diabetes and cycling

Diabetes and cycling: what precautions to take to avoid skin issues?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 37 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes, including a significant community of cycling enthusiasts. In addition to managing their glucose levels, these individuals must confront specific skin-related issues while engaging in this sport.

What are the main skin issues that cyclists with diabetes may suffer from?

Cyclists with diabetes may encounter various dermatological issues due to the interaction of the disease with physical activity and the specific conditions of cycling.

Therefore, it is important for them to maintain a proper skincare for athletes with this condition.

Here are some primary skin problems that can affect these athletes:

●      Ulcers and skin lesions

The reduced blood circulation and neuropathy associated with diabetes can make the skin more susceptible to ulcers and skin lesions.

The constant friction between the skin and clothing during cycling can elevate the likelihood of developing ulcers, particularly in areas of constant pressure such as the buttocks and hands.

●      Dryness and cracks

Cutaneous dehydration is common in individuals with diabetes due to the skin’s diminished ability to retain water.

Exposure to wind and sun during cycling can contribute to skin dryness, heightening the likelihood of cracks and fissures.

●      Irritations and rashes

Excessive sweating, coupled with reduced sensation in certain areas due to neuropathy, can lead to skin irritations and rashes.

Intense physical activity can induce sweating, and constant contact with clothing may cause irritations, particularly in skin folds.

●      Sun damage and burns

Diabetes can impact the skin’s ability to shield itself from sun damage.

Extended exposure to the sun during bike rides heightens the risk of sunburns and skin damage, especially if proper sun protection measures are not taken.

●      Infections in sensitive areas

The lack of sensitivity in areas affected by neuropathy can make early detection of infections challenging.

Areas of constant friction, such as the groin and armpits, may be prone to infections if proper hygiene is not maintained, and suitable clothing is not worn.

diabetes cycling skin issues

Preventing skin issues in cyclists with diabetes

Preventing skin problems becomes crucial for diabetic cyclists to fully enjoy their passion without compromising the well-being of their skin. Therefore, it is important to follow the following recommendations:

1.    Thoughtful selection of apparel

Opting for soft, seamless garments minimizes friction, thereby reducing the risk of ulcers and other skin injuries. This is essential to preserve skin integrity in areas constantly in contact with clothing during cycling.

It is advisable to use a body lubricant before cycling, specially formulated to create a protective layer that prevents friction and shields the skin from potential irritations.

2.    Rigorous hydration

Cutaneous dehydration is common in individuals with diabetes. Consistent hydration is crucial for overall health, as well as maintaining skin elasticity and reducing dryness, thus minimizing the risk of cracks and fissures.

It is advisable to use specific lotions containing urea and hyaluronic acid, as these ingredients provide deep and long-lasting hydration, particularly beneficial for diabetic skin.

3.    Effective sun protection

The skin of individuals with diabetes may be more susceptible to sun damage. Proper sun protection is essential to prevent burns and reduce the risk of long-term skin complications.

Using sunscreens with mineral ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide can be a good choice for diabetic athletes.

4.    Post-training shower

After an intense workout, it’s crucial to take a shower to remove sweat and dirt, thus reducing the risk of skin infections.

It is advisable to use a product designed for your skin type, such as an acne body wash with antimicrobial and disinfectant properties. There are also available options that cater to your specific needs.

prevention skin issues diabetes cycling

Understanding these specific skin issues enables cyclists with diabetes to take preventive measures, such as choosing suitable clothing, applying appropriate products, and maintaining consistent hygiene, to preserve the health of their skin while enjoying their passion for cycling.

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