Old fortresses and cities used to have thick walls surrounding their borders. They weren’t impenetrable, but they served as an excellent first line of defense that made it much harder for any outsiders to force their way in. Your body has its own “wall” that does something similar—your skin. However, issues like diabetes can severely weaken it, which is why diabetic skin care is necessary for maintaining your health.
Why the Skin Matters
Your skin serves as the all-encompassing first line of defense against foreign invaders. It’s good at its job, too. Unless pathogens find some sort of break or cut, they usually can’t enter the body directly through your layers and layers of skin cells. Of course, the skin isn’t invincible. Diabetes can weaken it, making it more prone to injuries that allow infections to enter the body. That is why good diabetic skin care, especially on your lower limbs, is so important.
Diabetes dries out the skin, partly because the fluids used to keep it moist are lost through excess urination, and partly because the condition damages the nerves directing your sweat glands to secrete moisture. This particularly impacts your lower limbs, which rely on sweat to maintain your skin’s flexibility. Damage to your circulatory system also impairs your body’s ability to heal itself. All of these factors come together to create circumstances that are detrimental to the health of your skin.
Weakened skin is far more prone to calluses, cracking, peeling, and blisters than healthy tissue. While these problems are uncomfortable in their own right, they also open your body to possible infections. Your risk for fungal and bacterial problems increases dramatically. You’re also more likely to develop slow-healing ulcers. Because your immune system is compromised, all of these problems are more serious for your body than they might be for someone without diabetes. They could actually lead to limb amputation or other life-threatening complications if they are allowed to get out of hand.
How to Care for Your Skin
The best way to protect your feet from skin complications is to invest in good diabetic skin care. Daily care habits can help protect you from minor problems, and catch any issues before they advance too far. You’ll need to pay close attention to your lower limbs and any sort of unusual changes that develop. Our team here at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle will help you check your feet on a regular basis as well as establish healthy habits to maintain your skin.
Make sure you wash the skin on your feet every day with mild soap and warm, not hot, water. Then pat your feet dry, especially between the toes. You may want to preventatively treat your lower limbs with an anti-fungal powder or spray. Moisturize your feet carefully with a thick cream or ointment, offering extra attention to your heels and anywhere that seems dry.
Inspect your feet for changes every day as well. Look for breaks in the skin, like cuts or blisters, and clean and cover those right away. If they appear red and possibly infected, have them examined by our team immediately. Also, watch for discoloration, lumps, bumps, and unusual bruises. Make sure you wear warm, fitted socks and protective shoes at all times, too.
If you notice any changes or damage to the skin on your feet and ankles, don’t ignore it. The sooner a potential problem is caught, the easier it is to treat—and the easier it is to remedy. Waiting too long could allow a dangerous complication to take hold. Instead, invest in your diabetic skin care. Request more information or an appointment from our team here at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle in Berkley, MI, by calling (248) 545-0100 or usingour online contact form.