Diabetes: A Skin-Care How-To

Diabetes can dry out your skin. That means you could get injured more easily, be more likely to get an infection, and take longer to heal. Follow these tips to care for your skin and keep it healthy.

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:

  • Use 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 you bathe or shower, 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 can 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 close by to take care of your hands and feet. It should include:

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

How to Treat Blisters

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

How to Care for 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 that with hypoallergenic or paper tape.
  • Change the bandage at least once a day.

Continued

How to Handle Minor Skin Problems Like Rashes

  • Gently wash the area with a mild soap and warm water and pat dry.
  • Cover the irritated skin with a cloth bandage or gauze pad. Secure that with hypoallergenic or paper tape.
  • Keep checking the area to make sure the irritation doesn't get worse.
  • Change the bandage at least once a day.

What to do for Minor Burns

  • Soothe the area with cool, clean running water.
  • Don't try to break or pop any blisters.
  • Gently wash the area with mild soap and warm water and pat dry.
  • Cover the burn with a gauze pad. Secure that with hypoallergenic or paper tape.
  • Change the bandage at least once a day.

How to Take Care of Frostbite

  • Call for medical help immediately.
  • Use warm, not hot, water to warm the skin (98-104 F).
  • Don't rub the area or apply creams.
  • Don't try to walk on the affected foot or use the affected hand.

When to Call a Doctor or Podiatrist

When you have diabetes, your feet need special attention. Beyond a daily foot care routine, call your doctor or podiatrist right away if you:

  • Don't see an improvement the next day after treating a minor problem, such as a cut.
  • Have pain or discomfort that lasts for more than 2 days.
  • Have a temperature.
  • Notice any pus on the sore or near the wound.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on January 21, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

American Diabetes Association.

American Academy of Dermatology.

© 2017 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Pagination