What Is Scleroderma And How Does It Affect Your Skin?

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease. The name is derived from the Greek words sclero and derma, meaning hard skin. With an autoimmune disease, the body does not recognize its own cells and responds as if they are an invader. This triggers a response where the body ends up waging war on itself. Scleroderma can affect the skin and internal organs, most commonly the lungs, heart, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract. Scleroderma can appear in different forms; it can be:

  • Localized – involving only a few places on the skin or
  • Systemic – involving both the skin and internal organs

Our skin is the largest organ of our body and performs several vital functions, like offering protection from germs and the elements, insulating us from cold, providing our sense of touch, helping regulate our body temperature, and synthesizing vitamin D. When the skin is compromised by scleroderma, the best way to keep it intact is to find ways to compensate for the functions that have been impaired.

Scleroderma causes your body to overproduce collagen in your body. Collagen is found in connective tissue and is in essence what holds us together. This forms deposits that can interfere with circulation, function, sensation and flexibility. Unfortunately, there is currently no treatment that controls or stops the overproduction of collagen in the body. This can lead to your skin becoming extremely dry, cracked and chapped, especially around the fingertips and other extremities.

Many people living with scleroderma will also experience symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon, in which the fingers and sometimes other extremities change color in response to cold temperature or anxiety. Raynaud’s Phenomenon may signal damage to the blood vessels supplying the hands and can lead to puffy fingers, finger ulcers, and other complications that require aggressive treatment including amputation.

Daily Scleroderma Skin Care Tips

Caring for skin affected by scleroderma, especially the hands and feet, is essential. Preventing skin breakdown is very important since your skin can be slow to heal, despite its thick, hard external appearance.

Here are some daily skin care tips to help you manage skin affected by scleroderma:

Inspect your skin regularly, especially your hands and feet. A telescoping mechanic’s mirror will enable you to see your toes and the bottom of your feet easily. Be alert for any signs of discoloration, poor circulation or breakdown.

Be gentle! Your skin needs to be managed with minimal friction. Cleanse your skin gently. Avoid harsh soaps and shampoos! Since your skin no longer contains the natural oils and bacterial barrier that protect you, an ultra-gentle, pH-balanced, moisturizing cleanser, like Welmedix HomeCare PRO No-Rinse Cleansing Foam is excellent for helping maintain your skin’s natural defenses.

Moisturize daily. One of the best times to hydrate and moisturize your skin is directly after bathing or showering, when your skin is towel-dry but still slightly damp. Lotions can be helpful but when managing especially dry skin, use a thick, moisturizing barrier cream with emollients like Welmedix HomeCare PRO Fragile Skin Protective Ointment, which is specially formulated to soften and condition the most dry, cracked and chapped skin. Pay special attention to your extremities like your hands and feet. One tip is to massage liberally into your toes, heels, fingers and knuckles before putting on socks or gloves, especially before bed. This will help soften, moisturize and shield vulnerable parts of your skin overnight with nutrients and leave your skin feeling more supple and soft in the morning.

Protect your head, face, arms and legs from the sun. Wearing a hat and clothes with ultraviolet protection built in can be a big help keeping your skin as healthy as possible as prolonged UV exposure can accelerate the effects of fragile skin.

Stop smoking cigarettes. Smoking can impair blood circulation, which can be especially risky if you are already experiencing impaired circulation from Raynaud’s Phenomenon.

Heavy-Duty Skin Care For Scleroderma

When lotions aren’t enough, you need skin care specially developed with Nurses for extremely dry, cracked and hardened skin. Deeply moisturize, soften + nourish skin affected by Scleroderma & Raynaud’s Phenomenon. 


Specially Designed For Extremely Dry, Cracked Skin

Welmedix HomeCare PRO Fragile Skin Protective Ointment is a specially designed barrier cream that protects and nourishes fragile skin affected by Scleroderma and Raynaud's Phenomenon. This moisture barrier seals in the limited moisture on your skin and softens extremely dry skin from head to toe. Our Protective Ointment combines ingredients trusted by nurses in hospitals like petrolatum (an extensively tested skin protectant) and nourishing botanicals like aloe vera, coconut oil and calendula.


Feet, Heels and Shins

Massage into dry, cracked heels and feet to soothe and deeply condition severely dry skin. Try it at night before bed, cover with soft socks and feel the difference in the morning!

Fingertips and Hands

Rub into dry, chapped hands to moisturize and protect your skin. It’s especially great just after cleansing your skin with a gentle, moisturizing cleanser!

Neck and Shoulders

Apply onto shoulders, neck and under chin to rejuvenate dull, dry skin, leaving behind a healthy, glistening glow.

Pressure Points

Cover vulnerable pressure points like the buttocks, back, hips and shoulders to soothe and protect when managing limited mobility.

See What People Love About Welmedix HomeCare PRO Fragile Skin Protective Ointment!

I have had rough, thickly calloused heels for so long that I thought there was no cure! I had tried every cream on the market (it seemed), and nothing worked. I read the reviews for this product and decided to give it one more time, and--boy!--am I glad I did! Within a week there was a remarkable noticeable difference, and within two weeks the callouses were almost completely gone!

Verified Purchase, AmazonMay 2018

My father was having problems with his skin on his arms being super sensitive and getting easily bruised and scratched just by a simple bump...because his skin was so think and fragile. I ordered him the Homecare Pro and it is absolutely amazing the difference in his arms. His skin looks healthy and he is no longer getting bruises or torn skin. He uses this multiple times daily and he said it is working great and he wanted me to order him more. So Dad is happy! I give this 10 stars this is a great product!

Verified Purchase, AmazonDecember 2017

We've tried a lot of barrier creams and this one seems to perform the best for my dad. It's got "oomph" to it yet is not heavy. It washes off easily from the skin and comes clean without a problem in the laundry. We love it!

Verified Purchase, AmazonJuly 2018

This ointment, along with the Welmedix foam cleanser, cleared up my 92-year-old disabled dad's diaper rash in a few days. He had had surgery and was bedridden for a while. I brought the ointment (and the foam cleanser) to his assisted living facility/nursing home and told his aides to use it on him. He was suffering terribly but now his butt is feeling fine. (My dad actually told me to let the company that makes this ointment know that!) I have ordered this ointment a at least three times already. It's a terrific ointment for elderly, fragile skin.

Verified Purchase, Amazon

A Nourishing Blend of Botanicals For Fragile Skin

Aloe Vera

Used for centuries to soothe and cool skin conditions like rash, eczema, psoriasis, burns and severely dry skin.


Known for its natural anti-inflammatory properties, calendula helps with circulation and soothing itchy skin.

Coconut Oil

Widely used to moisturize, smooth and soften severely dry, cracked and chapped skin. Also praised for its natural anti-aging properties.

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