How to Care for Dry Skin When You Have Diabetes

Everyone can have dry skin, but people who have diabetes tend to be more prone to it. And this especially when one’s blood glucose levels run high.


This is because the body loses fluids quicker and the natural consequence is that is our skin becoming dry.

Dry skin has a tendency to itch and crack, which can ultimately lead to complications, such as an infection. Those with diabetes are also increasing their risks of dry skin if they have neuropathy.

This is due to the fact that the nerves in your feet and legs may not attain the message to sweat. Sweat is crucial for keeping your skin moist and soft.

That’s why regularly moisturizing your skin when you have diabetes can be the best method for avoiding any skin-related problems.


Here are some useful tips.

How To Properly Moisturize

  • Use a mild soap to wash, and always make sure to rinse thoroughly and everywhere. You can apply a moisturizer as well, just not between your toes.
  • Wear lip balm and protect yourself from the elements and other outside factors
  • Try and avoid any hot showers or baths as they are damaging to your skin. Furthermore, if you are constantly exposed to water, then the skin on your feet may become overly-soft and more likely to get pierced.
  • Take the time to check yourself for any blisters, red spots or sores. All of them can lead to infection if they remain unchecked.
  • Also, make sure to keep an eye out for any bumps on the skin of your feet (or any other changes in appearance, for that matter). You can also have your doctor examine them twice a year during your checkup.
  • Any cuts should be treated immediately, no matter how small or insignificant-looking. You can wash the minor ones with mild soap and water.
  • Try and maintain your blood glucose levels as best as you can.
  • Also, make sure to keep check over your blood pressure and cholesterol. The best way is to take prescribed medications which will also maintain your skin’s health by improving your circulation.
  • Hydrate your skin from the inside out by drinking plenty of sugarless and caffeine-free drinks.
  • Consume as much of omega-3 fatty acid foods as you can, such as sardines, salmon, mackerel and even tofu. They do wonders for nourishing your skin.
  • It is common sense to inform your health care provider in case you notice anything amiss with your skin.

When to Inform Your Health Provider

  • A major burn, infection, or cut
  • Any changes in skin appearance which won’t go away
  • Any rash which may develop after you have taken some medication
  • Also, if a rash appears near the place on your body where you receive your insulin injection.

Taking Care of Minor Foot and Skin Issues

Preparing a First-Aid Kit:

  • Gauze pads
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Paper tape or hypoallergenic tape
  • Prepackaged cleansing towels (in case water and soap are unavailable)

Taking Care of Blisters:

  • First off, you should never try to pop a blister. The skin which covers it acts as a natural protection against any infections
  • Use mild soap and water to gently wash the affected area
  • Apply some antibacterial ointment
  • Cover the blister with hypoallergenic bandage or a gauze pad secured with paper or hypoallergenic tape
  • Make sure to change your bandage at least once daily
  • Until your blister has healed, wear a different pair of shoes.

Taking Care of Small Cuts:

  • Wash the affected area using mild soap and lukewarm water
  • Apply some antibacterial ointment
  • Secure the cut with either a gauze pad or a hypoallergenic bandage
  • Change your bandage at least once daily

Treating Mild Skin Irritations:

  • Wash the affected area with mild soap and warmish water
  • Cover it with either a hypoallergenic bandage or gauze pad
  • Make sure to check the area and see if the irritation doesn’t worsen
  • Change your bandage at least once daily

Taking Care of Mild Burns:

  • Don’t try popping any blisters which may have formed
  • Gently wash the burn with mild soap and warmish water
  • Cover the affected area with a gauze pad, secured with hypoallergenic or paper tape
  • Change your bandage at least once daily

When to Contact a Foot Doctor (Podiatrist)

  • In case there is no noticeable improvement a day after treating your minor problem
  • If you have any discomfort or pain which lasts more than 2 days
  • If you have a foot ulcer or develop a fever
  • If you happen to notice any pus appearing near or on the sore
  • If you find it hard to trim your toenails by yourself

Source: Cleveland Clinic | WebMD | Diabetes | Joslin


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