November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. With over 20 million people in the United States, both adults and children, suffering from diabetes we felt it was extremely important to discuss some of the skin care issues associated with diabetes.
The following are just some of the skin conditions faced by those suffering diabetes:
- Bacterial Infections
- Fungal Infections
- Diabetic Blisters/Ulcers
Whether you have diabetes are not, a basic skin care routine is essential for keeping your skin healthy. Because the body is producing high levels of glucose, dry skin or Xerosis is all too common with diabetics, especially those with Type II diabetes. Here are some quick tips to help prevent the formation of dry skin.
- Take short and warm showers
- Always keep skin clean and dry – If necessary use powder in areas that are known to get moist. Focus on areas that are known for fungal infections, like the spaces in between your toes.
- Moisturize (using a mild no-fragrance lotion) One of the key areas to pay attention to with Xerosis are the feet. Try looking for products with urea or lactic acid, as they hold moisture in the best.
While on the subject of feet, it is very important to check them daily for cuts or sores. If you do happen to have a cut be sure to treat it immediately, another result of high glucose levels is not being able to fight off bacterial infections, this is why it is extremely important to treat them right away. Clean the area with soap and water, if a doctor has recommended an ointment, use that to coat the area, and cover with a bandage to block outside elements. If you feel like the area is infected or not healing seek help from a doctor or dermatologist.
When your blood sugar levels are not well managed blisters and ulcers can become common. Many times blisters will heal on their own, according to Healthline if you feel any of the following contact a doctor: redness around the blister, swelling, warmth radiating from the lesion, pain, and fever. Your doctor may prescribe a topical ointment or may puncture the area to release fluids.
Foot ulcers are open sores generally found on the bottom of the foot. In order to treat the area, doctors will need to make an incision to remove dead skin and tissue to get to the ulcer. After this process is completed the ulcer can be washed (flushed) out. There have been preliminary studies that show honey’s antibiotic properties are beneficial in healing foot ulcers.
The skin conditions that come along with a diabetes diagnosis are not limited to your feet. As mentioned before Xerosis, dry skin all over the body, is a characteristic of the disease. Another skin condition that can occur on any body part is Vitiligo. This occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or fail to produce it. Unfortunately there are no real cures for this skin condition, although some treatments have shown to slow the process down or return some pigment to the skin.
Advanced Dermatology offers a laser called the Excimer, via the Advanced Dermatology P.C.’s website:
The Excimer laser system works by focusing a direct and specific beam of light on the affected area. The Excimer system is designed to repigment the skin, with a low risk of damaging healthy skin. During a treatment, our doctors will move the Excimer hand-piece over the affected area, applying laser light at doses pre-determined by your skin tone.
Even with this wonderful technology, there is no fool-proof cure of Vitiligo. Results from the Excimer laser have been found to last for extended periods of time, rivaling conventional phototherapy.
Review this article from our medical director, Dr. Joshua Fox M.D F.A.A.D speaking about how to connect your skin conditions to possible medical diagnoses. Beware of Skin Signs of Illness and Disease.
If you notice any abnormalities on your skin, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Join countries all over the world tomorrow, November 14, 2015, in recognition of World Diabetes Day.