Metabolic Health

Know How To Treat Dry Skin Caused By Diabetes

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Diabetic Treatment For Dry Skin

If you are diabetic, you may know it can affect your kidneys, heart and nerves, particularly if the disease is poorly controlled. But are you aware that diabetes can cause dry, itchy skin?

For people with diabetes, the commonly occurring symptoms include dryness, rashes, itchiness and other skin infections. They might happen at any point in time during the disease. Sometimes skin issues can be observed as the first symptom at the onset of the disease.

People with diabetes who have high blood glucose (hyperglycaemia) have poor circulation or skin difficulties. These are the few factors for the contributions of dry and itchy skin.

How to treat diabetic dry skin?

The first thing you can do to treat skin problems is to keep your blood sugar levels within the range recommended by your doctor. Proper skincare can lower your chances of getting dry skin or infections. If you already have skin issues, you can stop them from getting worse. Start a healthy weight, eat right, cut back on salt, maintain healthy blood pressure, and exercise. For further, talk to your health care team for support.

Steps to treat the skin issues:

  • Daily check your skin for the signs of dryness, rashes, redness, infections or sores.
  • Use warm (not hot) water and moisturising soap in the shower. (Soaking in a tub dries out the skin)
  • Dry skin dry with a towel gently, making sure to dry in between fingers, toes, and skin folds.
  • Apply fragrance-free moisturisers after showering while the skin is still damp and soft.
  • Look for creams and ointments (not lotions) with ceramide to help skin retain moisture.
  • Apply creams containing 10% to 25% urea to cracked, dry heels at bedtime.
  • Keep the skin dehydrated by drinking sufficient fluids.
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home.

Manage your blood sugar

If you are diabetic, it’s very important to keep your blood sugar levels under control to prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease. Keeping it within range can also help improve your energy and mood.

Tips to manage your blood sugar

  •  Doing exercise regularly, you can maintain a healthy weight and the available sugar in your bloodstream can be used effectively. Exercise also helps your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction.
  •  Insulin also helps in lowering the sugar in the blood.
  • You have to manage your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrate intake strongly impacts your blood sugar levels.
  • A high-fibre diet is highly recommended. A high fibre diet improves your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and minimise blood sugar.
  •  Drinking sufficient water will keep your blood sugar within the range.
  • Managing your stress is very important. When you are stressed, your body secretes cortisol, which leads to increased blood sugar.
  • Keeping a regular track of your blood sugar and maintaining a log is very significant to control your blood sugar.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks.

Block bacteria entry point

If you are diabetic, you should regularly check for dry skin and open wounds. Any opening in your skin creates a way for infections to enter your body. Check your skin daily, especially the feet, which are often affected by diabetes, and look for new cracks that need attention. Try applying moisturiser after a bath.

Treat all cuts and scratches

If you notice any crack or cut, take care of it right away. Wash with soap and water and cover it with sterile gauze. Apply antibiotic cream or ointment that would be helpful.

Wash in warm water

Hot baths leave your skin too dry and scaly. Make sure that you dry off the regions under your arms, breast, legs and toes properly. Try using lukewarm water for your showers to prevent skin dryness.

Use moisturizers

Make sure you apply moisturiser every day after a bath or if you feel your skin is dry. You should not put lotions between toes, due to moisture in that area there are high chances of fungal growth and infections.

Book a Free Session

Other skin conditions caused by diabetes

Diabetes can affect every part of the body, including the skin. These include bacterial infections, fungal infections, rashes, and itching. Several organisms can cause infections, the most common being Staphylococcus bacteria. Bacterial infections: People with diabetes are prone to

Bacterial infections

  • Boils
  • Folliculitis (infections of the hair follicles)
  • Styes (infections in the eyelid)
  • Carbuncles ( skin and tissue underneath infections)
  • Infections around the nails

Fungal Infections

The fungal infections in diabetes people are mostly caused by Candida albicans. This yeast kind of fungus develops moist rashes red in colour that can be itchy, the area is surrounded by tiny blisters and scales. This fungus is affecting the skin folds, between fingers and toes, surrounding nail beds, in the armpits, groin and under the breast.

Pruritus (Itching skin)

Caused by many reasons such as poor blood supply, yeast infection, or skin dryness. When there is a poor supply of blood you will feel an itchy sensation in your feet and lower legs. The use of moisturisers will prevent itchiness due to dry skin and keep your skin moist and soft. 

Allergic reactions

Can occur in response to medicine such as insulin. You should see the doctor if you have a reaction to the medicines.. Look for the rashes or bumps at the site of insulin injection.

Bottomline

If you are diabetic there is a high chance of skin disorders associated with it. When your skin is affected, it’s a sign that your blood sugar levels are too high. Only changing your lifestyle and habits can help a person lower his blood glucose levels.  Diabetes increases your risk for skin rashes and skin problems. It’s important to take care of your skin. Contact your healthcare provider as soon as you notice a rash or itchy skin. If you notice any rashes that might indicate that you need to change your medication to get blood sugar under control. Following a good skincare routine can lower your risk of diabetes-related skin problems.

Back to Top

1-on-1 call with our health counsellor