Care of Your Skin When You Have Diabetes - Adventist HealthCare

Care of Your Skin When You Have Diabetes

Topic Overview

If high blood sugar levels have damaged nerves that go to your skin, you may sweat less, and your skin may become dry and cracked. Damaged skin becomes infected more easily when you have diabetes.

To prevent skin problems and allow for early treatment of any problems that develop, each day:

  • Inspect your skin, especially on your feet, between your toes, and around your fingernails and toenails. Watch for redness, cuts, scrapes, calluses, or blisters.
  • Keep your skin folds—such as in your groin or under your breasts—dry. Moist areas increase the risk of infection.
  • Dry the area between your toes well after bathing.
  • Use a bath soap that has a moisturizer added. Use soap only as needed (on your feet, underarms, and groin). Avoid using deodorant soaps and antibacterial soaps, which may dry your skin.
  • If your skin is dry, do not use bubble baths. Use a bath oil instead.

To prevent dryness and injury:

  • Use a home humidifier during cold weather and in dry climates.
  • Use a moisturizer after you bathe, but avoid skin folds and in between your toes.
  • Wear gloves when you garden, do yard work, use household chemicals, or do dishes.
  • Always test the temperature of the water before you take a bath or shower, especially if you have peripheral neuropathy. Use your elbow or upper arm to check the temperature, or have a family member do it.
  • Avoid hot water, which can dry out skin. Warm water is better.

To prevent problems from the sun:

  • Cover any ulcers or wounds with a bandage, not sunscreen.
  • Treat peeling sunburns with lotion to help prevent skin from cracking open and getting infected.
  • Be more careful about the time in the sun when you take medicines that can increase your sun sensitivity, such as some sulfonylureas, heart medicines, and antibiotics.

See your doctor or a dermatologist if you have a skin problem that does not go away.

Credits

Current as ofJuly 25, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
David C. W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.