Diabetes and dry skin?

Joslin Diabetes Center says this:

“People with diabetes are prone to dry skin, particularly when blood glucose levels run high. This causes the body to lose fluids and skin to become dry. Dry skin can crack and itch, which can lead to infections. You may also get dry skin with diabetes if you have neuropathy. The nerves in the legs and feet may not get the message to sweat, which is necessary to keep skin soft and moist. Keeping your skin moisturized when you have diabetes is one of the easiest ways to prevent skin problems.”



I have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

I recall reading in Dr. B’s book that he believes everyone (or the majority of) with diabetes has pssoriasis. I went to look for the page number and what I was recalling wasn’t in the book. He said it in one of his videos:

Session 44. Psoriasis - Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes University.
In Session 44 of Diabetes University, Dr. Bernstein discusses psoriasis - a condition common to virtually all diabetics.

@TiaG Like many have mentioned, keep Samson hydrated and moisturized. Limit the number of baths he takes with soap, that further dries the skin. I prefer using Aveno bath products.

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Sigh. Well, this is a depressing thread. I know keeping him moisturized is important but I was kind of hoping it was unrelated to his underlying disease process…like that it wasn’t correlated with complications at all.


Another source I just stumbled across, an interview with Dr. Bernstein in which he said,

We all have Psoriasis. And Psoriasis is the most common other autoimmune disease that accompanies diabetics. Almost 100% of my patients have Psoriasis.

This is a good point—a reason why pee might look normal even if moisture levels aren’t enough for skin, since the reason diabetics become dehydrated is to flush out excess sugar.

I have somewhat dry skin for what it’s worth, although it’s somewhat hidden by my skin’s increased elasticity. My brother though, who is non-diabetic and likely has the same connective tissue disorder, never has to moisturize, and I do.

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As I understand it: 1) most lotions simply create a barrier of fat/oil to seal in moisture; 2) most pumice like agents remove the dead/damaged skin; and 3) very few topicals actually treat the skin cells. As I understand it, urea does all 3. I have used a urea based lotion, all over with great success, for years after after it was recommended by a podiatrist. He said AT LEAST 20% UREA. Gold Bond lists urea as an ingredient, but doesn’t give a % (a quick online search said 10%, but I saw no source I’d call irrefutably reputable)
“Urea appears to be a highly-active small molecule regulator of genes that impact keratinocyte differentiation, lipid synthesis and antimicrobial peptide production, together leading to improved permeability barrier function and likely antimicrobial defense as well.”


@TiaG don’t depress yourself quite yet. I am the 1 diabetic in the family, and I have the best skin. My mother and sister are constantly applying lotions and potions and going to the dermatologist for this skin problem or that.
I have also never had psoriasis. Don’t ignore the differences in individuals and genetics, even if his siblings have no issues.

@TiaG - I’ve been on immunosuppressants for 11 years and they haven’t impacted my skin one way or another.

Living where I do (low relative humidity) most people here get dry skin in the winter. That’s the only time I’d use cream on my skin and the heels of my feet (which do crack in bleed if the winter is longer and colder than usual).

Cream of choice for cracked feet is Gehwol (made in Germany)



Hi @Dc53705, somehow that link isn’t working, perhaps the url is wrong?

I’m definitely all in for something that actually changes the way the skin operates.

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I’ve been on immunosuppressants for 20+ years. They’ve helped my skin and joints, unless I’m having a flare - which I currently am.

There are so many on the market today, it undoubetedly matters which one (immunosuppressant) you are on. Some that I’ve tried had no effect on my skin or joints.

I’m not sure how different immunosuppresants are between treating an autoimmunity or treating a transplant or cancer patient. I imagine just like the differences between what works for one disease and not for another would be the same for what works for one transplant or cancer patient doesn’t work for the other.

I’m thinking we can’t lump them all into one category. Though, I could be wrong.

Thanks for the suggestion of the “GEHWOL” cream! I’ll have to order some.


Try this one:

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the immunosuppressants used by people with a beta cell transplant are much more broad, quieting the entire immune system, I would imagine, versus the ones that are targeting a specific disease (those are usually monoclonal antibody based treatments that target just a specific factor implicated in the disease process.).


I get dry skin on my heels. My mom (who does not have diabetes) gets the same thing so I do not think it is related to diabetes.

I do not have any other dry-skin problems but I sometimes get a bit of eczema on my chest during allergy season (like right now).

I find that urea based creams fix this problem when I get cracking dryness 100%. The one I use has 25% urea.

For foot maintenance, I have used salve made of olive oil and calendula. I think the oil is the main thing that helps the feet from drying and cracking. Oil is messy but it works.


Here’s one I like for overnight use:



Not sure how I messed the link up, but the one shared by @Tapestry is the one I was trying to post. Thanks!

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It was the CY at the end, I just edited it off, and it works fine.

Love all the suggestions!
Wanted to add in a bit about water…I treat water like a medicine and drink two full glasses upon waking…as we dehydrate while sleeping.
Then, I drink it through out the day.
My point is I see and know water to be critical for me as insulin is…it hydrates and gets your organs softer and more receptive and bunches of other things that I can’t recall or don’t know.
So discovering the effects of water really helped me be more on top of my intake.
I was thinking this may help your son…knowing that the water is super important and not always about thirst.
Hope this helps!


I have read that dry skin can be a side effect of diabetes. I had a lot if dryness and itching on my legs and arms. I use LubriDerm and it has solved my problem. I buy that product in my grocery store.


Likely autoimmune, dietary intolerance/allergy, potentially thyroid, and/or Vitamin A related. We process Vitamin A differently then non-diabetics.

Eggs/butter are a good source of Vitamin A for kids and help my skin stay in good shape along with other healthy fatty foods. Vitamin E also good for skin with food sources like nuts safest for kids.

Minimizing autoimmune things like wheat/gluten and depending on person dairy can help.

If I eat wheat I get noticeable joint pain etc.


I would say increase good oils in the diet. Take fish oil and vit E together(to prevent lipid peroxidation). I use Rosita cod liver oil. And try reading a book about healing the gut. As a type 1d I was also was diagnosed w hashimotos and reversed it. (Took almost 3yrs of strict diet and detox) But. I realized through the process that as I healed my gut. My skin completely changed and became amazing compared to how it was before.

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