Why does the skin get dry with diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is an issue that can be noticed with the help of numerous markers: constant thirst, changes in one’s appetite, sudden skin dryness, and plenty of others. The most important thing is to notice them on time and seek medical help as quickly as possible. Today’s article is dedicated to skin dryness and irritation as early signs of diabetes mellitus, as well as some skin problems typical only for individuals with blood sugar control issues. Below, you will find all the essential information!

Regular insulin injections are required to treat diabetes and keep blood glucose at a normal level; however, many individuals struggle to buy their medication because of the rising prices in the USA. That’s why more and more people choose to buy insulin online Canada to manage diabetes and bring blood sugar levels back to normal.

How can diabetes mellitus affect the skin?

Diabetes mellitus is an issue that may affect one’s health differently, and it’s crucial to manage all the conditions and not let the problem get worse with time. Too much sugar in the blood makes the body draw fluids from cells to produce enough urine and remove the sugar from the blood. That’s why people may experience skin dryness when they have diabetes mellitus.

Another reason is the result of nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy), which mainly occurs in the feet and legs. The main part of the problem is that damaged nerves can’t get the message to perspire, and this process is vital to keep skin soft and moist.

If the dermis is too dry, it can peel, crack, and become very itchy. Moreover, vigorous scratching may open those wounds and let infections under the skin, while excess sugar provides an excellent breeding environment for them to grow.

Possible problems patients may experience

It’s crucial to remember that when the first signs of skin diabetes are noticed, medical help should be sought right away. They can occur during both pre- and active diabetes stages in the case of uncontrolled diabetes management.

Itchy, dry skin and rashes

Dry, itchy skin is one of the first signs of elevated blood sugar levels. The first area affected by the problem is usually the lower leg; an essential thing a patient should do is to eliminate scratching to the maximum, which can be quite tricky because bacteria can cause discomfort and uncontrollable itching. It may also be the reason for the longer time required to heal broken or inflamed areas.

Texture and discoloration changes

  • Diabetic dermopathy. These are also known as “shin spots” and look like light brown patches of scaly skin on the lower leg because small blood vessels lack nutrition and oxygen supply. Even though this discoloration condition doesn’t always require medical help, it may still occur even if glucose n the blood is well-managed;
  • Acanthosis nigricans. The signs of this problem are most noticeable on the neck as raised patches of gray, dark, or brown skin. Sometimes, they may also appear in the armpits, groin, knees, and elbows. It is more typical for obese diabetic patients;
  • Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD). This one is also typical for legs but is rarer than diabetic dermopathy. The condition is often followed by extreme itching and pain. Special treatment may not be needed, but a doctor still has to be informed about it.

Bacterial infections and other skin-related diabetes signs

  • Skin tags. Even though skin tags can occur even in people without sugar control problems, they may still be a sign of diabetic issues in an individual. It is also important to remember that diabetics may need more time to heal minor cuts and wounds, so marks after them may stay for longer;
  • Bacterial infections. People with diabetes are more prone to bacterial infections, which can often cause redness, puffiness of the damaged area, skin dryness, and other annoying problems. The most common bacterial infection is staph and strep, which can lead to many conditions, namely folliculitis, boils, sites, etc. These mainly affect fingernails and toenails and require a doctor’s help and physical therapy not to let it develop into something more serious. A specialist should also be informed if there are any unusual, sudden changes;
  • Yeast and fungal infections. This one is among the most common diabetic skin infection complications, and it’s typical for individuals whose blood glucose isn’t well-controlled for a long time. Affected areas are red and swollen and can often be surrounded by itchy rashes and diabetic blisters. Groin, armpits, and the corners of the mouth are the most common areas for these issues to occur. It may spread and worsen if not noticed and treated on time.

How to take care of diabetic itchy skin?

People with diabetes who believe there is nothing that can be done to improve their skin condition are wrong because there are indeed a few effective methods to take everything under control. Below, we are going to mention some of the most useful tips and tricks:

  • Manage your diabetes properly. Make sure to take the correct type of medication, always inject it on time, and don’t skip the needed insulin dose. In this way, all irritations mentioned above will be easier to deal with;
  • Avoid high temperatures. The first things that pop up to mind are hot baths and showers. Hot water can irritate already sensitive skin even more, and that’s not the most helpful thing. We also recommend applying moisturizers afterward (just don’t put it between toes not to let fungus develop there);
  • Treat cuts right away. Clean with soap and warm water, and make sure to discuss the usage of antibiotic cream or ointment with a doctor;
  • Keep the house more humid during dry, cold months;
  • Keep your feet clean. Check them for cuts and sores, wear comfortable shoes, and check them before putting them on (it’s much easier to skip skin damage on your feet);
  • Talk with a doctor if you didn’t manage to deal with a problem on your own. Remember, it is very dangerous to let the situation as it is because irritation may progress into something more serious.

Special creams and remedies may sometimes be required to get rid of the diabetic dry and itchy skin; however, all of those can only be prescribed by a doctor, as using the wrong medication can sometimes worsen the situation.

To sum up: About diabetes skin problems

Dry, irritated skin is a typical indicator of untreated diabetes in a person. If not taken under control on time, it may develop into more severe conditions, lead to open wounds, and let skin infections in the body, which are pretty challenging to deal with. Not to mention that these conditions can significantly spoil one’s quality of life, so it is crucial always to keep a specialist updated even about the slightest changes. After this article, we hope you understand the importance of maintaining any type of skin damage under control. And if there are any troubles or questions – feel free to consult your doctor!