Metabolic Health

Know Skin Symptoms Caused By Diabetes

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Skin Diabetes Symptoms

Diabetes affects a big segment of the human population every year. People tend to identify this condition from a variety of symptoms. A significant aspect of those symptoms pertains to the skin. That’s right; the diabetes effect on the skin is a reality. 

People can often ignore skin diabetes symptoms. Many individuals affected by diabetes can get confused and attribute them instead to other causes. However, the reality is that skin diabetes symptoms are a separate class of their own. These symptoms, including prediabetes symptoms and skin signs, can be a good indicator of an underlying diabetic condition. 

Let us take a look at the various skin symptoms related to diabetes that you need to watch out for:

1. Yellow, Reddish, or Brown Patches on Skin

If you witness this specific condition, then know you have Necrobiosis Lipoidica. It’s a skin condition that initially involves pimple-like bumps. These bumps are solid, raised, and small in size. On the progression of this condition, these bumps keep on increasing to form hardened skin patches. The skin would also appear swollen during this advanced phase. 

In this condition, one may also notice the following:

  • Formation of yellow, reddish, or brown patches
  • A shiny porcelain-like appearance on the skin that surrounds these patches
  • Blood vessels become visible
  • Itchy and painful skin
  • Various cycles are involved in this condition- active, inactive, and then active again.

2. Darker Velvety Areas of Skin

A good indicator of excessive insulin in the blood is the formation of dark patches of velvety skin on certain body parts. Such body parts are:

  • Neck
  • Armpit
  • Groin
  • Elsewhere

These velvety dark patches are one of the major prediabetes sign and symptoms of skin diabetes. There’s a technical word for this condition known as Acanthosis Nigricans.

3. Hard & Thickening Skin

A condition known as Digital Sclerosis can cause the formation of hardened and thickened skin on:

  • Fingers 
  • Toes
  • Both

Due to this, stiffness may develop in the fingers or toes, becoming difficult to move. On spreading, the complex and thickened skin can appear on various body parts like:

  • Forearms
  • Upper  arms
  • Upper back 
  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Face
  • Chest 

In rare cases, it can even appear on:

  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Elbows

4. Blisters

This is one of the rare skin symptoms of diabetes, but it can still affect some people. This involves the sudden appearance of painless blisters on the skin. These blisters may appear in the forms below:

  • A single large blister
  • Group of blisters
  • Both 

These blisters form on various body parts, such as the following:

  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Legs
  • Forearms

5. Skin Infections

Skin infections can also be an unfortunate consequence for people with diabetes. In such a case, the following may happen:

  • Painful swollen skin
  • Itchy rash
  • Tiny blisters
  • Dry scale skin
  • White discharge

Such a diabetes-related skin infection can form in any part of the body, including the area of the scalp or around nails. 

6. Open Sores and Wounds

Due to diabetes, nerve damage and poor circulation can occur in extreme cases. While these are not necessarily related to skin, they can indirectly affect the skin. This is because they can make it difficult for the body to heal wounds. Its biggest impact can be felt on the feet, where open wounds called diabetic foot ulcers can form. 

7. Shin Spots

Shin spots refer to a skin condition that involves the formation of spots on the skin. Due to this, depression can form in the hardly noticeable skin. This is a common occurrence in those who are living with diabetes. Experts call this condition Diabetic Dermopathy. In most cases, its formation takes place on the shins. However, it can also involve other body parts like the trunk, thighs, arms, etc. 

8. Outbreak of Small, Reddish-yellow Bumps

These are bumps that often bear an initial resemblance to pimples. However, later on, a yellowish colour can be noticed on them. These bumps can form anywhere on the body, but mainly you will find them on: 

  • Buttocks
  • Thighs
  • Elbows crooks
  • Backs of the knees

9. Red or Skin-coloured Raised Bumps

There is some doubt whether this condition can be linked to diabetes. However, research indicates a pattern of the existence of this condition in those with diabetes. The technical term for this condition of bumps is known as Granuloma Annulare. This condition can form over large skin areas in individuals with diabetes. 

10. Extremely Dry, Itchy Skin

One of the most prominent skin diabetes symptoms is having dehydrated and itchy skin. This can happen if you are living with diabetes. The main culprit is a high blood sugar (glucose) level.

11. Yellowish Scaly Patches in and around your Eyelids

The development of yellowish scaly patches can occur due to high-fat levels in the blood. It is a good indicator of uncontrolled or badly managed diabetes.  Experts call this condition Xanthelasma. These scaly patches on and around your eyelids disappear once the diabetic condition is properly controlled. 

12. Skin Tags

Skin tags also refer to a significant diabetes effect on the skin that can affect many people. Skin tags mean having skin growths that you will find hanging from a stalk. These skin growths are generally not considered harmful. However, having plenty of them is not a good sign as it may be an indicator of excessive insulin in the blood or type 2 diabetes. Most commonly, they are found on body parts like:

  • Eyelids
  • Neck
  • Armpit
  • Groin

Bottomline

Diabetes can produce various symptoms in the body. Among these, the skin-related symptoms are a significant aspect of it. The formation of yellow, reddish, or brown patches on the skin is a prominent skin-related symptom. Similarly, there are several other skin diabetes symptoms that one needs to look out for. They can also include pre diabetic symptoms

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