Diabetes is a condition that affects the whole body, and there is a definite connection between blood-sugar levels and itchy skin.
Why that might be is slightly complicated, in that different side-effects of diabetes cause itchiness for different reasons! Here are the three main causes of itchy skin in diabetes:
1. Most seriously, uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to the nerves, which can manifest as itchy skin, so don’t delay in getting any itchiness checked out by your diabetic team.
2. Diabetics are also more prone to dry skin, as high blood sugars draw moisture from the body. Dry skin can end up feeling itchy, as a damaged skin barrier means you’re more sensitive to irritants.
3. And lastly, diabetics are more vulnerable to infection than non-diabetics.
Both bacterial and fungal infections of the skin can mean infernal itchiness, plus some viral infections can also cause rashes on the skin.
What can you do?
- Have regular check-ups with your diabetic team
- Treat your skin with extra care: moisturise regularly with an oil-rich emollient
- Steer clear of irritants which can cause more damage: perfumes, sulphates (ie SLS), harsh preservatives, etc.
- Use soap-free washes or bars: soap is renowned for stripping natural oils from the skin
- Keep baths short and warm, not long and hot
- Manage your blood-sugars as well as possible
Recommended products for itchy skin:
We’d recommend using our intensive Skin Salvation ointment if your hands or feet get really dry or cracked; Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream for day-to-day maintenance; and our antimicrobial rescue oil (Balmonds Scalp Oil) to keep feet or other areas clean and help ward off fungal infections.Our refreshing Cooling Cream can be great for sensitive and dehydrated diabetic skin too, and try our versatile Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash if you need the gentlest of soap-free cleansers.
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.