Friday, 27 June 2014

How Diabetes Affects Your Beauty

Please raise your hand if you've ever felt conscious about:
  • About your skin?
  • About your oral care?
  • And, in general about your beauty?

Overall, if you are conscious about the way you look and concerned about its wellbeing, this article is for you. I’m sure not a single person will say “NO”, that they are never bothered about beauty. Early morning when you wake up and start your day the level of confidence increases if you are happy about the way you look, it’s not about just plain beauty but the bare elements which affect the health of your skin, your hair, your oral hygiene. In this modern era of ‘selfies’ and social media, everyone is certainly concerned about the way they look.

You must be thinking that today why are we talking all about beauty in a diabetes blog. Well, let us break the ice, DIABETES AFFECTS YOUR BEAUTY. Yes, diabetes affects your skin, your dental care and in general diabetes can create beauty challenges which you might not even notice or be bothered about, like use of some cosmetics which contains phthalates and other chemical found in personal care products like nail polish, hair spray, soap, and some perfumes, which may cause high blood sugar and insulin resistance. Moreover, poor body image can also lead to anxiety and depression - and that can make it even more challenging to manage your diabetes.

Not only are the above beauty products but there a few beauty treatments at spa / salon also which are advised to be done with care or not to be done at all on diabetic patients. Generally, most beauty treatments are fine to be carried out on a person who is suffering from diabetes but while having pedicure or manicure a diabetic person should ensure that they don’t have any cuts or ulcers on feet and the therapist takes care when cutting corns, cuticles and removing calluses. The reason for this is because diabetics suffer from low or impaired immune systems which means they take longer to overcome any inflicting wounds, making the wound to become a blood clot which in turn can lead to complications. Any cuts or ulcerations can lead to cellulitis which is a spreading infection of the skin leading to fever, excessive sweats and swollen lymph nodes.

Likewise, waxing is also not recommended for persons suffering from diabetes as they are most susceptible to infections. 


Due to diabetes and high blood sugar, the body is prone to lose fluid through frequent urination and this can cause skin to become dehydrated. It is quite common to find people with diabetes having such skin problems. 

Studies have found that insulin (taken as medicine for controlling your blood sugar levels) acts like a growth hormone which may cause skin tags to grow, skin around your face to become red or pale yellow. The skin apart from becoming dry due to dehydration is also affected by diabetic neuropathy resulting in more dryness. Dry skin as is known to become red and sore and may crack/ peel. Germs can enter through the cracks causing infections too.

Skin is also affected by high blood sugar as it proves to be a good breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, reducing the body’s ability to self-heal. Luckily, most of such skin conditions are avoidable and can be effectively treated if detected on time by a medical practitioner, but if it isn’t detected and treated properly on time, this minor skin condition can turn into a serious problem with potentially severe consequences due to diabetes. 


Your oral hygiene is probably the biggest but silent beauty aspect. I said ‘silent’ because until and unless you don’t open your mouth your oral beauty will be intact; it is only after you open it the reality sets in. Jokes apart, we all know how diabetes shows its ill-effects (and to an extent if not treated well, can damage too) on the:
  • Eyes
  • Skin
  • Kidneys
  • Heart
  • Reproductive Organs
  • Reduces the body’s stamina
  • Reduces resistance to various infections
  • Slows down the healing process
  • and many more...

Well, apart from above stated health issues, you will have to now add other problems arising out of diabetes which can affect your teeth, gums and oral cavity as well.
Watch out for following oral issues:
  • Frequent gum swelling with pus,
  • Increased bone loss in a short duration of time, and
  • Gum disease not responding to normal treatment

In many a cases, these oral complications are early indicators of diabetes and if detected well in advance it can help in the early diagnosis and to initiate diabetes control. If you are a diabetic, the gum disease can happen more often, can be in more severe form, and can also take longer to heal.
Diabetics have following most common problems in the mouth:
  • Mouth Dryness - Dryness in mouth occurs due to drying of the mucus membranes owing to high blood sugar, lack of hydration or diabetic neuropathy which weakens the function of the salivary glands thereby decreasing the production of saliva. A dry mouth can lead to soreness, ulcers, infections, and in long duration tooth decay too. 
  • Tooth decay - Bacteria in the mouth interact with starches and sugars in food to form plaque on your teeth. In a diabetic person, the increased blood sugar level increases the chances of bacteria forming plaque and thus resulting risk of tooth decay.
  • Gum diseases - Our body has inborn immunity to fight bacteria that causes plaque which in turn causes gum disease and decay. However, diabetes reduces the body’s immunity which in turn leads to increased plaque formation. Plaque makes the gums to have inflammatory senses causing it to be swelled and become red which results in gum bleeding. To remove the plaque regular brushing is required, in the absence of proper care the plaque will harden up to form tartar leading to periodontitis (a serious gum issue) in which the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth are destroyed leading to loss of teeth.
  • Fungal infections - High glucose levels in the saliva boosts the growth of a type of fungus called Candida (yeast) and this can cause an infection called the oral thrush. Generally, small amounts of this yeast are anyways present in the mouth, digestive tract, and skin of healthy people and are normally kept in check by other bacteria and microorganisms in the body. However, diabetes can disturb this delicate balance, causing the fungus candida to grow out of control, and thus causing thrush. Thrush produces glossy white or red patches (looks similar to curd) in the mouth that can be wiped away to reveal red tissue that may bleed easily. These patches may be painful or may become ulcers. Thrush on the tongue can cause painful burning sensation, causes difficulty in swallowing and changes your taste sensation.
Since diabetes lowers your resistance to infection it delays healing process and can complicate gum and oral surgeries. As in any surgery involving a diabetic person, it becomes difficult to control blood sugar levels after surgery.  Doctors ask for blood glucose levels to be checked before any invasive oral procedure or surgery, and in case if the diabetes is not well controlled, the surgical procedure is usually postponed.


But, HOW? can help a non-diabetic to avoid diabetes and help him/her to lead a life without having to face trivial situations which affects when your life adversely. 

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A diabetic person has to watch and manage complications arising out of weight, blood sugar, the person has to control his anxiety and stress levels, they need to be aware and take remedial steps for complications which may arise from infertility and sex related issues. Think of it when apart from these bigger issues if you have to worry about your beauty too, it certainly can make life miserable.


Those of you who are diabetic and have to take care of health and beauty concerns, for them the word of advice for having confidence is this:

  • Maintain eye-contact while talking to people, it helps in gaining confidence and reflects in your mood
  • Maintain your correct sitting and standing posture - It gives immense confidence
  • Be with people who are positive and who smile. Believe me having people who greet and smile with you makes good positive impact on everyone
  • Practice self - compassion. You will always feel good when instead of getting low in negativity, it is much better to control your thoughts and feel how those negative thoughts doesn’t makes you who you are. Life has much bigger purpose than to worry about smaller trivial negative emotions which would have clouded you.  

If I can be of any help in guiding you and in your diabetes treatment, it will be an honor. Email us, comment on this blog, or leave your message on our Facebook or Twitter platforms. We are always watching the ways to get connected with you.

Dr. MS Singhal
Managing Director
Grass-Diabetes.comAn initiative of Singhal Diabetic Clinic, Haridwar

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