Dry itchy skin, blisters due to burns and rashes caused by allergies are common skin conditions. But, could this also mean diabetic skin problems? Let's find out !!
Diabetes is a disease that can adversely affect all organs of your body including your skin. When the sugar levels in your blood shoot up, symptoms can be seen in your skin through several skin problems. If you notice skin problems it might be because you have undiagnosed diabetes or because your diabetes is not controlled or managed well. Questions like what types of skin problems do diabetics face? What do diabetic blisters, rashes or itching mean? Will be answered in this article.
Causes of Diabetes Skin Problems
- Long term diabetes and hyperglycemia causes poor blood circulation in the skin. Diabetes also damages blood vessels and nerves. White blood cells become weak and therefore cannot fight against infections. As a result, it leads to several problems in the skin such as rashes, blisters and sores.
- Damaged skin cells can lead to changes in your ability to sweat. It can increase your skin’s sensitivity to pressure and temperature.
- Diabetic neuropathy is a condition where the skin’s sensation is reduced. As a result, the skin changes in diabetes get noticed at a later stage.
Symptoms of Diabetes Skin Infections
Most people suffering from diabetes will experience skin problems at some point in time. Skin disease symptoms which you should look for in diabetes are:
- Changes in your skin
- Irritation on skin surrounding your insulin injection site.
- Any cuts or wounds in your skin that are taking time to heal. Slow-healing wounds can lead to secondary infections.
- Skin irritations and injuries that seem infected.
10 Common Diabetes Skin Problems
1. Diabetic Blisters
Diabetes might lead to blisters on the legs, feet and toes. Diabetic blisters look like blisters from burns but they are painless. Diabetic blisters mostly appear in clusters. Diabetic blisters might be treated with antibiotic creams and ointments.
2. Diabetic Dermopathy
A diabetic patch is formed because of diabetic dermopathy. Diabetic dermopathy is characterized by Spots on the body, especially on the shins. The spots or lesions are pink, red or brown and usually patchy. Diabetic dermopathy has no specific treatment. It might go away by shedding weight or it might also be permanent.
3. Necrobiosis Lipoidica
Necrobiosis Lipoidica is a rare skin disease in diabetes. It is characterised by red small spots on the body and later turns yellow and turns into sores. It is difficult but cures but doctors prescribe medicines, injections and lotions.
4. Eruptive Xanthomatosis
Eruptive xanthomatosis leads to small yellow-red bumps on the skin. The bumps might look shiny and waxy and have a yellowish or reddish crust around them. This skin condition is common in people who have high lipids as well as high sugar levels.The treatment of eruptive xanthomatosis is the control of diabetes and lipids in the blood through insulin and other medicines.
5. Acanthosis Nigricans On Face
Acanthosis nigricans is common in diabetes where the skin on the face becomes dark and thick and looks velvety. It could be itchy and smelly. Obese people are more prone to it, therefore getting rid of some extra kilos might be Acanthosis nigricans cure.
6. Fungal Infection
Diabetes increases your risk of fungal infection, especially on the foot. Candida albicans is the most common fungus that causes diabetic skin infections. Therefore you should keep your skin dry and clean and apply an antifungal ointment if you get a fungal infection.
7. Bullosis Diabeticorum
Bullosis Diabeticorum is a non-inflammatory blister formed on the first layer of the skin. It is one of the several diabetic skin infections that require bandaging to protect from further injury. Doctors prescribe antibiotic creams and ointments to treat the blisters and itching.
8. Itchy Hands and Feet
Itching due to diabetes is a common skin condition. Diabetes makes the skin dry because of poor blood circulation in the skin. To treat itchy hands and feet, you should moisturize your skin properly and keep it clean.
9. Granuloma Annulare
These are tiny red bumps in a ring pattern that are formed on your hand, feet, ankles and upper arms. It is a treatable diabetes skin infection that can be cured using infection creams and injections.
10. Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Foot ulcers are very common in diabetes. Diabetes skin sores start with small scrapes, especially from tight shoes. Foot ulcers later lead to infections. Your doctor will recommend antibiotic ointments and bandaging of the site to heal the wound faster.
Treatment For Diabetes Skin Problems
Certain over the counter medicines can help in the treatment of diabetes skin rash or itchy hands and feet which include:
- Non-prescription antifungals like clotrimazole.
- Topical steroid medicines that contain 1 % hydrocortisone.
Your doctor might prescribe medicines for skin problems that become serious. Prescription medicines include:
- Topical or oral antibiotics.
- Strong antifungal medicines.
Prevention of Diabetes Skin Problems
- Keep your skin clean and dry to avoid fungal and yeast infections.
- Itching in diabetes is mainly caused because of dryness. You should moisturize your face and body properly to avoid skin problems arising out of dryness.
- Leg skin disease is very common in diabetes. Dry feet and black itchy spots on legs are also common. Therefore, regular foot checks are essential to avoid major infections.
- Treat cuts and wounds immediately if you have diabetes to prevent secondary infection.
How to Take Care of Your Skin if Diabetic Skin Problems Occur?
You should take special care of your skin if you’re a diabetic. Make it a point to visit your doctor as soon as possible and follow all his/her instructions to avoid further spread. Keep your skin clean and dry to avoid fungal or bacterial infections. Apply the ointments recommended by your doctor and avoid further injuries to the skin.
When To See a Doctor?
You should consult a doctor if your diabetic skin problems are persistent or worsening. You should also consult a doctor immediately if your skin problems are accompanied by high sugar levels and fever. Book A Diabetologist and get complete guidance on all your skin issues at a single click.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Diabetes leads to skin problems such as Diabetic blisters, Diabetic Dermopathy, Necrobiosis Lipoidica, Eruptive Xanthomatosis, Acanthosis Nigricans On the Face, Fungal infection, BullosisDiabeticorum, Itchy Hands and Feet, Granuloma Annulare and Foot Ulcers.
- Diabetic skin problems are caused by poor blood circulation in the skin and diabetic neuropathy.
- You should look for changes in your skin and monitor cuts and wounds to avoid infection.
- Diabetic skin problems are treated with topical antibiotics, antifungal medicines and insulin therapy.
- To prevent diabetic skin problems, keep your skin clean and dry.
- Use Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate Accu-Chek instant and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Let’s treat diabetes together.
Friendly Asked Questions
Diabetes can cause a host of skin problems such as darkening of the skin due to diabetes, armpit itching, itching underarms, facial acanthosis, diabetic boils and black patches on skin with itching.Diabetes can also cause diabetic skin infections and diabetes skin sores.
Diabetic dermopathy is pink, red or brown patches and mostly forms on lower legs. The dark patches are usually oval and slightly scaly.
Diabetic rashes usually go away when the blood sugar is brought under control. A topical steroid medicine such as hydrocortisone might help to get rid of the diabetic rash.
-Red, pink or brown patches on your shins, front of the thighs, sides of the feet, chest, scalp and forearms.
-The patches will be round and scaly.
Diabetic dermopathy has no specific treatment. The lesions or spots might take months to resolve or they might also be permanent. You can apply moisturizers to improve the scaly patches.