Insulin, blood sugar, and new diets are things diabetics have come to expect when they’re diagnosed. But skin disorders? Not so much. Surprisingly, however, as many as one-third of diabetics will have a skin disorder caused or affected by diabetes at some point in their lives.
These skin disorders are rooted in common symptoms of diabetes– things like high glucose levels, weakened immune systems, weakened blood flow, and difficulty healing from wounds. For example, high glucose levels can cause dry skin, which leads to a number of other skin disorders like itching, cracking, rashes, and more. Diabetics can also suffer from fungal infections because of weakened immune systems, weakened blood flow, and difficulty healing from wounds- even wounds as small as those from insulin injections. In some instances, insulin injections can cause rosacea, since insulin acts similarly to a growth hormone.
Diabetics can prevent these skin conditions with basic skincare techniques, such as bathing daily in warm water and moisturizing after bathing and in cold or windy weather. Diabetics should keep their home more humid during cold months, when the air is drier, and examine their skin regularly for red spots, bumps, or any other abnormalities. Diabetics may also keep a first aid kit for skin in their homes, with items such as antibacterial ointment, petroleum jelly, gauze pads, hypoallergenic tape, cleansing towelettes, and self-adherent elastic wrap.
Finally, diabetics should be on the lookout for foot problems as well, such as blisters, cracked feet, infections, and skin conditions caused by a lack of circulation or nerve damage. Prevent these foot problems by examining feet daily to help prevent any damage or conditions and visiting your doctor annually for an exam that focuses on circulation and sensation.