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10 tips to protect your skin
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10 tips to protect your skin

Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body, including its appendages – hair, nails, sweat and sebaceous glands? In a normal adult, the skin receives one-third of the body’s flow of oxygen and nutrient-rich circulating blood. It makes up 15 per cent of your total body weight. Your skin is part of your immune system, acting as a barrier that protects vital internal organs from harm, whether from cuts, burns or infections. Diabetes can lead to loss of feeling or sensation in the skin. It can cause dry skin along with thick, hardened calluses, and increase problems caused by skin infections because it can slow down the skin’s ability to heal and repair. So try these ways to look after your skin over the warm-weather months.

1. Quit smoking: Aside from the obvious health risks, smoking affects the blood flow, decreasing the oxygen and nutrients supplied to your skin.

2. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise: It’s the key to having good skin. The effects of moisturiser lasts for 12 hours, so get into the habit of doing it both morning and night.

3. Slip, slop, slap: Use a high factor sun protection cream or lotion whenever you go outdoors. And don’t forget to slather it into the commonly overlooked areas, like your feet. If you’re deficient in vitamin D and need some UV exposure, seek guidance from your doctor on how much sun you need.

4. Wash with mild soap: Try Sorbolene, as regular soap can remove the skin’s natural oils, leading to rashes and irritations.

5. You are what you eat: For healthy skin, you need to eat a balanced diet – and that means plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit every day.

6. Keep your feet dry: Always dry well between your toes after showering. Also, try to keep your feet dry all day. In enclosed shoes, wear socks made of a combination of cotton and synthetic fibres to absorb any moisture and sweat. Moist feet are a breeding ground for tinea (fungal infections).

7. Check your feet daily: If your heels are thick with hard skin (a callus) or you have cracked skin, see a podiatrist for assessment. Keep an eye out for a fungal infection affecting your feet and nails and see your pharmacist for first-stage treatment if you’re in between podiatry appointments.

8. Protect your feet: Diabetes makes your feet especially vulnerable to infections. While in hot weather, you can’t always wear enclosed shoes, but remember that the more protective they are, the greater the safety they offer you. Avoid backless types, such as thongs or slip-ons, as toes tend to claw to keep them on. Instead, look for sandals with a back-strap fastening to hold the shoe on. Look for straps that are adjustable if you have a wider foot or bony prominences. Make sure they are wide and deep enough for your feet. And bear in mind that your feet swell during the day so it’s a good idea to always shop for shoes in the afternoon.

9. Never go barefoot: Hot sand and concrete can burn your feet. If you have decreased nerve function, your inability to feel heat or rough, abrasive surfaces means you could have difficulty in detecting damage or injury to your feet or toes.

10. Don’t soak your feet: Soaking may be soothing after a long, hot day, but it softens the skin, which increases the risk of tearing. Try putting your moisturiser in the fridge, then apply to your feet for a lovely cooling effect.