Diabetes Home > Diabetic Skin Care

Good skin care can prevent or minimize skin problems caused by diabetes. For example, keys to good skin care include using a lotion or cream after you wash and checking your skin for dry, red, or sore spots. It's also a good idea to rinse and dry yourself well after washing with a mild soap.

Skin Care for Diabetes: An Introduction

Diabetes can hurt your skin in two ways:
 
  • If your blood glucose is high, your body loses fluid. With less fluid in your body, your skin can get dry. Dry skin can be itchy, causing you to scratch and make it sore. Also, dry skin can crack. Cracks allow germs to enter and cause infection. If your blood glucose is high, it feeds germs and makes infections worse. Skin can get dry on your legs, feet, elbows, and other places on your body.
     
  • Nerve damage can decrease the amount you sweat. Sweating helps keep your skin soft and moist. Decreased sweating in your feet and legs can cause dry skin.
     

Suggestions for Diabetic Skin Care

Because of these potential problems, good skin care is essential to minimize or prevent diabetic skin problems from occurring. The following is a list of diabetic skin care suggestions:
 
  • 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.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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