If you happen to have diabetes, you may be all too well acquainted with that annoying, itchy feeling. It is a very common sign of heightened blood glucose levels, which is also diabetes’s defining factor.
But good news! We have provided you with multiple ways to achieve much-needed and much-deserved relief from such unbearable itchiness. Read on to find out how to soothe any irritated skin you might have.
Method #1: Lifestyle Changes
1. Prevent Your Skin from Becoming Dry
Keeping your skin well-hydrated is a must. You can do so using a variety of skin creams and moisturizers. However, it is of utmost importance that you avoid any scented creams and lotions, as your skin may have a reaction to them, resulting in even more itching!
Make sure to moisturize your skin on a daily basis, after showering would be best. Once again, be sure to use mild soaps instead of scented versions, as they may further irritate and dry out your skin due to their chemical content.
2. Change The Way You Bathe
While bathing is always considered a good thing, doing it too frequently can only worsen your itching. So best to limit bathing to once every second day. Of course, the frequency can vary depending on your activities, as well other outside factors such as climate.
Furthermore, avoid washing with water which is too hot, as that causes further skin irritation. Best to use water at room temperature or even lower. Hot water is also bad for another reason: it dilates one’s vessels, which also speeds up the metabolism of insulin.
This can trigger hypoglycemia. And yet another reason why diabetics should steer clear of hot water is that those who also suffer from nerve damage, lose their sensitivity to temperature and pain, which may lead to them unknowingly burning themselves in an accident with spilled hot water.
3. Care for Your Skin During Summertime
While summer still remains the season for ‘fun in the sun’, one should keep in mind (not just diabetics) that the sun can cause damage and further irritate your skin. That’s why it’s a great idea to wear clothes made of linen, chiffon and cotton materials.
Certain other materials like silk and wool can cause even more itching and irritation. Also, while it’s natural to sweat in summer, dry and maintain your skin as dry as possible, as sweat may also lead towards itching.
A great way to maintain your skin in a perfectly hydrated condition, be sure to drink 8 glasses of pure, fresh water a day. If you happen to live in an arid climate, or are prone to more rigorous activity, you may need more than 8 glasses per day.
4. Care for Your Skin During Wintertime
Winter makes your skin dry due to the lack of humidity, which is why you should maintain it well-hydrated and moisturized. You can switch on a humidifier when your heating is on, as this greatly reduces your chances of the itching getting worse.
5. Lower Your Stress
You may have heard that stress only makes itching worse. So try and control your stress by practicing any relaxation techniques of your choice. Meditation and yoga are always great options, so are breathing techniques.
Method #2: Home Remedies
1. Cold Compress
You can use this to soothe skin and relieve any itchiness. You’d be surprised how effective it is. Hold it on the area which bothers you until you feel the much-welcomed relief. Taking cold showers is another option, although those with diabetes are discouraged from showering too often.
2. Oatmeal Mixture
Here is a simple recipe for making a nice, natural, soothing paste. All you need to do is combine ¼ a cup of water with 1 cup of oatmeal (colloidal), and give it a good stirring until you’ve made a thick paste. Apply to any affected areas and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
3. Baking Soda
Another way of natural calming an itch is applying baking soda by itself or making a special paste. All you do is mix 1 cup of baking powder with half a cup of water. Stir it until it is smooth using a spoon. Apply this paste to any affected areas and keep it on for 15 minutes before washing it off.
Method #3: Medication
1. Over the Counter Cream
There are plenty of over the counter medication creams which will easily soothe your itchy skin, just remember that a blob the size of a penny is more than sufficient for covering an area which is twice the size of your palm.
The cream you need is one which contains the following ingredients:
2. Steroidal Ointment
Another possibility for an itching cream you can obtain from the pharmacy is one containing steroids. One of your best bets, which is also available over the counter, is Hydrocortisone. You can also opt for beclomethasone, just don’t use steroidal creams or ointments for long periods.
3. Antifungal Creams
Those with diabetes usually have a weaker immune system, which makes them more prone to getting infections, such as a yeast (fungal) infection. It can grow on your skin and bring about itchiness. Keep an eye out for antifungal creams which include these ingredients:
- benzoic acid
4. Antihistamine Pills
Did you know that the hormone which is responsible for your itching is called histamine? So you can easily guess what an antihistamine pill does. It suppresses this hormone, which results in less itching and soothed skin. The most common kind include:
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
Just keep in mind that such antihistamines are bound to give you a feeling of drowsiness.
5. Consult Your Doctor
In case any of the above measures don’t seem to work all that well for you, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about any other possible options. Maybe the cause of your itch still needs to be discovered, and your doctor can decide on what further steps to take.