Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Diabetes and Skin Care

How Can Diabetes Affect the Skin?

When you have diabetes, your skin is more likely to be dry. It’s more easily injured, likelier to get an infection, and slower to heal.

These tips can help you care for your skin and keep it healthy and happy.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

3 Diabetes Tests You Must Have

Even before you notice symptoms, high blood sugar can damage parts of your body. That's why certain diabetes tests to check blood sugar control and to catch problems early are so crucial. But many patients aren't getting key diabetes tests at least annually, such as the hemoglobin A1c test, a dilated eye exam, and a foot exam. "If you look at the nationwide data, it's sobering," says Enrico Cagliero, MD, a diabetes researcher and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "A lot...

Read the 3 Diabetes Tests You Must Have article > >

Protect Yourself From the Elements

To shield your skin from the cold or wind, cover your ears and face, including your nose, and wear a hat. Also, wear warm gloves and shoes or boots.

Follow these guidelines, too:

  • Apply lip balm to prevent chapped lips.
  • To prevent dry skin when the temperature drops, use a room humidifier to add moisture to heated indoor air.
  • When bathing or showering, use warm (not hot) water, and a mild, moisturizing soap.
  • Don't take long baths or showers.
  • Pat skin dry -- don't rub it.
  • After washing and drying off, use a mild lotion to prevent dry skin.
  • Avoid scratching dry skin. Apply moisturizer instead.
  • Keep a bottle of lotion near the sink so you can use it after washing your hands.
  • Limit products you use on your skin to lower your chances of having a reaction.
  • If you're prone to acne, talk to your dermatologist before choosing a facial moisturizer. Some moisturizers tend to cause acne or make it worse.
  • Use products labeled "noncomedogenic" or "nonacnegenic."

Make a First-Aid Kit for Your Skin

Keep a first-aid kit handy to take care of your hands and feet. It should include:

  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Gauze pads
  • Hypoallergenic or paper tape
  • Prepackaged cleansing towelettes (in case soap and water aren't available)

How to Take Care of Blisters

  • Don't try to break or "pop" the blister. The skin covering the blister helps protect it from infection.
  • Gently wash the area with mild soap and warm water.
  • Apply antibacterial ointment to the blister.
  • Cover the blister with a cloth bandage or gauze pad. Secure it in place with hypoallergenic or paper tape.
  • Change the bandage at least once a day.
  • If the blister is on your foot, wear other shoes until it heals.

How to Take Care of Small Cuts

  • Gently wash the area with mild soap and warm water.
  • Apply antibacterial ointment.
  • Cover the cut with a cloth bandage or gauze pad. Secure it in place with hypoallergenic or paper tape.
  • Change the bandage at least once a day.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article