy is the most common skin sign of
diabetes. This condition results in small, round
colored spots on the lower leg. These spots are
more common in older men with diabetes. No
treatment is necessary.
Skin. Yellowish skin,
fingernails and toenails are common among people
with diabetes. Yellow-tinted skin may be the
result of eating a lot of yellow or orange
vegetables containing carotene. The cause of
yellowing fingernails and toenails isn't known.
No specific treatment is necessary for any of
Skin. Itchy skin may
have several causes. It can often be treated by
using moisturizing or steroid cream. Medication
may sometimes be needed.
Infections. The higher
the level of glucose in the blood, the more
likely a person is to have skin infections.
Yeast infections appear on moist areas of the
body, such as the mouth, under the arms, under
the breasts, or on the sides of the groin.
Bacterial infections can cause skin changes and
include impetigo, abscesses, cellulites, and
several others. Fungal infections may appear
around the groin or between the toes, on the
palms of hands or under fingernails. Fungal
infections aren't more common in people with
diabetes. The two primary ways to stop skin
infections are tight control and limiting
moisture build up in skin folds.
How Can I Keep My Skin Healthy?
You can keep
your skin healthy by following these tips:
mild soap that will not rob your skin of natural
oils or cause irritation. Some deodorant soaps
or those with heavy fragrances can be harsh to
skin. Try a mild cleansing lotion or bar.
warm (not hot) water and limit your use of soaps
or cleansers to parts of your body that sweat.
Always rinse off soaps or cleansers completely.
only 5-10 minutes in water. Soaking in a bath or
shower can cause skin to dry out.
skin dry with a soft towel. Avoid rubbing. Dry
between all skin folds such as armpits and under
breasts. Moisture, warmth and darkness in these
body areas, along with high blood sugars, can
lead to yeast and bacterial infections.
at least eight glasses of water or sugar-free
fluids a day to give your body necessary fluid.
moisturizing lotion to your skin after bathing,
while skin is damp. Do not use cream in skin
folds such as between toes and under breasts.
lotions or creams that contain dyes, additives,
fragrance, and perfume.
Protecting Skin from Sun and Wind
sunscreen lotion with an SPF (sun protection
factor) of 15 before going outdoors.
time in the sun to avoid sunburn and skin
dryness. Remember, a sunburn can affect your
blood sugars and disrupt your control!
layered clothing to protect you from the sun,
cold weather, and wind.
Protect your Skin from Injury
minor breaks in the skin with antibacterial soap
with a non-stick sterile pad.
place with a gauze bandage and paper tape.
use Betadine, iodine, or products containing
alcohol or peroxide, as these can be too strong
use cloth or adhesive tape or plasters directly
on the skin. Skin can be damaged when these are
disturb a blister; it is a natural sterile
protective cover. When it breaks open, care for
it as you would any other break in the skin.
the injured area every day to be sure you are
Caring for Your Feet
the skin on your feet is very important. Skin
problems can appear in this area and be easily
overlooked. Be sure your shoes cover your feet. Open
toe or open heel shoes can cause skin to dry out and
crack. Don't use commercial corn or callus products
as these can cause a chemical burn. Avoid using a
pumice stone on your feet. It can cause problems,
especially if you have no feeling in your feet.
Call Your Doctor Immediately If You Notice Any Of
dry, itchy, cracked skin
that is red, swollen, feels warm or hot, has pus
or bad-smelling drainage
or scratch that does not heal
Treatment for Diabetic Skin Problems
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