Lymphedema and Skin care

Caring for your skin is one of the most important components of lymphedema treatment.

Love the skin you’re in - we hear this all the time but for anyone with lymphedema it’s especially important to show your skin some love.  Our skin is the largest organ in our body and protects us from bacteria that could cause infection.  Wearing garments or bandages can stress skin, it may get dry, or may already be fragile and need special care. The goal of good skin care for lymphedema is to keep the skin intact and reduce the risk of infection as much as possible.

What does good skin care look like?

With lymphedema, especially stage 3 lymphedema that may have skin changes and skin folds, it is extremely important to:

  • Keep it Clean-use a gentle cleanser that is moisturizing without fragrances
  • Keep it Dry-dry skin gently but thoroughly, especially in skin folds and between toes
  • Keep it Moisturized-apply a moisturizer immediately after bathing with a moisturizer specifically for dry skin without fragrances.
  • Keep Safe from the Sun-wear sunscreen or protective clothing when out in the sun.

Treat any cuts, scratches, or insect bites immediately to avoid infection.  Also don’t forget nail care, the area around the nails can become dry and crack allowing for bacteria to enter.

Every person’s skin and needs are unique, so it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider to get recommendations for you. Caring for your skin is a big part in your lymphedema treatment and maintenance.

For more information see our Skin Care page on LymphCare.

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