Skin & Nail Changes Associated with Diabetes

11 August, 2022

 Diabetes has a significant impact on the skin of the feet and lower legs making regular pedicures a necessity. 

Unfortunately, a diabetic shouldn’t walk into just any salon and get any pedicure. Why? Because diabetics suffer from many complex issues that make the feet more susceptible to damage and infection.

Brittle nails, cracked heels and scaling skin.   The condition of our skin and nails can reveal a lot of secrets about our health.   Changes to nail texture and thickness, or even skin elasticity can signal systemic medical conditions before other symptoms appear. 

When you have a chronic disease such as diabetes, it is important to pay attention to the health of your skin and nails.  

Nail Health & Diabetes

In some people with diabetes, the nails take on a yellowish hue and become brittle. This is often associated with the breakdown of sugar and its effect on the collagen in nails. In certain cases, this yellowing of nails can be a sign of a nail infection. People with diabetes are more likely than those without diabetes to get a fungal infection in the nails which called onychomycosis.  

The thickening of the nails which goes along with fungal nails can make it harder and more painful to walk.  Thickened nails are also sharper than usual and can dig into the skin of the feet, putting the individual at risk for a break in the skin.  

Proper care of the nails in a diabetic includes frequent trimming of the nails, early management of fungal infections with products such as the Footlogix Nail Tincture Spray and diabetic education of the risks of infection if the nails are neglected. 

Skin Health & Diabetes

The skin is the largest organ of the human body and is packed with nerves and blood vessels that allow us to sense touch, temperature, pain, and pressure.   Diabetes can affect the nerves and blood vessels in your body, including those in your skin.  

When diabetes affects the skin, it is often a sign that blood sugar levels are too high.   Some of the most common skin changes seen in the feet and lower legs include:   diabetic dermopathy (small, round brownish patches, usually on the shins), diabetic blisters, eruptive xanthomatosis (condition caused by excessively high lipids in the blood), fungal infections and dry itchy skin.
In addition to the management of blood sugar levels, skin health in a diabetic includes immediate care of any breaks in the skin.

Look for hydrating products that are absorbed into the skin quickly and contain urea, which locks in moisture.  Footlogix DD Cream Mousse and Footlogix Very Dry Skin Formula is ideal for diabetics and seniors, as well as people with sensitive skin.

Despite these risks, diabetics can (and should!) get regular pedicures to maintain foot health and prevent future skin issues. The key is providing the right pedicure treatment using diabetic-safe products and educated technicians.