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Diabetes and Skin Care

 

There are two ways that diabetes can hurt the largest organ of the human body, the skin. When blood glucose levels are high, it causes the body to lose fluid. As fluid leaves the body, skin can become dry, and itchy. Because of the discomfort of itchy skin, diabetic patients can scratch at it, causing breaks in the skin and potentially creating skin sores. Additionally, dry skin can crack, which can create openings for germs and bacteria to enter, causing infections. Because high blood glucose feeds germs, it can compound the harm caused by infections.

Nerve damage caused by diabetic neuropathy can also decrease sweating in the body. Sweating helps to keep the skin soft, and decreased sweating can cause dry skin on the feet and lower extremities. As poor wound healing is a symptom of diabetes, having open wounds on the feet is a cause for concern.

After washing in the shower or bath with a mild soap, care must be taken to rinse thoroughly, and dry yourself well. Patting yourself dry has less potential to irritate skin than rubbing, and be sure to check places where water can hide, such as under skin folds, between the legs and toes, and other places.

To aid in keeping your skin hydrated, discuss options for a lotion or cream to use with your doctor. They should be able to recommend a product to use, as well as how often to use it. Make sure to drink plenty of water and other hydrating fluids throughout the day as well, to aid in keeping your skin moist and healthy.