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Tips for Skin Care

By Laurie Latour

My husband recently had a transplant, but he was on hemodialysis for many years and had to cope with itchy skin. If you're on dialysis, here are a couple of tips that might help you deal with some common skin problems.

For itching,* I bought one of those bath gloves, the kind you use to exfoliate your skin (similar to a loofah sponge, but a scratchy glove). I would rub my husband's back with it (dry), and he said it relieved the itching more than anything. You can buy the gloves at the Bath & Body shop, or a similar store, in any mall. The other thing he found very helpful was Vitamin E lotion. Men rarely rub lotion on themselves, and I had to talk my husband into it, but he found it very soothing. I just used any generic hand lotion with Vitamin E—nothing special.

When my husband dialyzed in the clinic, the plastic chairs were hot against his skin. So we bought a wooden bead seat at an auto parts shop, the kind you'd use as a car seat. We tied it on to the back of the chair when he dialyzed, and then took it home with us. He could wiggle against the wooden beads and it kind of scratched his back while he was in the chair. It also created air space between his body and the plastic chair, making it much more comfortable.

*Editor's note: Check with your doctor to try to find the cause of the itching. If it's caused by high phosphorus levels in the blood, ask the dietitian to suggest foods that are low in phosphorus, and take your phosphate binder medication as prescribed. High phosphorus levels can cause significant loss of calcium, weakening your bones.

Permission received to post the following information:

Name: Laurie Latour
Address: 3310 Sanctuary Blvd.
Jacksonville Beach, FL  32250
Cause of spouse's renal failure: Glomerulonephritis
Time spouse has been on dialysis: 12 years
Treatments used: In-center hemodialysis, home hemodialysis, transplant
Date: March 2000

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