Another Great Article:
Maintaining healthy skin is essential for those with lymphedema because intact skin, with no scrapes or cuts, prevents bacteria from entering and causing infection.
The swelling of lymphedema stretches the skin and disrupts the skin’s basic protective mechanisms. Also, as lymphedema increases in severity the skin loses its elasticity, becomes thicker and scaly, and is increasingly at risk.
Smoking causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin. This decreases blood flow, which depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients (such as vitamin A) that are important to skin health.
These factors increase damage to the elastic fibers (elastin) and collagen, which give your skin strength and elasticity. When skin is already challenged by the damage of lymphedema, these additional stresses make the condition worse.
Sonja M. Maul PT, CLT-LANA
National Board Certified Lymphedema Therapist