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8 Common Diabetes Signs On The Skin

8 Common Diabetes Signs On The Skin

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10 Diabetes Skin Problems You Should Know

Diabetes can affect the entire body, including your skin. Find out how to spot, prevent, and treat diabetes skin complications.

If you have diabetes, your regular monitoring should include regularly checking your blood glucose levelsโ€”but also checking for changes in your skin, feet, and nails.


Here are 10 diabetes-related skin problems:




Bacterial Skin Infections Need Immediate Treatment




a person's eye with a bacterial infection

Bacterial skin diseases can happen to anyone, but people with diabetes are more likely to get them. Some common bacterial skin problems that patients have are sores on the eyelids, pimples, nail infections, and carbuncles, which are deep skin and tissue infections. The area around the illness is likely to be hot, red, painful, and swollen. Most of the time, antibiotic pills or creams will clear up these skin issues.





Fungal Infections Are Common With Diabetes



a person with diabetes with a ringworm patch

People with diabetes are more likely to get fungal diseases, especially Candida albicans. This yeast-like fungus makes a red, itchy rash that is often surrounded by small boils and scales. The rash usually shows up in warm, damp places, like armpits or between the toes. Ringworm, jock itch, athlete’s foot, and vaginal yeast infections are some other fungal diseases that diabetics often get. Talk to your doctor about the best way to treat skin problems caused by fungi.




Poor Blood Flow Results in Itchy Skin



a person with diabetes itching their arm

Many things can make your skin itch. For people with diabetes, the cause could be a yeast infection, dry skin, or poor blood flow. When there isn’t enough blood flow, the legs may be the most itchy part of the body. How can you keep your skin from getting crawly? You might want to take fewer baths and use light soap when you do. Put lotion on dry skin to keep it wet, but don’t put it between your toes.





Vitiligo Causes Skin to Lose Color

a person with vitiligo on their face

Vitiligo is a skin condition where the cells that make melanin (the brown pigment) are killed. This leaves behind blotchy, uneven spots that usually show up on the chest, face, or hands. It is now thought that vitiligo is caused by an autoimmune disease, like type 1 diabetes. Studies have shown a connection between the two diseases. Light treatment and steroids are used to help people with vitiligo, but there is no cure. Depigmented skin doesn’t naturally protect itself from the sun, so it’s important to wear sunscreen with at least 30 SPF.




Diabetes Can Cause Neuropathy-Related Skin Problems



a person with diabetes with an infection on their foot

Damage to nerves, known as neuropathy, can happen to people with diabetes. Damage can sometimes make the feet lose their feeling. Some things might not hurt you if you step on them and hurt your foot or get a blister. Afoot ulcers are sores on the skin that are open and can get infected. Every day, check your feet to make sure they are not hurting in any way.


Diabetic Blisters May Heal on Their Own



a person with diabetes with blisters on their feet

Diabetes patients don’t get blisters very often, but when they do, it’s very rare. You can get blisters on the backs of your fingers, hands, toes, feet, and sometimes on your legs or wrists. These spots on the skin look like burn blisters. If you have diabetic neuropathy, you are more likely to get these blisters. The good news is that they don’t hurt and go away on their own in a few weeks. The only way to treat this skin problem caused by diabetes is to keep blood sugar in check.


Out-of-Control Diabetes Causes Eruptive Xanthomatosis




eruptive xanthomatosis on a diabetic person's skin

Out-of-control Diabetes can lead to both very high triglyceride levels and eruptive xanthomatosis, which are skin growths that look like peas and are hard and yellow. The bumps have a red ring around them, and they might itch. They often live on the legs, feet, arms, and backs of hands. Young guys with high cholesterol and very high triglycerides are more likely to have this skin problem. The main way to treat these spots on the skin is to lower the blood sugar level. Your doctor may give you medicine to lower your triglycerides and cholesterol.




Good Blood Sugar Control Treats Digital Sclerosis



a person with digital sclerosis affecting their skin

Digital sclerosis is thick, tight, waxy skin that forms on the backs of the hands in about a third of people with type 1 diabetes. It gets hard to move the finger joints because they become stiff. This skin problem can also show up on the toes and face sometimes. Sometimes, knees, feet, or elbows may get stiff. To say it again, the only cure is good control of blood sugar. A moisturizer might help make the face softer.





Disseminated Granuloma Annulare Causes Skin Itching



a person with diabetes with disseminated granuloma annulare on their arm

This skin problem causes raised, bumpy, or ring-shaped spots that are skin-colored, red, or red-brown. Most of the time, disseminated granuloma annulare shows up on the ears and fingers. A few people say they have a slight itching. Usually, you don’t need to see a doctor because the rash goes away on its own and doesn’t leave any scars. Yet, talk to your doctor about whether a skin cream steroid like hydrocortisone (Solu-CORTEF) could help your skin issues.


Acanthosis Nigricans Turns Skin Dark and Velvety

acanthosis nigricans on a diabetic person's arm

Acanthosis nigricans causes skin problems in body folds and turns the skin creases dark, thick, and velvety. People with diabetes who are very overweight are more likely to get this skin problem that is linked to insulin resistance. There is no cure, but losing weight might make the face look better. Talk to your doctor if you have the skin problem and haven’t been told you have diabetes. Most of the time, acanthosis nigricans shows up before diabetes does.



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