Skin is the largest organ in the body, one of its job is to protect the body from infection. But lymphoedema puts a lot of pressure on the skin, which can make doing its job more difficult.
swelling stretches the skin and makes it less elastic.
Extra protein in the tissues can lead to changes in the skin looks and feels - it may become thickened and may split or leak fluid
Bandaging and compression can absorb moisture and oil from the skin, making the skin dry and fragile.
The problem with this is that any cuts, grazes, nicks or openings in the skin can allow bacteria into the blood stream, and as the lymphatic system is also responsible for dealing with infections, a lymphatic system that isn't working properly might become overwhelmed and not be able to deal with ordinary infections.
The biggest risk for anyone with lymphoedema is cellulitis infection. Usually, this will appear has warm or hot, red, inflamed and painful. It is very important that you see a doctor as soon as possible, ie visit A&E if you can't see your GP straight away, as this infection can be very serious and shouldn't be left to wait. A good tip is to use a pen or eyeliner to draw around the red outline of the infection and note the time, so your doctor can see how fast it spreads.
This is why it is so important to look after your skin.
Use alcohol and perfume free moisturiser before bed, after removing your garment
Check your skin for any weak spots, and ensure they are kept clean
If you do have any cuts, scratches, insect bites, splinters or any other breaks in the skin, clean it with antiseptic and ensure it is covered and kept clean - even a small splinter can lead to a serious infection.