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Skin Conditions Caused by Diabetes

Medically reviewed by Martha Juco, MD · Aesthetics

Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Mar 13, 2023

    Skin Conditions Caused by Diabetes

    Diabetes and skin problems go hand in hand, this is because people with diabetes are more prone to developing skin conditions. What are the skin conditions caused by diabetes?

    Diabetes has an impact on every part of the body including your skin. The skin conditions include fungal infections, itching, or bacterial infections. Some of the skin conditions can be the result of allergic reactions to insulin or medications for diabetes.

    In most cases, certain skin conditions are the first few signs and symptoms of diabetes. It is advised to consult your dermatologist if you have frequent skin issues that take longer than usual to heal. For skin conditions caused by diabetes, it is important to diagnose and begin the treatment as early as possible in order to prevent any serious consequences and complications.

    How does diabetes affect the skin?

    Diabetes can have an impact on skin health in a number of ways. This is because of the high blood glucose levels caused by diabetes. Excess sugar in the blood forces the body to draw fluid from cells so that it produces enough urine to eliminate sugar from the body. This makes the skin dry.

    Dry and damaged skin can also be caused by damaged nerves. This is because damaged nerves are not able to sweat, and sweating helps to keep the skin moist and healthy.

    Further, when your skin is excessively dry, it can cause itchiness and develop cracks in the skin. This leads to small pores in the skin that can act as an entry point for harmful organisms to enter your skin. To add to this is the high level of sugar in the blood that works as a breeding ground for the organisms to grow and multiply.

    What are the skin conditions caused by diabetes?

    People with diabetes are prone to developing skin conditions. These include:

    • Skin itching
    • Fungal infection
    • Bacterial infection
    • Diabetic dermopathy
    • Rash
    • Blisters
    • Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum
    • Eruptive xanthomatosis

    Monitor your blood sugar levels — this is the first step that helps to prevent and treat diabetes skin problems. If you have any skin conditions that are sudden and take longer than usual to heal, consult your doctor. Monitor your diet, exercise regularly, and take your medications to control your diabetes. If required, consult your dermatologist. In some cases, the skin problem might not look harmful, but if not treated properly can cause complications.


    Common skin conditions associated with diabetes are:

    Bacterial skin conditions

    There are numerous bacterial infections from diabetes that have an impact on the skin. The most common bacterial infection is Staphylococcus, mostly seen in people with diabetes which is not under control. This can also cause “boils” in areas damaging the hair follicles. Other common bacterial infections are infection of the nail and glands of the eyelids.

    Allergic skin conditions

    People with diabetes are more likely to develop allergic reactions. Doctors advise those with diabetes to take good care of their skin and to regularly monitor the skin for any issues. If you come across any rashes or bumps, talk to your doctor. With diabetes, you are likely to develop an allergy to anything, from food to medications and from insect bites to exposure to changing temperatures. If you have developed an allergic reaction after consuming any medication, consult your doctor. Do not stop consuming any medication or change the dosage without consulting your doctor.

    Diabetic dermopathy

    Diabetic dermopathy, or shin spots, is a skin condition taht makes your skin turn reddish and develop scaly patches. Although the skin condition is common and anyone can get the condition, those with diabetes are more likely to get it. The skin condition is not painful but can cause itching and burning sensation. Your doctor may recommend you apply creams to keep the skin moisturized.

    Diabetic blisters

    Diabetic blisters, or bullosis diabeticorum, is a skin condition taht causes your skin to develop small blisters similar to the one you get after burns. Those with severe diabetes are likely to develop the condition. Individuals may develop blisters on the feet, fingers, hands, and forearms. The best way to prevent the condition is by maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.

    Digital sclerosis

    Digital sclerosis is a common skin condition and is mostly seen in people with type 1 diabetes. The name “digital sclerosis” comes from two words: “digital” meaning fingers and toes, while “sclerosis” refers to “hardening.” The skin condition makes your fingers and toes turn tight and waxy.

    In some cases, you may also experience stiffness in your hands and legs. The tightening of the skin may affect the ability of your body to bend and twist, further affecting your physical movements.

    In such cases, your doctor may ask you to try physical therapies. The best way to treat and prevent the condition is by keeping your diabetes under control. Your doctor may also recommend you apply creams and lotions on the affected area to keep the skin moisturized and prevent infection.

    How to take care of your skin

    Listed below are a few things you need to take care of to prevent diabetes skin problems.

  • Monitor your diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes causes high glucose levels that can make skin dry and reduces the capability of the body to keep away harmful bacteria.
  • Make sure your skin is clean.
  • Avoid using soaps and shampoos that are harsh on your skin.
  • It is important to take care of your feet. Wear shoes that are comfortable. Regularly check your feet for sores and cuts.
  • Avoid using excessive moisturizer in between your toes, as this can act as room for fungus to breed.
  • If you have any skin infection that causes itchy skin, seek the help of your dermatologist.
  • If you have minor cuts, use soap and water to clean the area. Use only creams or ointments prescribed by your dermatologist.
  • Learn more about Diabetes Complications here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Martha Juco, MD


    Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Mar 13, 2023

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