Although blood sugar levels might not appear to have much to do with your skin, high blood sugar can indeed cause itching all over!
What’s going on?In serious cases, high glucose in the blood can set off an immune system response and release cytokines into the bloodstream. These cytokines are associated with inflammation and can lead to itchiness in diabetics, just as they can affect people with eczema or viral rash. The worry is that diabetics with itchy skin are at risk of nerve damage, so if you’re diabetic and get itchy, please do check in with your diabetic team!
Diabetes are also more at risk of dry skin, and that in itself can cause itchiness. High blood sugars pull fluid from the body and the skin loses the moisture it needs to repair its defences. A compromised skin barrier will lead to further moisture loss, damage and cracked skin. And that, in turn, leaves the skin more open to infection and external irritants which can cause inflammation and itchiness.
It’s a vicious circle of dryness, damage and itch!
What can you do?
- Have regular check-ups with your diabetic team
- Treat your skin with extra care: moisturise regularly with an oil-rich emollient
- Steer clear of irritants which can cause more damage: perfumes, sulphates (ie SLS), harsh preservatives, etc.
- Use soap-free washes or bars: soap is renowned for stripping natural oils from the skin
- Keep baths short and warm, not long and hot
- Manage your blood-sugars as well as possible
Recommended products for itchy skin:
We’d recommend using our intensive Skin Salvation ointment if your hands or feet get really dry or cracked; Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream for day-to-day maintenance; and our antimicrobial rescue oil (Balmonds Scalp Oil) to keep feet or other areas clean and help ward off fungal infections.Our refreshing Cooling Cream can be great for sensitive and dehydrated diabetic skin too, and try our versatile Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash if you need the gentlest of soap-free cleansers.