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Winter Skin

Skin care tips for those living with diabetes

Winter is approaching, often bringing with it cooler, drier air. That change in air may affect your skin, says Michael Gold, MD, medical director of Gold Skin Care Center and assistant clinical professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Living with diabetes may itself affect your skin; to help, Dr. Gold points out some skin conditions to watch for, plus offers tips on how to keep skin as healthy as possible when the weather gets nippy. Always talk to your diabetes care team about any skin care questions you may have.

Dry skin

People living with diabetes are prone to dry skin and winter, with its low humidity and overheated inside air, may make the issue worse. So, says Dr. Gold, “It’s essential that those living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes remain extra vigilant about keeping skin supple and moisturized.”

Tips: Dr. Gold recommends moisturizing as often as you can, at least twice a day. Avoid long, hot showers and always pat rather than rub skin dry, and moisturize immediately when pores are still open from the warm (not hot!) water. Choose an unscented or mildly scented emollient lotion, though anything too thick or greasy may make dressing afterwards sticky and awkward.


Like dry skin, itching is often a common winter skin issue, especially for those living with diabetes.

Tips: Dr. Gold recommends discussing any itching with your healthcare team who may suggest topical products, such as those containing menthol or phenol, which may help curb the itching on contact.

Other conditions

Dr. Gold mentions a range of other skin conditions that may be more common among those living with diabetes, including fungal and bacterial infections. “See your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect any of these conditions,” says Dr. Gold.

“Take some basic precautions, such as never sharing makeup or skin care products, and avoid store samples.” Adds Dr. Gold, “with any secondary symptom of diabetes, you need to make sure the underlying condition is being well managed.”

Elizabeth Goodman Artis is a writer and editor with nearly twenty years of experience at some of the top women’s magazines in the country. She has held senior editorial positions at Cosmopolitan, Fitness, and Prevention, and is currently the Executive Editor of Shape. She lives in Brooklyn.

© 2014 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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