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Feb 26, 2020

Why Does Diabetes Cause Dry Skin?

Dry skin diabetes

It’s well-known that there’s a connection between diabetes and skin problems, whether it’s because diabetics are more prone to fungal or bacterial infections, or because diabetes-related dry skin is problematic in itself.

But why would having diabetes affect your skin?

The answer lies in what happens if the levels of glucose in your blood are high.

  1. When sugar levels are high, your body tries to get rid of it in any way it can. One way is to excrete it in your urine, so you tend to need to pee more often. As urination increases, fluid levels in the body drop. That has a knock on effect on skin, which ends up with less moisture. Dry skin is less robust, more prone to damage, more vulnerable to infection, and more likely to feel itchy, sensitive and sore.
  2. If levels of glucose in the blood stay high for a long time, it can lead to a serious condition called diabetic neuropathy, which means there is damage to the nerves. This might be because the high levels of sugar affects the capillaries that feed nerves with oxygen and blood, but whatever the exact mechanism, neuropathy can affect sweat glands and lead to dry, cracked skin, especially on the feet.

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.

For more information about diabetic skin issues, see our articles Best Natural Treatments For Diabetic Rash and 5 Top Tips To Help Manage Diabetic Skin Problems.

Recommended products

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)

 skin salvation Balmonds for diabetes

Important Note

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.

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