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Skin Care

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Because of the compromised condition of a lymphovenous limb, we are often susceptible to a large number of skin complications.  These may include various skin growths such as skin tags, warts, dermatofibromas, lymphangiomas, rashes, fungal infections, superficial  bacterial infections infections which include as impetigo, folliculitis, carbuncles, furuncles and boils and weeping sores.

With lymphedema, some types untreated skin conditions can lead to serious consequences including systemic infections (sepsis), gangrene, amputation and even death.  Good skin health is critical to our overall good health.

Good skin health is critical to our overall good health.



Good skin care plays a vital part in the treatment of lymphoedema. Any break in the skin, however small, can be an entry site for germs. The protein-rich fluid in the swollen area acts as an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. If you develop an infection (sometimes called cellulitis) the swollen part becomes red, hot and very painful. You will feel generally unwell and may lose your appetite. Antibiotics are usually needed to clear it up and they should be started immediately. It is important to see your doctor, stop all lymphoedema treatment and rest the swollen part in a supported, comfortable position so that the hand or foot is not hanging downwards.

Severe lymphoedema can cause the skin to become thickened and scaly. This increases the risk of breaks in the skin. However, good moisturising can prevent this. You can get suitable creams on prescription from your doctor if you need to.

Listed below are some simple tips to help you care for your skin, prevent damage and reduce the risk of infection:

Do not have blood samples or any other injections in your affected limb.

Do not have your blood pressure taken on your affected limb.

Treat even small grazes and cuts straight away. Wash the area thoroughly and cover it if necessary. See your GP as soon as possible if you develop any signs of infection around the cut -- redness, heat or inflammation.

Moisturize your skin every day by gently smoothing in non-perfumed cream or oil. This helps the skin to remain supple and in good condition.

Don't have your bath or shower too hot -- it will increase swelling. Avoid saunas, steam rooms and sun beds.

Don't sit too close to a fire or other direct heat.

Wear gloves for washing up and other household tasks to avoid cuts.

Wear gloves and long-sleeved clothing when handling animals or gardening so that you do not get scratched.

Use insect repellents to prevent insect bites. If you are stung, seek medical advice.

Use a thimble when sewing.

Avoid sunburn.

To avoid cuts, use an electric razor when shaving hair from the swollen area.

Cut your nails with nail clippers and use hand cream regularly. Never push back or cut your cuticles.

Use anti-fungal powder to prevent athlete's foot.

See a chiropodist for foot and nail care if you need extra help and let him or her know you have lymphoedema. Make sure you wear well-fitting shoes.


Medical Information on Skin Conditions


Skin Care For Lymphedema Patients


Skin Health


Skin Care and Lymphedema


Skin Care


Skin Care / Practical Tips


Skin Lotions

During the last few days on one of the lists I am on, there has been
quite a discussion on lotions to help with the dry, cracky skin we often experience with lymphedema. I wanted to share a few of the lotions, members have found helpful in maintaining their skin health.


My MLD therapist recommended the Advanced Therapy(Pink) Lubriderm. She said that it had the correct PH
balance for healthy skin.
It is a lotion, and I have had a good result.


The Skin Care Campaign


Of course they do them smelling beautifully of lavender but they also make non-fragranced products too. I keep a bowl of their Soap Petals in my bedroom which makes it smell lovely and fresh. Hope this is helpful. Best wishes


Check out this link for Cetaphil:


And the link for Curel:

When I step out, I usually use a moisturizing cream from Bath and Body
Works, as they have a bit of fragrance. Many wonderful scents, but I think the

Plumeria is my favorite.

Hope this info helps!


That's us. Hey, why don't we start our own store? Hmm...I use the CVS brand
of Eucerin, which is a lot less expensive, and it works well for me.


Antioxidant nutrients and skin protection

Free radical damage is one of the principal mechanisms of aging. Free radicals are highly and indiscriminately reactive chemicals that can damage any structure in living cells. The most common source of free radicals is normal burning of fuel that occurs in every cell every minute of every day. (Generally, the more free radicals a species produces, the shorter its life span.) Skin suffers additional free radical damage from sunlight and pollutants.

Topical antioxidants provide some protection against environmental damage to the skin and may be somewhat effective in slowing down the skin aging. However, topical antioxidants are relatively unreliable. Their effect depends on skin permeability, other ingredients in the cream and many other factors. It appears that increasing oral intake of some antioxidants may additionally protect skin from free radicals. Keep in mind, however, that relatively little solid research has been done specifically on skin benefits of oral or topical antioxidants and much of the supporting evidence is indirect.

A very important chemical property for an oxidant is its solubility in water and fat (or oil). Basically, living organisms have two types of internal media, watery extra- and intracellular space and oily membranes that serve as partitions enclosing individual cells and various intracellular compartments. Water-soluble antioxidants are effective mainly in extra- and intracellular fluid, whereas fat-soluble antioxidants protect biological membranes. Both types of antioxidants are needed to create an effective shield against free radicals for the entire body, and skin in particular.

Solubility of antioxidants

Water soluble Fat soluble Water and fat soluble
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Vitamin A
Coenzyme Q10
Lipoic acid
Some polyphenols
Some flavonoids

Below we review some of the antioxidant nutrients and supplements which appear the most likely to produce skin benefits.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a principal fat soluble antioxidant vitamin in the body. It protects cellular membranes, lipoproteins and other "oily" structures. Skin is high in unsaturated fatty acids ("oily" molecules especially susceptible to free radical damage), and can benefit from vitamin E protection (both oral and topical).


Flavonoids are a diverse group of plant pigments with antioxidant properties. These substances are responsible for color in many fruits, vegetables and flowers. In addition to providing color that attracts insects or animals, these pigments protect plants from environmental stress. In addition to being potent antioxidants, some flavonoids have antiallergic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity. Over 4,000 flavonoids have been characterized and classified, but only a few have been researched. As far as skin benefits are concerned, two classes of flavonoids appear to be especially beneficial: proanthocyanins (found in grapes and pine bark) and polyphenols (found in green tea).

Coenzyme Q10, Lipoic acid, Cysteine, Methionine

Coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, cysteine and methionine are potent antioxidants. But they also play other roles that are at least as important as their antioxidant activity. See also the article about conditionally essential nutrients in this section.



June 25, 2003

Writer: Linda Anderson, (979) 862-1460,
Contact: Dr. Carol Rice, (979) 845-3850,

COLLEGE STATION – Weighing in somewhere around 8 pounds, it's the largest organ in the human body, according to the American Medical Association.

It's also the first line of defense against disease, providing protection from dirt and germs.

And now that summer's here, it's also more visible.

The human body is covered in skin, a complex organ which most take for granted.

But skin is vital to health, said Dr. Carol Rice, Texas Cooperative Extension health specialist. Skin has contact "with harmful agents such as bacteria, viruses and chemicals, and (works) to protect your body from their effects.

"Your skin also helps regulate your body temperature. Your skin may also reflect your health, interacting with other organs. It can alert you to problems that may be going on inside your body," she said.

Skin is made up of three layers, said Rice: (1) the epidermis, or thin outer layer; (2) the dermis, a thicker layer under the epidermis; and (3) the subcutaneous tissue, underneath the first two layers, which contains fat. Within these three layers are nerves, sebaceous glands and sweat glands.

Because skin is so important to overall health, she said, a branch of medicine – dermatology – is devoted to the care and study of problems of the skin. Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in treating conditions of the skin, including acne, athlete's foot, hives, psoriasis, rashes and skin cancer.

Skin problems can be common, Rice said, but, for the most part, "they are rarely life-threatening. Diagnosing skin problems the first time you have a particular ailment may require a dermatologist's ... or other doctor's care. Many problems, however, can be treated or prevented by following a few simple tips."

Rice's tips include:

- Limit the skin's exposure to sunlight. Wearing protective clothing – such as hats and long sleeves – and using sun screen can help protect skin from harmful rays of the sun. Moisturizers can keep skin from getting too dry. Too much time in the sun can lead to skin cancer, or at least, skin that is wrinkled, blotchy or leathery.

- Inside the home, keep the air cool and a little humid.

- Don't wash skin with very hot water, since that will dry the skin. After showering or bathing, pat the skin dry rather than rubbing it, and use oil or skin cream immediately. Choose heavy, water-in-oil moisturizers rather than light creams that are mostly water or creams or lotions that contain alcohol.

- Soap can dry skin. To minimize dryness, use soap with moisturizing cream.

- Wash in tepid, not hot, water; use a cloth or sponge, which will help remove dead cells. Dry skin needs to be washed with superfatted soaps; oily skin may need to be cleansed two or three times daily.

- When shaving, use a blade razor with a sharp blade. Soften the beard for a few seconds with a warm face cloth; use plenty of shaving cream. Shave in the direction of hair growth – shaving against growth direction can cause skin irritation. Dermatologists can suggest products for treating shaving-related skin irritations.

- Use oil-based makeup on dry skin; water-based on oily skin. Remove eye makeup before cleaning your face, and use cotton balls to avoid damaging delicate skin around the eyes.

When using the services provided by the skin and nail care industry – including beauty and/or nail salons, barbershops, tanning salons or massage therapy establishments – look for or ask to see appropriate licensing and inspection certificates, Rice said.

"The Texas Cosmetology Commission and the Texas Department of Health Bureau of Food and Drug Safety, Licensure and Enforcement Division handle licensure of professionals working in these fields, as well as rules and regulations for sanitation and disinfectant practices, among other legal issues.

"A well-kept facility should have no reservations in providing you their credentials and certificates."

For more information on caring for the skin, visit the Web at:

- American Academy of Dermatology;

- American Academy of Pediatrics;

- American Medical Association;

- Mayo Clinic


Join us as we work for lymphedema patients everywehere:

Advocates for Lymphedema

Dedicated to be an advocacy group for lymphedema patients. Working towards education, legal reform, changing insurance practices, promoting research, reaching for a cure.


Pat O'Connor

Lymphedema People / Advocates for Lymphedema


For information about Lymphedema

For Information about Lymphedema Complications

For Lymphedema Personal Stories

For information about Lymphedema Wounds

For information about Lymphedema Treatment Options

For information about Children's Lymphedema


Lymphedema Glossary


Lymphedema People

Support Groups


Children with Lymphedema

The time has come for families, parents, caregivers to have a support group of their own. Support group for parents, families and caregivers of chilren with lymphedema. Sharing information on coping, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Sponsored by Lymphedema People.



Lipedema Lipodema Lipoedema

No matter how you spell it, this is another very little understood and totally frustrating conditions out there. This will be a support group for those suffering with lipedema/lipodema. A place for information, sharing experiences, exploring treatment options and coping.

Come join, be a part of the family!




If you are a man with lymphedema; a man with a loved one with lymphedema who you are trying to help and understand come join us and discover what it is to be the master instead of the sufferer of lymphedema.



All About Lymphangiectasia

Support group for parents, patients, children who suffer from all forms of lymphangiectasia. This condition is caused by dilation of the lymphatics. It can affect the intestinal tract, lungs and other critical body areas.



Lymphatic Disorders Support Group @ Yahoo Groups

While we have a number of support groups for lymphedema... there is nothing out there for other lymphatic disorders. Because we have one of the most comprehensive information sites on all lymphatic disorders, I thought perhaps, it is time that one be offered.


Information and support for rare and unusual disorders affecting the lymph system. Includes lymphangiomas, lymphatic malformations, telangiectasia, hennekam's syndrome, distichiasis, Figueroa
syndrome, ptosis syndrome, plus many more. Extensive database of information available through sister site Lymphedema People.



our home page we have 18 categories with 218 articles

on lymphedema, edema, and related conditions:

                     The Forums

                      Lymphedema Information

                      Lymphedema and Edema Related Conditions

                      Hereditary Conditions of the Lymphatics

                      Related Medical Conditions

                      Complications of Lymphedema

                       Lymphedema Treatment Options

                      Complete Listings of Therapists and Links

                      Cellulitis and Related Infections

                      Wound Information, Care, Treatment

                      Skin Care, Conditions and Complications

                      Exercise, Diets, Nutrition

                      Miscellaneous Interesting Articles section

                      Resources, Organizations, Support Groups

                      Government Resources

                      Advocacy and Lobbying Resources

                      Resources for the Medical Community


Reviewed Nov. 28, 2011