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For any person with diabetes an often overlooked yet critical area of focus in the diabetes treatment plan is with skincare because high and fluctuating blood glucose levels result in a loss of fluid in the body. This starving of fluid, especially in the extremities, leads to dryness; which then leads to the risk of infection should germs get through cracks in the skin. Skin care products are essential diabetes supplies and good skincare habits an integral part of the diabetic treatment plan.
First and foremost, diet directly relates to the stability (or instability) of blood glucose levels, and subsequently to the condition of skin and all other organs. What this means is that any patient who follows with care his or her diabetic treatment plan and whose diet includes the recommended foods, stands a better chance of keeping skin healthy. By regulating spikes in blood glucose, a diabetic protects his or her skin from the inside out; clearly always a better option. In a previous article I discussed and referenced the work of Tim Ferris and his book “The Four Hour Body” and how a low carb eating regimen is the key to losing weight, stabilizing blood glucose levels and leading a healthier and more productive life.
For protection from the outside in, a diabetic can develop the right kind of care routine to ensure skin is kept clean and healthy. Balance, as in many health related self- management issues is always the key; skin neither too dry nor too moist is a good thing for a diabetic. Here are five easy-to -remember tips on what to incorporate into a balanced diabetes treatment plan.
- Avoid very hot showers and baths. Steamy water is drying to the skin, even if quite relaxing. For those who love to soak in the tub, there are many ways to enjoy the bath and moisten skin at the same time. Some popular and inexpensive options to add to the bath water are coconut milk or even powdered milk that might be used for cooking. For a slightly higher investment, the patient with diabetes might add a few drops of lavender oil into the bath. While true essential oils may cost a bit more than a can of coconut milk, they are an effective and enjoyable additions to the necessary diabetes testing supplies.
- After every shower or bath dry all areas of the body thoroughly. Dampness on skin can become a breeding area for bacteria. It may be helpful to use talcum powder on the skin after bathing, particularly in areas that receive less air. It is recommended that the patient sprinkles feet and in between toes with talcum powder.
- Moisturizing the skin is a necessity, and a good hypoallergenic lotion is just as critical. If talc is used immediately following a shower or bath, lotion may be applied an hour or so later so as not to create a paste on the skin. Lotion should be limited to those areas where dryness is more prevalent and never put between the toes.
- Any cuts that occur should be treated swiftly with a soap and water wash. Alcohol, iodine, or antiseptic wash is not necessary, and is actually drying to the skin. Good old soap and water is always sufficient.
- Monitor air quality within the home. When air is dry, skin will be depleted of moisture. The solution is not to pour on more lotion, but to create a balance between properly humidified air in the house and a moisturizing routine. For those living in colder climates, this is particularly relevant during cold winter months when the heater is in constant use. A humidifier may be the most practical way of controlling the quality of the air in the home environment.
Patients with diabetes can promote, preserve and protect healthy skin as an integral part of their diabetes treatment plan. The right diet with the right foods, a healthy home environment and good skincare habits go hand in hand with quality diabetes supplies!