Di­a­betes and the skin

Jamaica Gleaner - - DIABETES WEEK FEATURE - Novelette Den­ton-Prince Con­trib­u­tor Novelette Den­ton-Prince, head, HEART Col­lege of Beauty Ser­vices.

DI­A­BETES AF­FECTS many per­sons through­out the world. In fact, in 2013 it was es­ti­mated that over 382 mil­lion per­sons had the con­di­tion. Peo­ple liv­ing with di­a­betes of­ten ex­pe­ri­ence side ef­fects.

The skin, be­ing the largest or­gan of the body, is usu­ally the first place where symp­toms of di­a­betes man­i­fest. Com­mon symp­toms of di­a­betes in­clude:

a) Bac­te­rial skin in­fec­tions such as

Eye­lid styes Boils Car­bun­cles

b) Fun­gal in­fec­tions such as

Ring­worm Ath­lete’s foot

c) Itchy skin

Poor cir­cu­la­tion is of­ten the cause. Di­a­bet­ics of­ten say that the lower leg is where the itch­ing hap­pens most.

d) Neu­ropa­thy-re­lated prob­lems

Nerve dam­age (also known as neu­ropa­thy) causes loss of sen­sa­tion in the feet. This is com­mon in per­sons with di­a­betes. When there is nerve dam­age, some­times the per­son may not re­alise that they have been in­jured. When left un­treated, a blis­ter or cut can result. This can lead to open sores.

e) Dig­i­tal scle­ro­sis

This is com­mon in per­sons with Type 1 di­a­betes. With dig­i­tal scle­ro­sis, the skin on the back of the hands ap­pears waxy, thick and tight. The fin­gers may stiffen and move­ment be­comes dif­fi­cult.

Home care

In Or­der to prop­erly man­age di­a­betes, di­a­bet­ics are en­cour­aged to man­age their diet as out­lined by a di­eti­cian and to be ac­tive. As it re­lates to skin care di­a­bet­ics should:

Use gen­tle cleansers on the face and body when bathing/cleans­ing.

Use luke­warm or cool, not hot wa­ter, when bathing. Hot wa­ter dries the skin and this will make itch­ing and skin tight­ness worse.

Seek im­me­di­ate med­i­cal at­ten­tion when there are fun­gal or bac­te­rial in­fec­tions such as boils. Some­times an­tibi­otic creams or pills will clear up the con­di­tion.

Be at­ten­tive to their feet for cuts and bruises. This is very im­por­tant since nerve dam­age can lead to loss of sen­sa­tion. It is also very im­por­tant for di­a­bet­ics to avoid us­ing sharp im­ple­ments on the feet.

See a der­ma­tol­o­gist (skin doc­tor) about skin prob­lems if you are not able to solve them your­self.

Be se­lec­tive in your choice of sa­lon or spa ser­vices. It is rec­om­mended that you use the ser­vices of cer­ti­fied pro­fes­sion­als trained to pro­vide ex­pert care. En­sure that you ad­vise the sa­lon or spa pro­fes­sional about your di­a­betes and any other health prob­lems and ask ques­tions about stan­dard prac­tices be­fore book­ing your ap­point­ment.

The HEART Col­lege of Beauty Ser­vices is op­er­ated by the HEART Trust/NTA, an agency of the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Youth and In­for­ma­tion.

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