How to Prevent Diabetic Itchy Skin

Do you ever find yourself battling an intense, frustrating itch that just won’t quit? If you have diabetes, this might be a familiar experience. Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, is a surprisingly common symptom in diabetics, affecting a significant percentage of people with diabetes. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), approximately one-third of people with diabetes will experience itchy skin at some point.

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This persistent itch can significantly affect your quality of life, impacting sleep, causing discomfort, and leading to anxiety. But why exactly does diabetes contribute to itchy skin? The answer lies in the complex interaction between blood sugar levels and skin health. If you read this article, you will know how to prevent diabetic itchy skin. If you have diabetes, then you have to take different preventive steps for different complications to keep yourself fit and healthy. Prevention is better than cure, so if you can prevent it, then you do not need a cure. Being one step ahead always brings better results.

The Importance of Blood Sugar Control

Uncontrolled blood sugar, a hallmark of diabetes, directly impacts itchy skin. Chronically high levels can damage nerves, leading to diabetic neuropathy and its associated itching. High sugar level weakens the skin’s microvessels, hindering nourishment and contributing to dryness and irritation.

Research reveals a direct link between elevated blood sugar and worsened itch. Fortunately, managing your sugar levels effectively can significantly improve skin health and potentially reduce or eliminate the itch.

Key Strategies:

  • Follow your doctor’s guidance on medication, diet, and exercise.
  • Embrace a healthy diet low in processed foods and rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Prioritize regular exercise to improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Check your blood sugar levels regularly as recommended by your healthcare provider.

By managing your blood sugar, you manage your diabetes and potentially say goodbye to the itch.

How to Prevent Diabetic Itchy Skin?

We will divide the ways into two parts, Skincare Essentials and Specific Considerations.

Skincare Essentials

Developing a consistent and gentle skincare routine is crucial for preventing diabetic itchy skin. Here’s how to create a haven for your skin:

1. Gentle Cleansing:

  • Limit bath or shower time to 10-15 minutes with lukewarm water. Hot water strips away natural oils, worsening dryness. Avoid hot baths and showers, it can strip the skin of moisture, leading to dryness and itching.
  • Choose mild, fragrance-free soaps or cleansers specifically designed for sensitive skin. Look for products containing emollients like ceramides to help retain moisture.
  • Carefully pat your skin dry with a soft towel. Avoid rubbing, as this can irritate your skin.

2. Strategic Moisturizing:

  • Moisturize daily, twice a day (morning and after showering) at a minimum. Apply more frequently if your skin feels dry.
  • Opt for fragrance-free creams or ointments instead of lotions, as they provide a thicker barrier to lock in moisture. Look for moisturizers containing ceramides, which help restore the skin’s natural barrier.
  • Focus on areas prone to dryness and itching, such as your lower legs, arms, and hands.
  • Avoid applying lotion between your toes, as this can trap moisture and create a breeding ground for fungus.

3. Combat Dryness:

  • Use a humidifier to increase moisture in the air, especially during the dry winter season. This helps prevent your skin from losing moisture to the environment.
  • Wear breathable fabrics like cotton and silk as they allow your skin to breathe and prevent irritation.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals and irritants in laundry detergents, perfumes, and cleaning products. Opt for gentle, fragrance-free formulas.

Specific Considerations

While the general skincare principles apply to the entire body, certain areas require extra attention in the fight against diabetic itchy skin.

Foot Care:

  • Inspect your feet daily for any cuts, redness, blisters, or swelling. Pay close attention to areas between the toes, which are prone to moisture and infection.
  • Wash your feet daily with warm water and gentle soap, paying special attention to the spaces between your toes.
  • Dry your feet thoroughly with a soft towel, especially between your toes. Allow them to air dry completely before putting on socks or shoes.
  • Avoid applying lotion between your toes as it can trap moisture and create a breeding ground for fungus. Apply lotion only to the tops and sides of your feet.

Scratch Prevention:

  • Keep your nails short and smooth to minimize scratching damage.
  • Consider wearing gloves at night to prevent unconscious scratching during sleep.
  • Explore alternative itch-relief techniques such as applying cool compresses to itchy areas or using over-the-counter anti-itch creams approved by your doctor.

Addressing Infections:

It’s crucial to be vigilant about potential skin infections, which can worsen itching and become serious if left untreated. Ask for medical guidance if you experience any of the following:

  • Increased redness, swelling, or pain in a specific area
  • Pus or discharge from a skin lesion
  • Fever or chills
  • Worsening itch despite following self-care strategies

Early diagnosis and treatment of skin infections are essential for preventing complications and improving your overall comfort.

Lifestyle Modifications

While a dedicated skincare routine forms the foundation, managing diabetic itchy skin requires a holistic approach encompassing your overall lifestyle. Here are key modifications that can significantly impact your skin health and well-being:


Your skin relies on adequate water intake to maintain its natural moisture barrier and prevent dryness. Aim to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, aiming for eight glasses of water or more, depending on your individual needs and activity level. Opt for water, unsweetened tea, and other non-caffeinated beverages. Staying hydrated helps your skin look and feel plump and supple, reducing the risk of itching and irritation.

Stress Management:

Stress can be a potent trigger for various skin conditions, including itching. Chronic stress can disrupt your body’s natural balance and exacerbate existing skin problems. Prioritizing stress management techniques can significantly improve your overall well-being and potentially alleviate itchiness. Consider incorporating practices like:

  • Relaxation exercises: Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation can effectively reduce stress and promote calmness.
  • Mindfulness: Be present in the moment and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness practices can help manage stress and improve overall well-being.
  • Engaging in activities you enjoy: Prioritize hobbies and activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Healthy Diet:

A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients plays a vital role in both blood sugar control and skin health. Focus on consuming:

  • Fruits and vegetables: These are packed with antioxidants and vitamins essential for healthy skin.
  • Whole grains: Opt for whole grains over refined carbohydrates for sustained energy and improved blood sugar control.
  • Healthy fats: Include healthy fats like those found in fatty fish, nuts, and avocados in your diet. These fats contribute to healthy skin and inflammation management.

By adopting these lifestyle modifications, you can create a holistic approach to managing your diabetes and potentially reduce the bothersome itch associated with the condition.

Why Do People with Diabetes Get Itchy Skin?

FAQs About How to Prevent Diabetic Itchy Skin

What can I use to stop diabetic itching?

While self-care plays a crucial role, Consulting a healthcare professional is always crucial before starting any new treatment, including over-the-counter medications or creams. They can assess your specific situation and recommend the most appropriate approach.

In general, self-care strategies like gentle cleansing, regular moisturizing, addressing dryness, and avoiding irritants can significantly improve symptoms. Your doctor might also suggest specific creams or medications depending on your individual needs.

Why is diabetic skin so itchy?

Several factors contribute to itchy skin in individuals with diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugar can damage nerves and weaken blood vessels, impacting skin health and contributing to dryness and irritation. Additionally, dry skin itself can be itchy.

How do you stop sugar from itching?

It’s important to understand that sugar itself does not directly cause itching. However, uncontrolled blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can contribute to skin problems like dryness and nerve damage, leading to itchiness. Managing blood sugar effectively is key to preventing and reducing this symptom.

Is body itching a symptom of high blood sugar?

Itching can be a symptom of high blood sugar, but it is not always the case. Other factors can also contribute to itching. If you are experiencing itching and suspect it might be related to high blood sugar, consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Is it normal for diabetics to itch?

Itching is a common symptom experienced by many individuals with diabetes. However, it is not a normal occurrence and should be addressed. Through proper management of your condition and implementation of effective self-care strategies, you can significantly reduce or eliminate the itch and improve your quality of life.


Managing diabetic itchy skin requires a multi-pronged approach. By following the key strategies outlined in this article, you can significantly improve your skin health and experience greater comfort. Remember the following key takeaways:

  • Prioritize blood sugar control: This is the cornerstone of managing diabetes and minimizing the risk of itchy skin.
  • Develop a dedicated skincare routine: Gentle cleansing, strategic moisturizing, and addressing specific areas like feet are crucial.
  • Embrace healthy lifestyle modifications: Adequate hydration, stress management, and a balanced diet contribute to overall well-being and potentially reduce itching.
  • Maintain a partnership with your healthcare provider: Regular checkups and open communication are essential for managing your diabetes and addressing any skin concerns effectively.

While diabetic itchy skin can be an unwelcome companion, remember that you are not alone. By taking proactive steps, incorporating these strategies into your routine, and working collaboratively with your healthcare team, you can significantly improve your skin health and reclaim control over your comfort and quality of life.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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