How should a person with diabetes take care of their skin?

To take care of your skin if you have diabetes, do as follows:
  • After you wash with a mild soap, make sure you rinse and dry yourself well. Check places where water can hide, such as under the arms, under the breasts, between the legs, and between the toes. Keep your skin moist by using a lotion or cream after you wash. Ask your doctor to suggest one. Drink lots of fluids, such as water, to keep your skin moist and healthy. Wear all-cotton underwear. Cotton allows air to move around your body better. Check your skin after you wash. Make sure you have no dry, red, or sore spots that might lead to an infection. Tell your doctor about any skin problems.
This answer is based on source information from National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Keep your skin clean. If you have dry skin, use a superfatted soap.
  • Dry off well after washing. Be sure to prevent moisture in the folds of the skin, such as the groin area, between the toes, under the breasts, and in armpits where fungal infections are more likely. Try using talcum powder in these moist areas.
  • Avoid very hot baths and showers if you have loss of sensation, because you can easily burn yourself without knowing it.
  • Prevent dry skin. When you scratch dry, itchy skin, you can break the skin and open the door to bacteria. After you dry off from a shower, you may need an oil-in-water skin cream. On cold and windy days, you may need to moisturize often to prevent chapping.
  • Drink lots of water, unless your provider advises otherwise.
  • Treat cuts quickly. For minor cuts, clean the area with soap, water, and hydrogen peroxide. Do not use antiseptics such as Mercurochrome, alcohol, or iodine because they irritate the skin. Only use antibiotic creams and ointments for a few days without consulting your provider.
  • Call your provider if you find any of the following: redness, swelling, pus, or pain that might indicate a bacterial infection; jock itch, athlete’s foot, ringworm, vaginal itching, or other signs of a fungal infection; blisters or bumps anywhere, especially on the backs of your fingers, hands, toes, arms, legs, or buttock  -- these are signs of high glucose levels; rashes, bumps, or pits near insulin injection sites.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.