For people with diabetes Skin care is essential as they are more likely to suffer from dry skin. A healthy skin is a challenge in Canada with its long winters and homes, shopping malls and offices that are often over heated. Dryness and flaking is common and it’s especially important to guard against cracking which can cause infections to invade leading to blisters and sometimes ulcerations. Your skin is your protective barrier and taking the time and effort to keep it healthy is critical.
Controlling your blood glucose is key to keeping your skin healthy so target for a healthy blood glucose level and controlled HbA1C. Persistent high blood glucose levels can leave your skin dehydrated. Dry skin is itchy and scratching it can cause more damage. Dry skin also can become cracked and sore, opening the path to infection. Uncontrolled blood glucose levels can lead to diabetic neuropathy. Furthermore high blood glucose levels can make it more difficult to prevent and heal skin infections.
Here are some tips for preventing dry skin.
- Bathe or shower in warm water. Hot water can dry out the skin.
- Pat or blot the skin dry with a soft towel, leaving some moisture on the skin.
- Limit time to 10 to 15 minutes in the bath or shower.
- Take this time to check your skin for irritation, redness, cuts or sores and make sure they are treated.
- Use mild soaps and avoid deodorant soaps.
- Use moisturizers that help soften the skin and keep it moist while preventing itching.
- Apply the moisturizer to the skin immediately after bathing.
- Be careful not to apply lotions or moisturizers between toes or in skin folds. The extra lotion can add to a breakdown in the skin and the possibility of a fungal infection.
- Use a home humidifier during cold months and in dry climates.
- Wear gloves when working outdoors.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 every day to all areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun. The sun is responsible for a lot of damage done to the skin—causing wrinkles, rashes, and blisters, and it can worsen other types of dermatological reactions.
As always prevention is better than cure so taking the time to take care of your skin will lessen the risk of complications.