By: Nancy Wagner
Your skin is the biggest organ in your body and it needs extra attention during the cold, dry winter months. Lower outdoor humidity and heaters in the home cause the air to become dry, which makes it more likely your skin will be dry. People with diabetes need to take extra care to avoid irritation, cracking and bleeding. What can you do to maximize skin health?
- Hydrate from the inside – Drink plenty of water and avoid excess caffeine and alcohol.
- Use a humidifier – At home and at work.
- Control your blood sugars – Elevated blood sugars will pull moisture out of the body.
- Moisturize – Use a heavier, oil-based moisturizer, ointment or cream in the winter months. Do not use moisturizer between your toes.
- Keep hands covered – Wear gloves or mittens when outdoors.
- Avoid wet gloves and socks – This could irritate sensitive skin.
- Baths and showers – Avoid hot water and keep your bath/shower short.
- Avoid irritating soaps, detergents and cleansers – Instead use mild ones and wear gloves when cleaning.
- Pat your skin dry instead of rubbing – Rubbing can irritate. Be sure to fully dry between your toes. Leave your arms and legs slightly moist, then apply moisturizer.
- Don’t forget your lips – Use lip balm frequently.
- Keep warm – Getting cold can aggravate circulation problems. Dress in layers which can be taken off if you become too warm.
Nancy Wagner is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Diabetes Educator at Copley Hospital. She provides health and wellness to Copley employees through screenings, education and fun activities; educates patients regarding their nutrition and diabetes needs; and works with community members providing education to schools and businesses. Nancy enjoys helping others learn new things about nutrition, their health habits, and their chronic diseases.