One of the most irritating (literally!) but very common complications of diabetes is being plagued by sensitive, dry and itchy skin. We’ve compiled a list of tips for managing diabetic skin.
- Control your blood-sugar levels! This is the very best way of reducing the effects on your skin.
- Moisturise daily, with effective emollients (see our Diabetic Skincare Collection)
- To reduce the dehydrating effects of hot water:
- Moisturise towel-dried skin immediately after bathing
- Use non-irritant skincare/toiletries: cut out the perfumes, harsh preservatives, SLS and other sulfates, etc. For more info see our blog on problematic ingredients in toiletries.
- Dress softly, in comfortable, non-irritating clothing that won’t make you overheated or scratchy.
- Use hypoallergenic household cleaning products: follow the same rules as you would if you had eczema or allergies.
- Install a humidifier if your central heating is drying out your skin.
- Keep hydrated! Drink plenty of water, especially in the heat.
- Check your stress levels: stress can affect your skin very badly so take your well-being seriously.
- Go for cold: use fans, ice packs, cold gel packs, ice towels or anything else that works for you - even a pack of frozen peas! - to stop the itch, rather than scratch and damage your skin.
- Pat or apply pressure to itchy skin rather than scratch it.
- Talk to your doctor or diabetic nurse about any itchiness that doesn’t go away within a week! You may have a fungal or bacterial infection which will need treatment, or it may be that your insulin needs adjusting to control blood-sugar.
Check yourself regularly for any abnormal patches of skin, whether they’re itchy, blistered, raised, bumpy, extra dry or inflamed. Talk to your diabetic nurse for advice about what treatment might be needed; you might need anti-fungals or antibiotics. Skin issues are generally best prevented by controlling your blood-sugar levels.
All the products in our Diabetic Skin Collection are excellent choices for looking after diabetic skin. We’d recommend choosing products that work for different areas of the body.
- Cooling Cream with menthol, aloe, shea butter and lavender to cool itchy lower legs (£19 for 100ml)
- Skin Salvation balm, made with beeswax and hemp seed oil to nourish and soften cracked skin on the feet (from £7.99 for 30ml)
- Intensive Hand Cream, rich in sea buckthorn berry oil, shea butter, hemp, olive and safflower to soften and protect dry hands (from £10.99 for 50ml)
- Daily Moisturising Cream with four biodynamic anti-inflammatory herbal tinctures, plus hemp and shea butter, as a general moisturiser for all-over natural hydration (from £13.99 for 100ml)
- Bath & Body Oil with lavender, hemp and olive, to lock in vital moisture during or after bathing (£12.99 for 200ml)
- Scalp Oil which contains tea tree, rosemary and borage, for managing folliculitis on the scalp or as an antimicrobial foot rub to keep fungal infections at bay (£14.99 for 50ml)
- Tea Tree balm, an antimicrobial tea tree ointment for instant application on minor cuts, grazes, bites, blisters etc. (£4.65 for 15ml)
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.