Are you getting ready to show some skin this summer? Looks aside, taking care of your skin is an important part of staying healthy when you have diabetes. When you have diabetes, you are more likely to have problems with your skin. People with diabetes must also be extra careful when it comes to skin because even small problems like cuts or scrapes can turn into more serious issues.
Decreased circulation in people with diabetes can lead to skin issues. As a result, nutrients may not reach a damaged area to help a wound heal. People with diabetes are also at risk for neuropathy, or nerve damage. They may be less likely to feel it when their skin is damaged. This can lead to skin issues worsening.
Here are some things to keep in mind this summer if you have diabetes:
Check your meds
Certain medications may make you more sensitive to light. Glyburide and Glipizide, for example, both make you more likely to get sunburned. Ask your doctor if your meds have this effect. If so, your doctor can tell you what steps you can take to stay safe.
Take care of your feet
While it is tempting to wear sandals, people with diabetes are better off sticking with closed shoes. This helps prevent the risk of foot injuries. Whatever shoes you wear, check your feet daily for wounds. Treat cuts and scrapes to avoid infection. And make sure the shoes you wear fit you well, with some room for feet to swell in the summer heat.
Treat cuts right away
A thorough wash with soap and water is a smart strategy for avoiding infections. If your doctor says it is okay, you can also use an antibiotic cream or ointment. Cover with gauze. If the cut is more serious, see a doctor immediately.
Avoid bug bites
Bug bites can become infected. Your best bet is keeping the bugs away in the first place! Ask your doctor about a safe bug spray to use. Wearing long pants and sleeves when you’re in buggy areas can help, too.
Proceed carefully with pedicures
The risk of infection from a standard pedicure is too high for a person with diabetes. Avoid getting your toes “done” by anyone other than a podiatrist. As for your hands, ragged nails can cut or tear your skin. Keep your nails cut short and filed neatly to avoid this. Do not cut your cuticles—that could allow bacteria to get into your body.
See a dermatologist
If you’re not sure about a skin problem, check in with an expert. See a dermatologist once a year or so to make sure you are on the right track in any season!