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Say Goodbye to Dry Skin

Dry skin, a frequently overlooked complication of diabetes, is an irritating side effect of chronically high blood glucose levels. Try these tricks to keep your skin healthy and soft.

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Say Goodbye to Dry Skin

Everyone gets dry skin from time to time. But for people with diabetes, it can be a chronic problem if your blood glucose levels are regularly high. High blood glucose causes the body to lose fluids at a faster rate. Skin can also become dry when nerves are damaged from years of diabetes and don't get the message to sweat.

For people with diabetes, dry skin can become more than an irritation -- it can be dangerous. When skin is dry, it sloughs off easier, and often the outer layer is lost. This outer layer is your skin's first defense against bacteria and acts as a barrier. And because bacteria feed on glucose, people with diabetes whose blood glucose isn't in control have a higher risk of bacterial infection -- the bacteria are literally on a feeding frenzy in the higher glucose levels. That's why even the tiniest cut can become a major infection when your glucose levels are regularly high.

Experts say it's vital to keep a close eye on your skin. If you identify a cut, scratch, or burn early, it's possible to avoid major complications such as an amputation.

"Don't wait! Even if a skin condition appears to be minor, see your doctor," says Fran Cook-Bolden, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University in New York City.

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