Diabetes and Skin

Integumentary system

This system is composed of the skin and skin derivatives such as hair, nails, and glands. The skin is the major organ of the integumentary system. It is the body's largest organ, accounts for 155 of body weight and is available to serve and protect the body from the external environment.

Functions of the skin

  • Helps regulate the body temperature
  • Protects the underlying body tissues
  • Receives stimuli from the external environment
  • Excretes water, salts and certain organic compounds
  • Synthesizes vitamin D
  • Renders immunity via specialized cells.




Protection Rendered by the melanin pigment -protects the skin from the sun's rays melanin is synthesized by melanocytes Absence of melanin results in albinism
Temperature regulation Heat is lost through the skin by evaporation, radiation, convection, conduction by sweat at the surface of the skin Heat is conserved by reduction of sweat and constriction of blood vessels -
Communication stimuli from the environment are received by specialized skin receptors which communicate information to the nervous system Pressure pain, touch, and temperature
Excretion Glands in the skin excrete water fatty substances, and certain ions -
Metabolism In the presence of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, Vitamin D molecules are synthesized from precursor molecules accumulating in the skin. Final synthesis occurs in the kidneys. Obtained from Milk
Absorption Fat soluble vitamins A,E,K, and steroid hormones are released by the glands in the skin and then absorbed into the skin tissues. -

Organs of the Integumentary System

Epidermis Protects underlying tissues
Dermis Nourishes the epidermis, provides strength
Hair Follicles
Produce Hair
Provide sensation and some protection for head
secrete lipid coating that lubricates hair shaft
Sweat glands
Sebaceous glands
Produce perspiration for evaporative cooling
Secrete sebum which consists of lipids and oils that keep hair and skin soft and supple
Nails protect and stiffen distal tips of digits
Sensory receptors Provide sensations of touch and pressure, temperature, and pain
Superficial fascia stores fat
Skeletal muscles Allow the facial expressions

The Skin in Diabetes



Excessive dry skin Due to dehydration from poorly controlled diabetes Skin lubricants, rehydration, control blood sugar
Fatty Plaques Orange yellow in colour and may appear around eyes or on the shins or elbows May be related to high cholesterol and triglycerides reduce dietary saturated fats and cholesterol
NLD Thinning of the skin due to inflammation. discoloration, and dimpling may occur The layer of fat is destroyed. More common in women. Skin may degrade and break open getting infected
Fungal Infections Athletes foot is common in diabetics. Blisters and itchy scaling between the toes should be treated immediately

The care of the skin in diabetics is very important. The skin's role as a protective barrier is significant in the presence of bacteria loving high levels of sugar. Once the skin is broken then bacteria will quickly invade the system.

Diabetic neuropathy leaves the feet very vulnerable. Damage can occur to skin that has a significant loss of sensation.

The following are rules for care of the feet:-

  • 1. Never soak your feet
  • 2. Never apply heat of any kind to the feet
  • 3. Never cut the toenails, use a file
  • 4. Never wear shoes that do not fit.
  • 5. Never go barefoot
  • 6. Never use strong medicines on your feet
  • 7. Never allow corns or calluses to go untreated
  • 8. Never perform bathroom surger on your feet
  • 9. Never keep you feet too moist or too dry
  • 10. Never assume that the circulation in your feet is normal.

Skin Care

Foods for Health Skin

Vitamins and Minerals

Herbal Therapy

Body Work

Mineral Rich foods such as:
leafy greens
bell peppers
broccoli, rapini
sesame and sunflower seeds
fish and sea vegetables
-vitamin C,E, betacarotene
cultured foods including:
cleansing foods:
fresh fruit and cucumbers
Spring or distilled water
Aloe Vera juice daily
Watermelon juice
-alkaline in nature and contains silica

Eliminate red meats, fried and fatty foods, reduce salt, caffeine and dairy foods

Face lifts include:
  • yoghurt to balance Ph
  • oatmeal to exfoliate
  • honey for ecternal enzyme therapy
  • eggs for wrinkles

Silica capsules or powder
Pycnogenol 50 mg. daily
Ascorbate Vitamin C with bioflavonoids
Collagen tabs or powder
Essential fatty acids
Flax seed oil capsules
Acidophilus or Bifidum culture caps or in natural yoghurt
Royal bee jelly

Vitamin and mineral facial:
  • 1 vitamin A&D capsule 25,000iu
  • 1 Vitamin E capsule 400 IU
  • 1 tablet of Zinc 30 mg
  • 1 PABA 100 mgm
Mix with 2 tsp of wheat germ oil, Smear on face, let dry and rinse off
Essential Fatty Acids:
Evening Primrose Oil
Borage Seed Oil
Blackcurrant Oil
Blood Cleansing herbs:
Pau d'arco
Antioxidant herbs:
Dandelion Root
Bioflavonoid sources:
Bilberry Extract
Hydrating Herbs:
Rosehips in lemon juice
Witch Hazel
Aromatherapy Massage oil of:
Juniper 10%
Lavender 2%
in an olive oil base

Massage for 10 minutes, Wash then apply lavender cream

For dry cracked skin Use:
Clary Sage in Olive oil


  • The Joslin Guide to Diabetes - Beaser and Hill
  • Anatomy and Physiology the Easy Way - Barrons
  • The Black Health Library Guide to Diabetes - Henry and Johnson
  • Healthy Healing - Rector-Page

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