One in three people living with diabetes will have a skin disorder caused by diabetes at some point in their lives. In fact, skin disorders, such as dryness or discoloration of the skin, are sometimes the first indication that a person has diabetes. While this statistic may be surprising, it’s important to keep in mind that most skin conditions can be prevented or treated if caught early.
When it comes to diabetes and skin care, here are some tips for managing both effectively and easily:
Practice good skin care. High glucose levels may cause the body to lose fluids, which in turn makes the skin very dry and susceptible to cracking. Cracked skin can lead to harmful bacteria seeping in and potentially cause infections. To minimize this risk, practicing good skin care is important to help manage high blood sugar and decrease the risk for infection. Top tips for great skin care include:
- Ensure skin is always clean and dry
- Avoid extremely hot showers and baths
- Treat cuts immediately
- Pay close attention to red spots, blisters or sores, all of which could lead to infection
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep skin hydrated
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids to nourish the skin
Keep in mind there are a variety of products available that can help with good skin care, even ones that are developed specifically for people living with diabetes. The CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes® program offers savings on the diabetic supplies used most, including products that help with skin care. Enroll in the program today to start saving at CVS.com/diabetes.
Know the warning signs. To keep healthy skin on the right track, it’s important to know the warning signs. Symptoms of compromised skin health typically include dry, scaly skin that frequently appears on the extremities. This condition can even lead to cracks in skin, which can increase risk for infection. Consult a health care professional at the first sign of unhealthy skin to determine an appropriate course of treatment.
Understand skin complications. Living with diabetes can lead to increased risk for skin conditions that anyone can have such as itching, bacterial and fungal infections. However, living with this chronic condition can lead to more serious skin complications including diabetic dermopathy, allergic reactions, and diabetic blisters among many others. Prevention of these complications can be attributed to understanding treatment methods. Talk with a health care professional who can help determine the best treatment and prevention path.
Papatya Tankut is vice president of pharmacy affairs at CVS/pharmacy.