If you have type 2 diabetes, you know that taking care of your skin is very important.
Here's the thing: Diabetics face a double danger. Nerve damage can lead to numb, injury prone hands and feet, while poor circulation and elevated blood sugar can slow down wound healing and increase infection risk!
One-third of diabetics develop a skin problem directly related to their condition. To avoid these problems, you must incorporate a daily skincare routine into your life.
But it's not that easy. And that's why today, we're sharing tips to help you keep your skin in tip top shape!
Seven skincare tips for diabetics
High blood sugar
is dangerous for many reasons. However, it can also dry out and crack your skin. This opens the door to infections. And if you do get an infection, high blood sugar will make it hard to fight it.
Katherine Fiala from Scott & White Clinic in Texas says that getting your diabetes
in check is the first step. “If you do that first, everything else is so much easier,” she says.
As a diabetic, you’re also at risk of high blood pressure
. This can affect your skin as much as any other part of your body. Earlexia Norwood from the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in Michigan explains that skin is the largest organ of your body, and therefore everything that affects your health affects it.
Take your blood pressure medication and try to exercise
regularly. This will lower your blood pressure and blood sugar. “As a result it’ll increase blood flow to your skin, allowing it to stay alive and healthy,” Norwood says.
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#3: Avoid very hot water
A hot bath or shower feels good at times, but hot water is a bad idea because it can dry your skin out. Never let the water temperature exceed 45 degrees Celsius and never stay in a bath or shower for more than 10 or 15 minutes, Norwood suggests.
Burns from hot water are also common and may cause numbness. Ensure you test the water first with your forearm before climbing in. You can also use a thermometer available in the baby section of any pharmacy.
#4: Moisturise regularly
A regular moisturising routine will go a long way to prevent dry skin! Target areas prone to drying and chapping, such as your legs, arms and back. Try a diabetes-specific moisturiser (there are lots on the market). Otherwise a normal non-fragranced body lotion will do.
Coconut oil is another great product to use to lock in moisture. It’s a great natural alternative that’ll work wonders for your skin during the dry winter months!
#5: Keep certain areas clean and dry
Keep the warm, dark areas of your skin clean and dry. This includes under your arms, under your breasts, between your legs and between your toes. “Make sure you dry these areas off thoroughly after a shower or bath,” Norwood suggests.
You can use a hairdryer on these areas if need be. If you do, make sure it’s on a cool setting so you don’t burn your skin.
#6: Be cold weather savvy
Be especially vigilant about your daily moisturising routine when it’s cold
out. In cold conditions, your skin chaps quickly and easily. Use a natural lip balm and intensely moisturising body lotion to keep your lips and body smooth respectively.
Other than this, dress warm and wear gloves or mittens when you’re out in the cold.
#7: Drink plenty of fluids
Water and most caffeine- and sugar-free drinks are good choices to keep your skin looking lustrous. Gulp down eight to 12 glasses a day to hydrate your body from inside out.
I hope you found these diabetic skincare tips useful!