National Skin Care Awareness Month: Tips for Healthier Skin

Posted on: September 25th, 2014 by JPO Blogger
Keep your skin healthy all year long.

Keep your skin healthy year long.

National Skin Care Awareness Month provides the perfect opportunity for JP&O to discuss the largest organ on the body, the skin. All amputees must consider how their prosthetic limb will affect their skin and take extra care to keep it as healthy as possible.

There are many reasons why someone may require a limb amputation. One of the leading causes is diabetes, which is responsible for 50 percent of all amputations. Diabetes can cause poor blood circulation in the legs and feet which can lead to complications if left untreated. Both diabetics and amputees must care for their skin to prevent difficulties from occurring or elevating.

JP&O has provided tips for amputees to care for their residual limb, and for diabetics to care for their extremities. With these ideas for both amputees and diabetics, JP&O hopes to promote frequent and thorough skin care. JP&O understands every patient is unique in their health and comfort needs, which is why we take great care when creating custom prosthetic devices for each patient.

Prosthetic limbs can trap moisture in an airtight area, which provides the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. If the skin breaks open, it can let bacteria in, causing infection. If a patient ever notices red spots, irritation or tender sores, they should discontinue the use of the prosthesis and contact their practitioner.

Below are general tips to keep the skin under a prosthetic limb healthy.

  1. Wash the limb at least once a day with soap and water to prevent infection and odor. The soap should be colorless and odorless.
  2. Baby oil can be used on the limb to help it stay smooth and soft. Do not use alcohol based lotions because they can dry out the skin and increase the chances of skin breakdown. JP&O also has products available in stock that can be provided to patients.
  3. The prosthetic sock, liner, socket and any other place that comes in contact with skin, should also be washed with hot water and soap every day to prevent skin irritation, itching and rashes.
  4. To prevent skin breakdown, ensure the prosthetic limb fits properly. A change in weight, weather or physical activity can cause the limb to change size or shape. If you feel your prosthesis is ill-fitting at any time, contact us for an appointment.
  5. To prevent uncomfortable and painful ingrown hair, avoid shaving the limb.
  6. When under the sun with an uncovered limb, be sure to apply sunscreen to keep it protected. Remember it is usually covered by the prosthetic limb and can be especially sensitive to sunlight.

Below are tips for diabetic patients to prevent sores, known as ulcers, from developing and becoming infected. With proper skin care, diabetics can maintain their skin health and prevent the need of an amputation.

  1. Check feet daily for cuts, sores, cracks or blisters. If someone is unable to see the bottom of their feet, they can use a mirror or ask for assistance.
  2. Wash feet daily with warm water and soap. Use a cream or lotion on the tops and bottoms of the feet to keep the skin soft.
  3. Trim toenails carefully, straight across, and file down the sharp corners with an emery board.
  4. Seek a foot specialist to remove a callus, corn, bunion or wart.
  5. Wear shoes that fit properly and are not too small or narrow, preventing proper blood flow. Orthopedic shoes are often suggested because they provide extra cushion and distribute weight evenly.
  6. Get regular foot exams and take any sores or redness seriously. Podiatrists can detect early signs of nerve damage, poor circulation or other potential problems.

JP&O values you and your health, which is why we encourage you to practice healthy skin care habits. We hope you keep these tips in mind as you go about your days and give us a call with any and all questions!

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