If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, you've learned that skincare can be complex. Diabetic skin is more prone to dryness and infection and is more likely to develop specific skin conditions. Insufficient circulation can also slow down the healing process, as essential nutrients take longer to reach any scratches or cuts. On top of it all, nerve injury from diabetes can sometimes make it difficult for you to feel when your skin needs care, leaving you vulnerable to infection.
If you've been diagnosed with diabetes and need some tips, stay tuned: we'd like to help you get the healthiest skin possible!
Managing your blood sugar can help keep your skin healthy and regulate any problems you may already have. Management strategies include maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your blood pressure in check, and modifying your diet. If you need support, reach out to your primary care physician or endocrinologist to build a plan together that works for you.
Diabetic skin is prone to dry and flaky, leaving you vulnerable to infection. Your first line of protection is going to be a good moisturizer or lotion! Make sure you use it consistently, applying ideally twice a day, preferably right after a shower. After a warm shower, pores widen, priming your skin to make the most of moisturizer. Try not to take too many showers and to limit your time in the shower as this could contribute to dry skin, especially in the cold dry winter months.
Products specific to diabetes are unnecessary but keep an eye on product labels. Products with tons of chemicals can aggravate the skin, so choose hypoallergenic moisturizers. For extra protection, keep a humidifier running in your home during the winter, and keep a lip balm on hand for chapped lips.
Total body examinations yearly by your dermatologist are essential since many studies show a correlation between diabetes and skin cancers. Other risk factors include fair skin, light hair, and eyes, a family history of skin cancers, or a history of prolonged sun or numerous sunburns. The key is catching skin cancer in its early!
While you're cultivating your moisturizing habit, pay special attention to your nails. Both cuticles and snagged nails are vulnerable to infection and fungus, so keep your fingernails short and straight, and rub moisturizer into your cuticles, being sure never to cut them.
If you have a pedicure habit, you may want to reconsider it, especially if neuropathy has already developed in your feet. The danger of infections means that you should really only trust your feet to your podiatrist.
Speaking of your feet - since they're one of the first places neuropathy can manifest, be sure to check them regularly for cracked skin and cuts.
While generally, the rule of diabetes skincare is moisturizing, there are a few spots you'll want to keep dry. The chief area of concern is the skin between your toes. Immediately after a shower, make sure these areas are totally dry, using hypoallergenic baby powder or cornstarch to make sure you get even the smallest amount of moisture. The reason for this kind of vigilance is that the spaces between your toes are at double risk. Any area on your body where the skin rubs together can grow damp and become a breeding ground for bacterial and fungal infections, but since your feet are more prone to developing neuropathy, they deserve extra attention.
If you're struggling with diabetic skin maintenance, contact your dermatologist. A regular dermatologist knows your skin best and can help you decide your next steps specific to your needs. Don't have a dermatologist? Reach out to City Derm and arrange a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist today!