Diabetes effects many parts of the body, and the skin is no exception. Breakdown of skin, as with most complications for people with diabetes, is caused by poor circulation. Diabetes can cause changes in the small blood vessels affecting skin texture, appearance, and ability to heal. You may experience itchy skin along with bacterial and fungal infections.1,2 Some bacterial infections may occur in the hair follicles, deep tissue underneath the skin, or around the nails.1
Some other skin conditions specific to people with diabetes include:
- Diabetic Dermopathy1,2
Sometimes called shin spots, these reddish-brown lesions may appear on many places on the body. Their exact cause is unknown but are common among people with diabetes.
- Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum1
Most commonly found on the legs, these lesions appear as a rash with raised reddish brown patches. This skin condition is most commonly observed in people who have had poorly controlled diabetes for many years. While the exact cause is unknown, it is believed to be caused by poor blood circulation.
- Diabetic Blisters1
Commonly appear on the hands, feet, and sometimes forearms and legs. They have the appearance of a burn blister but are generally painless and without redness. They occur most commonly among people who have poorly controlled diabetes and have developed diabetic neuropathy. Getting blood glucose levels under control often helps the blisters go away on their own.
- Eruptive Xanthomatosis1
Small, sometimes itchy, skin lesions often found on the hands, feet, arms, legs and buttocks. Typically harmless, they commonly occur in people with poorly controlled diabetes and who have high cholesterol and fat in their blood. Controlling blood glucose levels, managing weight and cholesterol often helps these lesions go away on their own.
To help prevent bacterial infections from occurring, it is important to monitor your skin by looking for open wounds and make sure you take steps to maintain good skin care by keeping your skin moisturized as needed. People with high glucose levels tend to have dry skin and less ability to fend off harmful bacteria1. Both conditions increase the risk of infection.
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