Dry skin can be a consequence of diabetes mellitus and, among other things, elevated blood sugar values reduce the ability of the skin to store moisture. The skin dries out and its protective barrier is weakened.1
Most Severely Affected:
The Skin Of The Foot
In diabetics, the so-called diabetic foot syndrome often makes the feet a particular “problem zone”. The skin produces insufficient sweat and overheats.
It is additionally insufficiently supplied with nutrients and oxygen. As such it has little defence against infections. In addition, sensation of pain is usually also reduced. Therefore, small injuries remain unnoticed and frequently become contaminated. Inflammation occurs rapidly and only heals with great difficulty.2,3,4
Diabetics should regularly have their feet checked by a doctor or podiatrist and pay the greatest attention to their foot care. In diabetes, the foot has special requirements and, therefore, products should be used that are adapted to these needs.
The skin will need a particularly high amount of moisture.
Preventative care of the feet, including using an appropriate moisturising product should be an essential part of the daily foot care routine.5,6
Special characteristics of diabetic skin
- Reduced sweat gland activity
- Skin problems, e.g. dryness, calloused skin, pressure marks, itching, cracked skin, etc.
- Damaged skin barrier
- Callus formations
Source: Pavicic T., Korting, H.C., JDDG; 2016 Nov.; 4(11): 935-41 Xerosis and callus formation as a key to the diabetic foot syndrom: Dermatologic view of the problem and its management.
Applying conventional cream formulations between the toes can involve risks for diabetics.7
The application of a foam cream does not involve this risk because it spreads out evenly on the skin and is rapidly absorbed.7
In the image above, the conventional cream is applied while the toes are spread apart. When the toes are then put back together again in the shoe, the cream that was left behind unnoticed while the toes were spread apart, is then pushed back together (see picture on right).
This residual cream can cause moisture to build up and lead to additional damage between the toes, and this increases the risk of fungal and bacterial infections which in turn leads to a major risk of complications (ulceration/amputation), particularly for diabetics who suffer from diabetic foot syndrome.7
Looking after your feet is best done every day. Just a few minutes every day can be enough to help prevent serious problems in the future. Here are the key things you can do to look after your feet8
- Develop your own daily foot care routine. This means washing and moisturising your feet and checking them for injuries or changes to your skin.
- Wear the right shoes and socks. Many foot problems are caused by footwear that doesn’t fit properly. Choose well fitting shoes that protect and support your feet and never go barefoot.
- Take care of your feet. Get nail or skin problems treated quickly and look after your toenails.
- If you see a problems starting, take action quickly. Learn how to take care of injuries and know when and where to get help if a problem is more serious8.
1. Dr Rainer Thiede, Dr Martin Lederle, Prof Rolf Daniels: Skin Care and Diabetes, Diabetes and the Skin 2011 2nd edition:35-39
2. Lawall H, Reike H: Diabetic Foot Syndromje. Der Inernist 2009, 50(8):936-944
3. StieglerH: Diabetic Foot Syndrome. Herz 2004, 29(1):104-115
4. Lobmann R: Diabetic Foot Syndrome. Der Internist 2011, 52(5),536-548
5. Nationale VersorgungsLeitlinie: Therapie des Typ-2-Diabetes
6. PatientenLeitlinie zur Nationalen VersorgungsLeitlinie:Typ-2-Diabetes
7. Prof.R. Daniels: Foam Creams – Effective Skin Care in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus, Spraul M, Apelqvist J: Skin and Foot, Medical Skin Care of Patients with Diabetic Foot Syndrome. Thieme Praxis Report 2013:5(11):12-14
8. Judith Anders MChS, Podiatrist, The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists – Diabetes and Your Feet 2009.