Your Skin and Beyond - Part 2

Understand the beauty of skin protection

Joy Pape By Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN

Now that you know something about your skin, before moving into product selection, let's look at some basics of skin care protection and prevention to keep your skin intact.

Remember, your skin is the largest organ of your body. Rather than just thinking of your skin as something of beauty, think of the beauty of how it protects you.

Feet usually get most of the attention when it comes to diabetes and skin care. You need to be concerned about all of your skin, not just your feet. Many of the principles of preventative foot care pertain to the rest of your body.

Skin Protective Principles for People Who Have Diabetes

  • Your goal is to keep your skin intact. Think maintenance rather than repair.
  • Basic good health is the cornerstone of skin care.
  • Look at and inspect all of your body daily. Get to know the skin of your body so you'll be able to notice any changes right away. If there is a change, think about what may have caused that. For example, if your skin is drier than normal, is your blood glucose high? High blood glucose can cause dry skin. Discuss any changes with your health care team.
  • Aim for blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. High blood glucose levels not only cause you to lose fluids, but affect your nerves and circulation, which also involves your skin integrity and healing.
  • Eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of fluids. This is called moisturizing from the inside out.
  • You really can not add moisture to your skin from the outside, but you can and do lose moisture from your skin. You do want to use moisturizers and creams to lock the moisture in.
  • Moisturizing is good. Wet is not. Skin exposed to too much moisture from soaking in water, or body fluids such as urine, feces, or wound drainage, can cause maceration and breakdown. Keep skin clean, dry, and protected with moisture barriers.
  • Pressure and friction relieving devices should be used for people who are immobile or have lost some of their feeling.
  • Wear sun protection. Choose a product with a Sun Protective Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Some of your medication may make you more sensitive to the sun.
  • Protect your skin from extremes of temperature. You may have lost some of the protective quality of your nerves. Avoid use of heating pads, hot water bottles, electric blankets, hot baths, or soaks. Use your elbow to check water temperature before showering or bathing. You can also use a bath thermometer to make sure the water temperature is no more than 92 degrees F. In the cold weather, wear warm clothes to match the weather; including gloves and warm socks that fit.
  • Know and follow preventative foot care guidelines.

Also see The American Podiatric Medical Association's Latest Information about Diabetes Foot Health.

Look for more on skin and wound care next time.

Until then, don't forget, taking care of your skin is part of good diabetes management.


Read Joy's bio here.

Read more of Joy Pape's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

PREVIOUS: Your Skin and Beyond - Part 1 NEXT: Your Skin and Beyond - Part 3


Last Modified Date: March 19, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...
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