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9 Ways to Prevent Diabetic Dry Skin

9 Ways to Prevent Diabetic Dry Skin

Try these helpful tips to keep your skin healthy, moisturized and free of painful infections.

If you have diabetes, it’s important to keep your skin healthy, moisturized and clean to avoid infections. But winter can pose some additional challenges. Due to the cold air, it’s common to have itchy, dry skin this time of year, which can cause cracks and cuts. These can get severe enough to cause bacterial and fungal infections if left untreated. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to keep your skin feeling healthy all winter long.

Keep your skin moisturized
Use cream or ointment on hands, face and body often, especially when you feel itchy. Pay special attention to your hands this winter, since frequent washing and use of sanitizer, which is essential to preventing COVID-19, can dry them out. Carry hand moisturizer and lip balm with you.

Use gentle skin and haircare products
Lotions, soaps and shampoos made with fragrance or dyes may irritate your skin. Look for products labeled for sensitive skin. If you are unsure of what to use, ask your healthcare provider.  

Limit very hot showers
As good as a scalding shower might feel on a cold winter day, you run the risk of drying your skin out. Stick to one shower per day. Apply cream or ointment when finished.                                             

Cover your skin
Hats, gloves, scarves and coats are essential to keeping your skin protected during chilly temperatures. Don’t forget sunscreen, even though the days are shorter.

Wear well-fitting shoes and socks
Heavy winter boots and other ill-fitting shoes can lead to blisters on your feet. Make sure your shoes are comfortable before wearing them for an extended time. Keep socks clean and dry. Treat any blisters right away so they do not get infected.

Keep a humidifier on
Humidifiers can keep moisture in the air, preventing your skin from drying out.

Stay hydrated
It’s easy to forget to drink water when the temperature drops. Ample hydration can help your skin stay moisturized.

Take care of any skin issues
If you do develop any blisters, rashes or itchy skin, treat them right away. Contact your healthcare provider or a dermatologist if you have skin issues that are slow to heal.

Control your blood sugar
This is the best way to prevent dry skin, as well as keep your entire body healthy. Follow your diabetes treatment plan. If you are having trouble with blood sugar control, speak to your healthcare provider.

Medically reviewed in October 2020.

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