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

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC – Endocrinology

Current as ofMarch 13, 2017