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Vtla Kaliseji - Native American Diabetes Resources

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Diabetic Skin Care

Prevent Infection and other issues

Diabetic Skin Care, courtesy of the American Diabetes Association.

Diabetes can affect every part of the body, including the skin. As many as one third of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder caused or affected by diabetes at some time in their lives. In fact, such problems are sometimes the first sign that a person has diabetes. Luckily, most skin conditions can be prevented or easily treated if caught early.

Good Skin Care

There are several things you can do to head off skin problems:

1. Keep your diabetes well managed. People with high glucose levels tend to have dry skin and less ability to fend off harmful bacteria. Both conditions increase the risk of infection.

2. Keep skin clean and dry. Use talcum powder in areas where skin touches skin, such as armpits and groin.

3. Avoid very hot baths and showers. If your skin is dry, don't use bubble baths. Moisturizing soaps may help. Afterward, use a standard skin lotion, but don't put lotions between toes. The extra moisture there can encourage fungus to grow.

4. Prevent dry skin. Scratching dry or itchy skin can open it up and allow infection to set in. Moisturize your skin to prevent chapping, especially in cold or windy weather.

5. Treat cuts right away. Wash minor cuts with soap and water. Do not use Mercurochrome antiseptic, alcohol, or iodine to clean skin because they are too harsh. Only use an antibiotic cream or ointment if your doctor says it's okay. Cover minor cuts with sterile gauze. See a doctor right away if you get a major cut, burn, or infection.

6. During cold, dry months, keep your home more humid. Bathe less during this weather, if possible.

7. Use mild shampoos. Do not use feminine hygiene sprays.

8. See a dermatologist (skin doctor) about skin problems if you are not able to solve them yourself.

9. Take good care of your feet. Check them every day for sores and cuts. Wear broad, flat shoes that fit well. Check your shoes for foreign objects before putting them on.

Vtla Kaliseji's note:

Okay, with all that information, what is the best skin care to use on your body?

Naturally, the best skin care for you is based on personal taste, allergies, and what level of moisturization you need. Many dermatologists recommend (at least in my dad's case) Oil of Olay as being a gentle cleanser for the skin. My dad was down to one vein in each leg by the latter part of his life, and his legs had very delicate skin, easy to tear or crack. My mother used Oil of Olay bar soap and body wash to care for his skin, and she had great results with it.

One of the best moisturizers out there (and best bang for your buck) is by a small company called Basin, who have a retail location at Walt Disney World. Their body butter is very soothing, contains natural ingredients, and best of all, a variety of scents or you can go the unscented route. A 4 ounce jar of Body Butter can last a long time; a little goes a long, long way.

Some of the most popular moisturizers are Eucerin, Oil of Olay, Nivea, Aveeno and Jergens, which are all available at any drugstore or supermarket. I like Oil of Olay myself, and Aveeno I have used with good results. Nivea has a wonderful little tin of moisturizer which is wonderful for your pocket or purse, and costs around a buck or two.

Many, but not I, alas, swear by Neutrogena; I dislike their skin care products, but their sunscreen is outstanding as you can get the following SPF protection: 55 SPF, 60 SPF, 70 SPF and even...yup they have it, 100 SPF. You can find 'em all at your local drugstore/grocery store, or has frequent specials.

One outstanding moisturizer is made by a Native American owned and operated skin care company called Sister Sky. The products are based on traditional Native American herbology and plant use. One of the owners has a son with severe eczema, and when store products were ineffective, she created her own and it's pretty good stuff. It's called Kevin's Cure. There are also great body washes, soaps and shampoos with cedar or sweetgrass scent; the sweetgrass scent is terrific.

Of course, if these are too expensive, you can make your own. I make this particular face butter (which I call Ukadv Gotlvnv) myself and although it is very oily, it works when my skin is extremely dry and flaky, which my chin can get from time to time; I use it on my heels, feet and dry areas as well. Please note the different ingredients and take into mind your personal allergies. You can always do a patch test (testing a product by putting a very small amount either behind your ear or on the back of your elbow, leave on overnight to see if you are allergic) before you use a product for the first time. If you are not sure what is best for you, ask your physician. The items to make this are available in any drug store; sometimes you can get them at a discount chain for far less.

Ukadv Gotlvnv

2 ounces 100% cocoa butter

2 ounces 100% shea butter

1 teaspoon store brand unscented moisturizer

Take the shea and cocoa butter, and in a glass container, melt in a microwave for about a minute at half power. When the two butters are liquified, they will turn clear. Remove from heat; add the teaspoon of moisturizer and stir all ingredients with a plastic spoon (not metal) until they are blended. Pour into a clean jar or container that can close tightly (Please do not use a plastic bag as this will make a big mess.) Refrigerate for at least two hours to harden. Keep in refrigerator if in a hot area; it will melt if kept in a warm car or hot location. Makes 4 ounces.

How to use: Take a small amount, about the size of a peppermint breath mint, and work it between your hands until the oil spreads on both hands (a little dab will be enough.) After heating the moisturizer between your hands, spread and massage into dry areas. It's better to use small amounts as this does get oily, even though the oils involved are absorbed, it's best to use enough for your skin to absorb it rather than make a colossal mess. The jar will last a month if not more, as you only use very small amounts. Feet and legs are areas that can get dry easily on diabetics; even though I call it "face butter" because of my own skin condition, it's safe to use anywhere. Again, patch test for safety. Note: Do not add straight petroleum jelly. It doesn't work as well and makes a huge mess. The two butters once refrigerated work beautifully.

Experiment, using different moisturizers and products, to see what works best; purchase trial or travel sizes so you aren't out a lot of cash. As for the moisturizer teaspoon above, it's to help the two oils blend and act as a binder. I use either Oil of Olay or Nivea, depending on my pocket book.



FTC Mandate Note: Again, in order to comply with FTC rules: any and all samples or testers of the products listed above were bought and paid for by myself and I was not given any of these products either through a retail or wholesale distributor. I was not paid by anyone to review or test these products. Please check withyour personal physician prior to using anything for your diabetic skin and/or conditions.