Skin Issues and Diabetes


Diabetes has the potential to affect more than just your blood sugars; oftentimes problems like dry skin and slow healing wounds are a direct result of diabetes.

So what can you do to help keep your skin healthy?

First off, you're in the right place: getting the right information about skin issues and diabetes helps you understand causes and risks, and also empowers you with the information to help manage, or even prevent, any issues.

The best thing you can do is manage your blood sugars. Yep, this is always the first thing, and while it can feel like a big task, every effort helps. Talk with your doctor about the tools and technology that will help you and your family keep blood sugar bounces at bay.

When it comes to skin issues, check everywhere and check often. Leave no toe left unturned ... literally. be on the lookout for small cuts, scratches, or anything that seems unusual. Including a dermatologist as part of your medical team is a great idea, adding a professional assessment alongside your daily checks.

Use moisturizer whenever your skin is feeling dry. There are a lot of mild, unscented moisturizers out there that great for people with diabetes (but you don't have to use the ones marked "for diabetics" - use what works for you).  And keep hydrated. If you're well-hydrated, your skin has a better chance of avoiding excessive dryness.

Also, watch out for hot showers and use mild body washes. A lukewarm shower might sound weird, but it can be just enough heat for your skin without drying your skin out.

Take good care of the skin you're in!

Diabetes-Related Skin Complications

Fungal infections - The most common cause of fungal infections for people with diabetes is Candida albicans, which is a fungus similar to yeast.

Bacterial infections - These can include infection of the hair follicles (folliculitis), infections of the eyelid gland (styes), boils, and nail infections. Signs of infection include redness, swelling, and pain.

Itching - Itching is a common skin concern for people with diabetes, most often cause by dry skin, circulation issues, or a yeast infection.

Acanthosis nigricans - This is a skin condition characterized by dark, velvety patches in body folds and creases. See a doctor for assessment.

Diabetic demopathy - Dermopathy is often characterized by light brown, scaly patches on the skin, usually oval or circular in shape, mostly found on the front of the legs. These skin irritations do not hurt or itch and do not need to be treated.

Digital sclerosis - This condition is characterized by tight, thick, waxy skin on the backs of hands, which can cause stiff joints. According to the American Diabetes Association, this is a condition that happens to 1/3 of people who have type 1 diabetes.

source: The American Diabetes Association