Protect your skin - How specialist skin care can turn from a luxury to a necessity for diabetes patients
The skin and its function
Our skin is a living organism and forms an excellent barrier. This barrier reduces water loss through the skin. It also stops anything getting in from outside.
The skin is a complex structure with 3 layers; the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis. The lowest or basal layer of the epidermis is the active, dividing layer. These cells are continually dividing and multiplying and then rise gradually to the surface. Here they undergo changes from living cells (keratinocytes) to dead cells (corneocytes) which are ultimately lost either naturally or by aggression such as detergents or exfoliation.
This continuous process of division and shedding takes about 28 days, but slows with ageing. The dead cells are surrounded by a lamellar lipid structure which is made up of layers of water and lipids. This structure forms the outer layer of the skin and is called the stratum corneum. The outer layer can be compared to a wall and is often referred to as having a bricks and mortar structure. It consists of corneocytes (bricks) which are bound to the lamellar lipid structure (mortar). This structure is essential for an effective barrier and will prevent excessive water loss (trans-epidermal water loss), as well as the penetration of irritating substances. To prevent a drop in water level and skin dehydration, water is constantly sourced from the deeper layers.
Diabetic patients lose more water through urination and usually do not drink enough which causes a lack of water which means that the skin dehydrates quickly. Dry skin is common all over the body but, in most cases it is worse on the extremities: legs, feet, knees, elbows and hands which results in a less supple and cracked skin.
In case of dry skin, the unique lamellar lipid structure is damaged and the function of enzymes is slowed. Therefore the stratum corneum is less structured and this weakens the barrier function of the skin. More water evaporates and irritating substances and micro-organisms can penetrate more easily. This can become a vicious circle; once the barrier is damaged, the protection lessens and irritations, allergies and infections are more common. These will weaken the barrier even more. The prevention of dry skin in diabetes patients is therefore necessary as dry cracked skin easily leads to infections which can cause serious complications.
The dermis consists of proteins, collagen and elastin which form a matrix and retains moisture. The dermis gives the skin its suppleness and elasticity. Damage to dermal proteins causes the skin to age.
Collagen and elastin react with sugars to form AGEs (advanced glycation end products) which cause the loss of elasticity and a dull wrinkled skin. Because of a higher blood sugar level and a higher level of AGEs, diabetes patients often have premature skin ageing.
A specialised skincare routine with specific diabetes products can slow down this process.
A healthy life style and control of blood sugar levels are the fundamental basis of diabetic care. Skin cleansing is necessary to maintain healthy skin. The goal is to remove impurities and micro-organisms without disrupting the skin’s natural balance and removing the skin lipids.
Water alone is not sufficient to cleanse. Soaps can thoroughly cleanse, but have a high pH level. A change in the skin’s pH level combined with cleansing can harm the skin’s barrier.
Cleansing with a gentle soap-less cleanser (pH neutral), such as (Product name removed), is recommended for daily use. Gentle cleansing is necessary to prevent the dissolving of lipids and damage to the skin’s barrier. The amount of foam is not a sign of intensive cleansing. In fact, the more foam, the higher the risk of irritation. After cleansing the skin must always be carefully rinsed with lukewarm water – never hot. The skin must always be carefully dried especially between the toes.
Afterwards the skin must be moisturised with a body lotion such as (Product name removed), to keep a soft and firm which is a sign than the skin is well hydrated and the barrier is working well.
A body lotion with a natural base with ingredients such as glycerine and panthenol, is recommended.
Do not apply any moisturising products between the toes as micro-organisms easily multiply in warm and moist environments;
To intensively hydrate the skin and to slow down premature skin ageing, a product with carnosine and antioxidants such as (Product name removed) is recommended to prevent the formation of AGEs.
How healthy is your skin?
The key factor to prevent diabetes-related skin problems is to keep diabetes under control:
There are 6 warning signs of a diminished resistance to infections Has your skin become visibly thicker? Has your skin become visibly drier? Is your skin shedding? Is your skin showing cracks? Has your skin become yellower? Do small wounds heal slower?
If the reply to any of these 6 questions is yes, then using specialised diabetes skin care products such as (Product name removed) range and following a better skin care routine need to be your first priority to avoid further problems and complications.
Last edited by cugila on October 19th, 2010, 3:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason:Product names removed from post. Advertising. Forum Policy.
Stratique wrote: using specialised diabetes skin care products such as
Specialised diabetes skin care, whatever next, diabetic shampoo? Think I'll stick with a bit of moisturiser on me *plates in the morning if its all the same to you...
*plates - Plates of meat = feet
Coming from Sauf London I never managed to master the Queens English fact is I barely grasped broken English but even I know that etiquette dictates that a first post should start with some form of greeting such as 'Hello' or 'Hi' it makes your post seem less like a sales pitch, just a little Sauf London tip for ya
Latest HbA1c 32 (5.1%) - 500mg Metformin bi daily & Diet ~ reduced carb, portion control and low GI carbs where possible
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Hi Rubbing in some plain olive oil will do the trick if you cant afford moistureisers ,it doesnt smell as nice but if you dont use the stuff you cooked your chips in(celairiac of course) you should be ok CAROL
I was told by a chiropodist the best foot cream is a pot of plain old aqeous cream with a few drops of both tea tree (anti bacterial) and lavender (relaxing) essential oils in it. I have been using this for years now. Really cheap, smells nice and does a good job. Use moisturising socks with it overnight and it works a treat. Beats any expensive foot cream I have ever bought. Sometimes I live life in the fast lane and add peppermint oil
DX Nov 2009- Type 2, diet only and taking control!!!!!!!
Yep, aqueous cream can be used but you should be aware peeps that it can cause problems, especially if you have dry skin. It was supposed to be used as an alternative to soap, not left on the skin. It doesn't have a lot of moisturiser in it and some brands have detergents in them. Please use with care if you have any skin problems
Diagnosed T2, 8 months ago.Diet only. Hbac1 6.5 . Low carbing my way to a new wardrobe
For tough days... 'Who said it was your job to hold up the sky?'
The only proverb I have ever paid attention to : Take what you want and pay for it, says god.
Am I the only one who uses normal products bought in shops then? I'm a bit of a moisturiser addict to be honest but haven't changed what I buy since becoming Diabetic although I do have some Lotil for my sore leg at the moment and some silly expensive stuff that was a treat and cost about £30.
A year prior to diagnosis with T2 I developed an all over body rash which started as hives about 1 inch in size which grew bigger and bigger until they all connected and each of my arms and legs were one huge hive, very swollen and I can't even describe how itchy my whole body was. It lasted for 10 months, the hives never went away, as one diminished another would replace it. My body felt like I had thousands of ants crawling around under my skin and I literally became suicidal because I couldn't sleep, I couldn't rest because of the itching and my body was continually swelling up. My GP just kept putting me on antihistamines which did not do a thing to help. They didn't reduce the itch or the rash or the swelling. Eventually one morning I felt as if my face had taken on a life of its own, my eyes were barely visible, my lips were huge but more frighteningly, my airways were narrowing.
Luckily I had the presence of mind and the medical knowledge to dial 999 and say 'Anaphylaxis' to the operator. She kept me on the phone, told me to go and unlock my front door and to wait for the ambulance. They arrived literally in minutes and administered adrenalin to me in the ambulance and then took me to hospital. None of the doctors knew what had caused the rash and I was drip fed with antihistamines and steroids and eventually diagnosed with 'Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria' which basically means chronic hives of unknown cause. I left hospital still with the rash and the itching but at least my throat was now open.
Everything has a cause, whether we find it or not is another matter, but nothing happens without a cause. So I was unhappy with being given an Epipen and basically told to forget all about it, but to keep the Epipen on me just in case. I was also told I must NEVER be given ACE Inhibitors, Proton Pump Inhibitors or NSAIDS but was not told WHY.
My other worry was that my youngest son had had a similar episode a year before me for no apparent reason. His episode didn't last as long as mine but was severe enough for him to have to go to hospital. He was also given steroids and antihistamines but orally. He wasn't given an Epipen.
My rash has gone but my skin still itches but not as unbearably as back then. I know that diabetes sometimes brings skin problems and that it can also have an autoimmune aspect to it and I wonder if anyone else has had a similar experience or knows anything about the autoimmune aspect of diabetes? Any light anyone can shed on this would be much appreciated.