Diabetes has the tendency to invade every part of your body, including the skin. In fact, according to Diabetes.org, 1/3 of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder caused or affected by diabetes at some point in their lives. Therefore, proper skin care is essential — from your head all the way to your toes.
Some of the ways diabetics should care for the skin on their feet, ankles and toes include:
- Wash the feet daily in warm — not hot — water and thoroughly dry the skin, paying special attention to in between the toes.
- Apply a good quality lotion to the feet daily, being sure to cover the entire foot except for in between the toes. Extra moisture in that area can lead to fungal infections.
- Make sure your insulin and glucose levels are in check. People with high glucose levels tend to have drier skin, which can crack and become infected. Having dry skin also decrease your body’s chances of fending off bacterial infections.
- If you live in a cool or dry climate, ward off skin dryness by using an in-home humidifier.
- Drink plenty of water and other healthy fluids (caffeine and sugar-free) to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out.
- Eat foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep the skin nourished. Examples include salmon, mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna, tofu, flaxseed, walnuts and nut oils.
- If you have neuropathy, pay special attention to skin dryness levels. Neuropathy can affect the nerves that create foot sweat. A small amount of sweat is necessary to keep skin moist, so you may have to compensate for a lack of sweat with lotion or creams.
- Use only mild or hypoallergenic soaps, shampoos and moisturizers to prevent skin irritation.
- Check the skin on your feet every day to make sure it is free from cuts, sores, ulcers, corns, calluses and other injuries that could easily become infected.
- Talk to your doctor about any cuts, sores, ulcers, corns, calluses or other injuries and only apply an antibiotic cream, ointment or other skin treatments if he or she expressly gives you permission.
- Visit a doctor or dermatologist at the first sign of any skin-related problem. Doing so may save you a lot of trouble that often arises during self-treatment.