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Dry Skin on Feet – A Sign of Diabetes

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Hard, dry skin on the feet is a very common complaint. But what is simply an unsightly problem and a nuisance for most people, can lead to chronic complications and even amputation for a person with diabetes.

Dry skin and diabetes are closely linked. In fact, often the first sign of diabetes is some sort of skin disorder. (Diabetes is increasing. Diabetes UK estimates that by 2025, four million people in the UK will have the condition, 75 percent of which will suffer from a dry skin complaint.)

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People with diabetes experience fluctuations in blood glucose levels. When glucose levels are high, the body looses vital fluids, causing the skin to become extra dry, particularly on the feet and legs. This, coupled with poor circulation, also causes a loss of nerve sensitivity in the feet, so cracking of dry hard skin on feet can lead to serious infection, which may go unnoticed and become very difficult to treat.

Skin conditions can be especially troublesome for a person with diabetes, because the body's ability to renew and heal itself is suppressed.

Although there's no short-term cure for diabetes, there's a very good chance that the problem of dry skin on the feet can be cured in a matter of weeks. It just takes a little more effort than for those who don't have an underlying medical condition.

Hard, dry skin needs nourishment and moisture to repair itself, but some commercial skin care products can be more drying and irritating to the skin. It is better to use products that contain only natural ingredients to treat and nourish diabetic skin and promote the growth of new skin cells.

Tips on choosing natural remedies for dry skin on feet

  1. Use bath and shower products that are 'natural' and therefore less drying to the skin than harsher petro-chemical based products.
  2. Choose products with natural emollients that soften and soothe the skin, like natural butters and waxes.
  3. Balms and ointments work better than lotions when treating hard dry skin on the feet, as they trap essential moisture.
  4. Choose products that contain 'organic glycerin', a natural humectant which will draw moisture to the skin.
  5. Treat the feet daily. Foot treatments are best applied at night when they are less likely to be wiped off by socks.
  6. Finally, if a product carries a well respected symbol like the Soil Association, you can be fairly sure that it does what it says on the jar.

Wendy Stirling is a passionate advocate of natural skin care and organic products. She is creator of Botanicals Natural Skin Care, including a range of natural organic foot care preparations which are approved by Diabetes UK.

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