Diabetes mellitus is a chronic and systemic condition characterized by an increase in blood sugar level and severe multi-organ complications affecting the retina, kidney and peripheral nerves. The skin of diabetic patients is also frequently affected by the disease. Reported figures indicate that about 1/3 to nearly all diabetic patients experience skin complications. The most severe skin lesions are chronic ulcers that form as a consequence of the poor healing potential of diabetic skin. These can frequently become infected, thus leading to amputation. Preventing any skin complications in diabetes is very important through some simple tips.
1. Control your diabetes
Keep your diabetes under control. Strive to follow your healthcare provider’s advice about nutrition, exercise, and medication. Keep your blood glucose level within the range recommended by your health care provider. Even if you have already experienced skin complications, you can stop them from getting worse.
2. Wash with care
When bathing or showering, use lukewarm water and a mild, moisture-containing soap and shampoos. Wrong skin care products can increase skin dryness. Keep your skinfold area such as armpits, toes, under the breast and groin clean and dry by patting, not rubbing. If you have sensitive skin, try to avoid deodorant or scented cleansers.
3. Moisturize well
For a diabetic patient, itchy skin due to dryness can be a concern. Skin that’s too dry is prone to crack, itch, and is susceptible to infection. Moisturize gently with suitable skin care products especially right after a shower or bath, when it’s still moist.
Moisturizing will not only calm your dry skin but will also reduce the urge to scratch. Although dry, itchy skin can be uncomfortable, try to avoid scratching as this can lead to damaged skin. Pay more attention to the feet as it can be prone to dryness. Moisturize it regularly to help prevent dry, cracked feet, which can lead to itchiness.
4. Avoid irritant
Ill-fitting shoes can increase the risk of skin problems on the feet. It can lead to sores, blisters, calluses, or ulcers. Wear appropriate shoes and consult your doctor or podiatrist for advice on specific footwear and shoe inserts available for diabetics.
Be more thoughtful about the clothes you wear and the detergent you use to wash them. Wearing rough, scratchy materials could aggravate dry skin. Choose loose-fitting clothing made of smooth-textured fabrics like cotton to help reduce irritation. Opt for mild, fragrance-free laundry detergent to wash your clothes.
5. Avoid water loss
Keep your home humid during dry season through the use of a humidifier. Keep yourself hydrated and avoid being exposed to the sun or air conditioner for a long period as it may dry out your skin.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: January 7, 2019 | Last Modified: November 29, 2019
Fabio Quondamatteo, ‘Skin and Diabetes Mellitus: What Do We Know?’, Cell and Tissue Research 355, no. 1 (January 2014): 1–21.