Diabetes and the skin
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.
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.