As the sultry days of summer slip away and the fall chill sets in, people with diabetes might feel the effects of the season on their skin. Itchy, dry skin can become a problem especially with diabetes and even be a sign of other health issues. Discover 4 skin tips and products to help fall season skin issues.
- Keeping your skin clean, dry and moisturized when you have diabetes can help you prevent itchy, dry skin that can lead to infections and other problems. People with diabetic neuropathy can be particularly susceptible to getting dry skin.
- Wash your skin with a gentle soap and warm water; avoid hot water that can dry out your skin. Try soap with moisturizers and stay away from deodorant or exfoliating soaps that can further dry the skin. Consider affordable moisturizing soaps, such as Dove and Oil of Olay, which are easy to find at any local grocery store or pharmacy. You can also look for natural soaps with ingredients such as aloe vera, Shea butter, cocoa butter and almond oil. If you have trouble reaching your back or other spots, use the Mabis DMI Reachers Long-Handled Bath Sponge with a Soap Holder. Rinse the soap off your body completely. Dry every nook and cranny of your body with a soft, cotton towel and avoid rubbing your skin too hard. Apply a moisturizer to your entire body, avoiding the areas between your toes. Eucerin Diabetic Dry Skin Relief Body Lotion is a good choice to keep your skin soft and supple throughout the cold fall months. Look for lotions that are artificial color and fragrance free. If you perspire heavily, try using cornstarch powder in skin folds, armpits or groins instead of talcum powder which can be irritating.
- Pay special attention to the skin on your feet. Avoid soaking your feet, as this softens them and makes them more susceptible to injury. Wash your feet daily with gentle soap and warm water and dry them carefully. Consider using Eucerin Diabetic Dry Skin Relief Foot Cream. Look for sores, blister or other irregularities that should be reported to your doctor. Take your socks off during routine medical exams and have your doctor check your feet. Cut your toenails straight across or have a podiatrist do it for you. Never attempt to cut off rough skin patches, corns or callouses. Gently rub them with a soft pumice stone or go to a podiatrist to have them removed. Always wear breathable socks without seams, such as Dr. Scholl’s diabetes socks. Have your feet measured and wear breathable shoes that fit properly, such as ones made from leather or canvas. Stay away from open shoes, high heels, and flip flops. Wear sturdy slippers at home and water shoes at the beach or pool to ensure your feet are always covered. Before you put on your shoes, look for irritants such as pebbles or sand and remove them. If your feet perspire or have an unpleasant odor, try sprinkling a dash of Gold Bond Powder inside your shoes before you put them on.
- Take care of your skin from the inside out. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, such as water and sugar-free, caffeine-free beverages. Avoid drinks with empty calories, including regular soda and sugar-laden fruit punches. Keep your glucose levels close to normal by checking your blood sugar regularly and taking all medications and insulin as prescribed. Control high blood pressure which improves your circulation for healthier skin. Eat foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, walnuts and tofu.
- Adopt healthy skin care habits. If you smoke, it is time to quit as smoking can lead to dry skin. Wear gloves when you garden or go outside in the cold fall weather. Reduce itching by using a moisturizer regularly especially when skin is still damp from a shower or bath. Avoid scratching as this can lead to small cracks in your skin that could admit bacteria and infection. If you have a persistent skin condition that lasts for more than a few days, visit your doctor or dermatologist.
As you bid farewell to the summer and welcome the fall, remember to take good care of your skin. Keep your skin clean, dry, and moisturized. With a little extra attention and some great products, you can have healthy skin throughout the fall season.