Skincare Advice for People living with Lipoedema
It important that the skin to any affected areas are kept clean, dried well and moisturised on a daily basis to protect and enhance skin integrity. This will ensure that the risk of developing any skin infections such as cellulitis or a fungal infection are minimised. Moisturisers can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy or if skin is very dry and flaky it would be best to have this prescribed by a GP. Moisturiser may be applied at any time but if wearing compression garments it may be best to apply cream at night following removal of garments.
Fungal infections are prone to develop in between the toes or on the nails on the feet and also in any skin creases or skin folds, such as at the backs of knees or groin area. Symptoms of a fungal infection can vary, and a rash can be dry and itchy or very red, sore, moist and sometimes with pustules. Sometimes toenails can become dry and brittle. The GP or Pharmacist can prescribe an appropriate anti-fungal treatment. Fungal infections can be spread to other people so it’s important to wash clothes, bedding and towels often to get rid of the fungus.
A sunscreen should be applied if necessary and will help to protect the skin from sunburn. Also an insect repellent in the summer can help prevent bites and scratching which could increase the risks of developing cellulitis.
When your lymphatic system is damaged or not working effectively then it leaves you at higher risk of infections in that area of your body. The most common infection in lymphoedema is cellulitis, a sudden, non-contagious infection of the skin, characterised by redness, swelling and heat accompanied by pain and tenderness.
If an area of skin or limb becomes red, develops a rash, becomes hot and or painful, then it is very important that medical advice is sought as this may be an indication of cellulitis, which is a bacterial infection of the skin. Cellulitis can also present as flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature, tiredness and general aches and pains.
The treatment for cellulitis for anyone with lymphoedema varies from the treatment for those who develop the condition, who do not have lymphoedema. If left untreated there are risks of developing sepsis, a more serious systemic infection. The Lymphoedema Support Network (LSN) educates and supports patients with this cellulitis by providing a high standard of information and promoting self-help.
The links below will take you to two Cellulitis reports from LSN on how to treat cellulitis if you have lymphoedema: