Ways In Which Diabetes Can Affect Your Skin

Diabetes is a common chronic condition that affects people of all age groups. It occurs when the blood sugar becomes too high. This may be due to your pancreas producing less insulin, or due to the development of insulin resistance in the body. Insulin resistance is when your body does not respond to insulin the way it should despite it being present in ample amounts. 

Over time having consistently high blood sugar can have drastic effects on the body. It can cause heart, eye, and nerve damage. What it also affects in various ways, is the skin – the largest organ of the body. Almost a third of the people with diabetes develop skin problems. For the most part, a dermatologist in Islamabad says that such skin issues can be manage if the blood sugar is control well. But first, let us have a look at what diabetes can do to our precious skin. 

Itchy Skin 

A yeast infection, dry skin, or poor circulation can be the root cause of itchy skin in diabetic people. Peripheral blood circulation is poor in people who have high sugar levels, therefore, itching is most frequent in the legs, especially the lower legs. 

Using fragrance-free products can help. Moisturizers are the way to go to relieve this itching. A wide variety of lotions and creams are available in the market which can be bought as per your skin type. It is better to have a ceramide moisturizer as it restores the skin’s protective barrier. Light exercises can improve the blood circulation as well. 

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Fungal Infection

Tiny red blisters and scales can develop due to fungal infections common in diabetic people. The warm, moist folds of the skin are the best place for a fungal infection to bloom. Diabetic people are more prone to get fungal infections such as Athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch, and vaginal infections. 

A red, itchy area on the genitals and inside of the thighs shows the presence of Jock itch. Athlete’s foot affects the skin between the ties. Ring-shaped scaly patches appear on the skin in case you have ringworm. A fungus called “Candida albicans” commonly occurs in people with high glucose levels. Antifungals are to be taken on a doctor’s prescription to relieve yourself of this condition. Also, make sure you pat dry your body well and wear loose-fitting clothes to avoid moisture accumulating in crevices. 

Acanthosis Nigricans

This problem occurs in the skin folds and creases. Diabetics are more prone to the development of dark, thick, and velvety skin in the armpits, insides of elbows, groin area, etc. This occurs in most people who are overweight. Insulin resistance is the root cause of this.

There is no specific treatment for this. Using skin-whitening creams can help. The most positive effect will be seen when insulin sensitivity is increase by losing weight. 

Disseminated Granuloma Annulare

This is common in diabetics, in people with thyroid issues or HIV. Small papules arranged symmetrically in poor-defined rings appear mostly on the fingers and ears. Some people report itching. The rash may or may not go away on its own. Sugar control may help get rid of it. Steroid creams may be prescribe by your doctor for treatment. 

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Diabetic Dermopathy

Harmful red or brown skin spots may appear on the skin as lines or round patches. These do not hurt or open up. They usually appear on the front of your legs. This usually occurs as diabetics have reduced blood supply to the skin due to poor circulation. 

Eruptive Xanthomatosis

Small reddish-yellow bumps on feet, arms, legs, buttocks, and hands are the characteristic features of this condition. High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides that are consistent with diabetic people are the main cause of this. These bumps are tender and itchy and may cause pain. Consult a healthcare practitioner and get your cholesterol levels in check to get better. 

Digital Sclerosis

Hard, thick, waxy skin on the backs of the hands causes the finger joints to stiffen happens in this skin condition. The movement will be hindered by this. If diabetes is not controlled, you may feel like pebbles in your fingertips. 

Sometimes, when sugar isn’t control, this can spread to other body parts as well. When this spreads to knees, elbows, and ankles, body movements are much restricted leading to other problems as well. Relief occurs only when diabetes is control properly. Physical therapy may also be need sometimes for appropriate movement. 


Large blisters can form on the skin in diabetics. This is also call diabetic bullae. They may appear singularly or may appear in groups. Sometimes they may look like a burn. Blisters may be form on the skin of the hands, feet, and legs mostly. 

Ask your doctor for appropriate treatment. Infection needs to be prevent. Sugar levels need to be monitor and control well. 

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Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the skin problems that are common in people with diabetes. Many of these are harmless, but treatment should not be avoided for long. Sugar needs to be maintained and kept in check to avoid further problems. 

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