Hands care tips
Fotosearch/Getty ImagesBy keeping your blood glucose on target, you can avoid a major cause of dry skin.
Our hands sometimes have it rough: Harsh soaps and hot water can zap moisture and produce chapped or cracked skin. And blood glucose checks can leave fingers a little worse for wear. Read on for 12 ways to protect your skin.
1. Maintain Control
Diabetes control can improve the state of your skin. When your blood glucose is elevated, your body flushes some of the excess sugar by urinating, says Cleveland Clinic diabetes educator Shannon Knapp, RN, BSN, CDE, who has type 1 diabetes. That gets rid of necessary fluids and can lead to dehydrated skin. By keeping your blood glucose in line, you can avoid dehydration that can cause serious health problems in addition to dry skin.
2. Moisturize Often
Keeping skin hydrated is important because dry skin more easily breaks, providing a perfect entry for harmful bacteria. And people with diabetes are more susceptible to infection than those without. By regularly moisturizing, you can stop dry skin before it starts. Knapp says the type of moisturizer you use doesn’t make a difference—some are advertised specifically for people with diabetes, but you’re not required to use only those. Certain moisturizers may be more appropriate for daytime versus overnight, however. Ointments such as Vaseline, for instance, are oilier than lotions and creams and may leave hands too greasy for daytime use but can be helpful overnight.
3. Skip Scents
Think twice before slathering on scented moisturizer. “You don’t want scented lotions because that can affect your blood sugar reading, ” Knapp says. Testing with fragrant lotion on your fingertips can lead to falsely high readings. Of course, even if you use unscented lotion, wash your hands before checking your blood glucose. But you can skip the alcohol wipes, which can dry out skin.
4. Cover Up
Next time you do the dishes, protect your hands by wearing dishwashing gloves. They’ll shield your skin from harsh dish soaps, which can dry out skin.
5. Lower the Heat
Hand-washing is essential, but constantly dousing your hands in hot water can dehydrate them. Instead, wash your hands in warm water, which won’t leave skin as parched.