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Winter Warmers for Diabetes: tips to avoid dry and uncomfortable skin

by IBD Medical on March 21, 2024

Many of us know that summer can be a difficult time to manage diabetes, but unfortunately, winter comes with its own set of challenges, starting with dry skin.

There are many reasons for the increased prevalence of dry and itchy skin around winter, which dermatologists call  Winter Skin. There is less humidity in the air, people dry themselves more vigorously and roughly, and hair dryers and heaters are used to avoid catching a cold, all of which overly dry out skin.

But it doesn't have to be dry or uncomfortable. Below are some great, simple tips to help you keep your skin healthy this winter.

 

1. BATHE LESS

Yes, you read that right—take fewer showers and baths. In these chilly winter months, it can feel so good to have excessively frequent, long, and hot showers or baths. Unfortunately, this is terrible for keeping your skin hydrated and healthy. 

The hot water strips the oils from your skin. These oils are not just important; they are integral for keeping your skin hydrated. The more you bathe and the hotter the water, the more of these essential oils you wash away. Understanding this can help you make more informed choices about your bathing habits.

So, when you shower or bathe, remember that you have the power to keep it as short as possible and to avoid making the water too hot. This doesn’t just apply to your body but your hands as well. Before you wash your hands, consider whether it's necessary. This can be especially challenging for those of us who regularly lance or test blood sugars. But by being mindful, you can take control of your skin health.

If you are not in a place where you can wash your hands every time you test, you can use a small and handy wipe to remove food, dirt, and other nasties from your fingertips before you test. This will help protect the rest of your skin from overwashing while still ensuring safety and accuracy when testing or injecting. 

 

2. DRY YOURSELF LESS THOROUGHLY

When you step out of a nice shower or bath, you’ll want to scrub yourself dry immediately. If your bathroom also has a heater or hot lights, you may be tempted to crank those up. To help your skin, try to avoid doing all of the above.

When you use a heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer, you indirectly help dry out your skin by evaporating moisture from the air. It also has the direct impact of drying your skin. 

First, try to keep your bathroom at a comfortable, not overly hot, temperature and stay out of direct contact/line of a heater.

Second, when you do dry yourself, try to blot dry. Dab your body gently with a soft towel rather than scrubbing your skin with it. This will reduce the amount of essential moisture you remove from your skin.

Third, moisturise. Find a body moisturiser that works for you- make sure it is unscented and use liberally. And when you moisture please pay close attention to your feet. Not only are they more susceptible to skin dryness, and cracking, but because the skin on the feet is thicker and more prone to build-up, a foot-specific lotion is best. 

To take extra care of your feet, you might want to try the Dermal Therapy Heel Balmit’s our specialty footcare cream designed for treating dry skin and preventing skin cracking with triple action! (Results can be seen in as little as one day). 

  

 3. WEAR WARM AND COMFY SOCKS 

Because winter is the season of dry skin, it is more important than ever to take care of your feet—where dry skin can have the most impact. We’ve said it before, but when 50% of diabetes-related amputations are avoidable, it warrants repeating: you need to take care of your feet!

Dry Skin becomes cracked skin, which is more easily infected, and infections cause ulcers. Ulcers can eat their way centimetres into your skin, and that’s not where it ends. They can cause blood infections and are notoriously hard to treat with antibiotics.

With a diagnosis of diabetes comes a 15-fold increase in the risk of lower limb amputation – toe, foot, or leg. Every year over 4,400 diabetes-related amputations are carried out in Australian hospitals.

In addition to applying a specialised foot cream, not overbathing, and not overdrying, you should also take care of your feet with the socks you wear.

The socks you wear can have a BIG impact on your feet. For instance:

1. Do they rub your skin uncomfortably?

2. Do they stay wet?

3. Are the tops restrictive and do they cut in?

All three of these factors can lead to small but serious open cuts or sores that are ripe for infection. Ideally, you should choose socks that do none of the above, but socks can also actively help your feet.

 

Because winter is the season of dry skin, it is more important than ever to take care of your feet—where dry skin can have the most impact. We’ve said it before, but when 50% of diabetes-related amputations are avoidable, it warrants repeating: you need to take care of your feet! Dry Skin becomes cracked skin, which is more easily infected, and infections cause ulcers. Ulcers can eat their way centimetres into your skin, and that’s not where it ends. They can cause blood infections and are notoriously hard to treat with antibiotics. With a diagnosis of diabetes comes a 15-fold increase in the risk of lower limb amputation – toe, foot, or leg. Every year over 4,400 diabetes-related amputations are carried out in Australian hospitals. In addition to applying a specialised foot cream, not overbathing, and not overdrying, you should also take care of your feet with the socks you wear. The socks you wear can have a BIG impact on your feet. For instance: 1. Do they rub your skin uncomfortably? 2. Do they stay wet? 3. Are the tops restrictive and do they cut in? All three of these factors can lead to small but serious open cuts or sores that are ripe for infection. Ideally, you should choose socks that do none of the above, but socks can also actively help your feet.
The content of this Website or Blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website or Blog.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 (in the US) or 000 (in Australia) immediately, call your doctor, or go to the emergency room/urgent care. 

 

 

9 comments
by Lesley Buxton on June 18, 2019

Diabetes was bad enough, but not when I’ve been battling MS for 10years, it’s a double wamey,! I got an email from the NDSS telling me about Dia Balm, so I bought a few tubes, my carers applies on my dry old feet. Overnight my feet felt better then the next and so on, now it’s automatic, and I refresh my stock and give some away to other diabetics. I suggest all sufferers to try it, they won’t be disappointed.

by Malcolm Grace on June 18, 2019

Very valuable information!Thank you!!

by Jeff Flanagan on July 24, 2018

Where can these socks be purchased as feet are very cold.

by Judith Weier on July 09, 2018

Where are the socks available from and what is the cost?

by Linda Richardson on July 05, 2018

I received the Dia-Balm samples and they was brilliant, I had tried all oils and creams, and nothing helped my skin just got worse,itched like crazy and flaked and flaked my legs looked terrible…but the samples saved me Thankyou .

Where can I buy the product from, I need it desperately.. Thankyou Linda Richardson

by Marciano on July 03, 2018

Where can diabetic buy the socks from ,are they suitable
for both male , female thank you

by John on July 02, 2018

I didn’t know these important facts. I will see where I can buy these products.
Showering and drying is an eye opener. Thank you.

by Doreen on June 26, 2018

Really interesting didn’t know any of this. Re showering ext

by Cecile Blyth on June 26, 2018

This all sounds great, and I will try to keep it all in mind,with less washing etc and more creams on skin

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