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Summer and diabetes: How to protect your skin

Posted on by Bonnie L Bosley, BA, RN, CDE

 

Protecting skin from the sun’s damaging rays and the summer heat is important for everyone, but especially important for people with diabetes. Learn why and steps you can take to keep your skin healthy year round.

Sunburn and how to avoid it

Some medications used to treat high blood sugars, such as Glipizide, can cause a person to be more sensitive to sunlight. Sunburn is a stress on the body that is not only painful, but can contribute to elevated blood sugars.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using one ounce of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, applied to all exposed skin. Remember to apply before you go out in the sun and then reapply every two hours after being in the water or after perspiring heavily.

The impact of perspiration

The summer heat can also lead to more perspiration and moisture between toes and folds of the skin. Warm, moist areas are a breeding ground for yeast.

This moist environment, combined with high sugars, provides sugar-concentrated skin cells that can lead to harmful bacterial infections. Regular bathing, carefully patting skin dry, and the use of a cornstarch powder in skin folds and between toes can help keep moisture in check.

High blood sugar and dry skin

Dry skin is another problem to look out for during the summer months. High blood sugars can make it difficult for the body to retain necessary fluids. Here are some solutions for handling dry skin, not only during the summer, but year round:

  • Know the ingredients you put on your skin. For example, alcohol-based products and lotions that contain fragrances can irritate and dry sensitive skin.
  • Turn the temperature down in your shower or bath so that it is warm instead of hot. Afterwards, lightly pat your skin dry and always apply moisturizing lotion.
  • Wear fabrics, like 100% cotton, that breath next to your skin.

And finally: Remember the most important tip to healthy skin is keeping your blood sugar within your goal range.

 | Diabetes & Nutrition Center

Bonnie L Bosley, BA, RN, CDE, is a nurse and diabetes educator with Lancaster General Health’s Diabetes & Nutrition Center. After years of working as a registered nurse, Bosley returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in health education from Western Maryland College. She enjoys making a difference in the lives of patients by consulting individually and in the classroom.

Tagsblood sugardiabetesperspirationskinsummersummer tipssunburnUV

 
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