Skin Problems in Diabetes: Types, Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Vaibhav Saxena

, Health A2Z

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease in which a person has high glucose levels which are also called blood sugar due to inadequate insulin levels or abnormal behavior of blood cells against insulin. This condition is abruptly serious and troublesome for the sufferer whereas there are many potential skin problems in diabetes as well.



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What are Skin Problems in Diabetes?

This ailment generates many possibilities of skin problems which are also considered as one of the major symptoms of diabetes.


These skin problems can be temporary or permanent and occasional or chronic in nature which depends on the duration of recognization. There are multiple kinds of skin complications induced by diabetes which are categorized into two forms.


First is the ones which are directly linked and induced by diabetes and other is which has the link with complications of diabetes or insulin resistance.


1. General Skin Problems in Diabetes:

• Allergic Reactions: A person can easily develop the allergy to foods, bug bites, and medicines which indirectly causes bumps on the skin, rashes and even severe psychological disorder like depression. These allergic reactions can be fatal so an immediate help from the doctor or experts should be taken.


• Bacterial Infections: There are many bacterial troubles that are generated in the body of a diabetic. Majorly infections like styes (infections of the glands of the eyelid), boils (infections of the hair follicles) and carbuncles (deep infections of the skin and the tissue underneath). These infections require immediate help as the affected portion becomes hot, swollen, red, and painful.


• Fungal Infections: The people suffering from this abnormal insulin disease get exposed and fragile to a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans. This fungus makes the warm and moist folds of skin itchy red with rashes often causes tiny blisters and scales as well. To treat the infected area, try keeping the area dry and clean all the time.


• Itchiness: This itchy skin condition is caused either by the yeast infection, dry skin or poor blood circulation. This condition is also termed as pruritus and it mostly affects the lower part of legs. In order to treat this problem use mild moisturizing soap or cream onto the affected part.



2. Skin Problems Linked With Complications of Diabetes or Insulin Resistance:

• Acanthosis nigricans: This condition is generally found in diabetic people which forms the problem where the skin gets thick and tanned. Mostly this darkened skin condition is found on armpits, hands, side of neck, groin, and elbows.


• Atherosclerosis: This one is a serious condition which develops due to the narrowing of blood vessels from thickening of the vessel walls due to plaque buildup. There are many complications like hair loss, thinning and shiny skin on the shins, thickened and discolored toenails, and cold skin due to irregular blood circulation in the body.


• Diabetic dermopathy: Diabetic dermopathy which is also called shin spots is developed due to irregular blood circulation in blood vessels to the skin which gives birth to dermopathy. Dermopathy are scaly patches or oval lesion over the front lower parts of the lower legs.


• Eruptive xanthomatosis: This condition majorly attacks the people with diabetes type 1 and it goes out of control. There are red bumps on the skin which are firm and pea-like with halo inside and causes itchiness. It occurs mainly at the backs of hands, feet, arms, legs, and buttocks.


• Digital Sclerosis: Here the word Digital is referred to your fingers and toes as in this condition the skin becomes thick, waxy, and tight. This stiffness is reduced by decreasing the high blood glucose levels and applying lotions on the skin.


• Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum: This condition is similar to diabetic dermopathy apart from the spots being more large and deep. Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum is generally called NLD, which is a rare condition yet causes trouble when sores are open. If the sores are not open there is no need of treating it.


• Disseminated Granuloma Annulare: In this condition, ring or arc-shaped are developed on the skin. It is generally occurred on finger and toes but perhaps occurs on the chest and abdomen as well. Topical steroid medicines are recommended for treatment.


• Bullosis Diabeticorum: This is a rare condition where blisters are formed which is similar to burn blisters. This is also called diabetic blisters which occur on fingers, hands, toes, feet, legs, or forearms. These are generally painless and healed without any treatment.


• Vitiligo: Due to poor blood circulation many skin cells are damaged which involves the damage of some special cells which are responsible for generating the pigment which keeps the skin in its original color. This loss of pigment causes the skin to turn white in spots over many areas of the body.


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What are the Causes of Skin Problems in Diabetes?

Skin Problems are extremely traumatic for the person who already been suffering from diabetes but there are difficult to control them but they can be avoided by knowing the causes.


These skin complications are caused due to high glucose levels in the body which causes irregular blood flow. This disturbed blood circulation causes the deficiency of blood in the skin which gives birth to skin complication.


It is believed that one-third of the diabetic people suffer skin problems as well. Also, damage to skin collagens leads to abnormal sweating, sensitivity to light or pressure and changes in the size of blood vessels as well.




What are the Prevention and Treatments for Skin Problems in Diabetes?

There is no particular one bullet to shoot all the problems. Firstly you need to keep your diabetes complications in control by consuming all the prescribed medication and therapies by your doctor.


In case, when the skin disease has been spread you must act promptly as the early you act, the easier you cure it. The treatment measure differs according to the skin disease so always consult with the dermatologist and the expert before acting upon it.


Proper skin care is also recommended for diabetic people to avoid any hassle in the future.





Skin diseases in diabetes are of many different types which makes them fatal and susceptible. So, it is better to keep miles away from the risks of the complications and keeping our diabetes under control. These problems can cause permanent damage to our body as well so safety and care is the biggest helping tool.


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