10 Skin Problems You Should Know

10 skin problems

If you have diabetes, you already know just how important it is to look after yourself. Eating healthy, regular exercise, and frequently monitoring your blood glucose levels have become part of your life. One thing that some diabetics often overlook is how the condition can affect their skin. Without proper care for both your body and your skin, there are certain conditions that may develop. Note that even with the right care procedures, the risk still remains if you have diabetes. We are taking a closer look at 10 skin problems that people with diabetes are more likely to develop, help you understand the symptoms, and consider the treatment options. 

1. Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis nigricans is a type of skin condition that is more commonly seen in people with diabetes. The condition causes parts of the skin to have a velvety appearance and darken in color. The changes in the skin are often seen in creases and folds of the skin but can appear in other areas too. Many people with acanthosis nigricans develop the symptoms in the groin, their neck, or their armpits. 

The chances of acanthosis nigricans are much higher among diabetics who are obese. The treatment will generally focus on the cause behind the symptoms. Once the cause is treated, the skin’s appearance may return to normal. 

2. Allergic Reactions

It is sometimes possible for diabetic patients to experience an allergic reaction to the insulin that they inject into their bodies. This can lead to skin-related symptoms, such as hives, redness, and bumps at the injection site. 

Research shows that about 2% of people who use insulin products experience an allergic reaction to it. This is not always directly related to the insulin but can also be due to the protamine, meta-cresol, and zinc included in the formulation. 

3. Eruptive Xanthomatosis

Eruptive xanthomatosis refers to a type of papular skin condition where papules develop on the skin. The papules generally have a red or yellowish color to them. The papules usually look about pea sized each and seem like enlargements on the skin. Sometimes they cause itching in the surrounding skin area. The buttocks, legs, arms, feet, and hands are most commonly affected. 

The most effective way to take care of eruptive xanthomatosis is for the patient to bring their diabetes under better control. This means stabilizing blood glucose levels and retaining it in this way. 

4. Disseminated Granuloma Annulare

When a person develops disseminated granuloma annulare, they will find that some areas on their skin become raised. These areas will have either an arc or a ring shape to them. The areas furthest from the torso are usually affected by disseminated granuloma annulare, but there have been cases where the raised skin areas develop on the torso too. Doctors can prescribe certain medications that help the condition clear up. 

5. Digital Sclerosis

Digital sclerosis is a condition where the skin on certain parts of the body becomes thick and feels tight. The skin may also have a waxy appearance. There are several areas that can be affected, such as the fingers and the backside of the hand. The condition can sometimes cause joints in the nearby area to feel still and difficult to move. 

Undergoing physical therapy may help with the stiffness, but this condition requires better control over blood glucose levels in order to prevent a worsening of the symptoms. 

6. Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum

Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum is quite a rare occurrence, but it is still important to recognize the risk. It is related to the damage that diabetes deals to the blood vessels. The condition causes large and deep spots to develop on the skin. The area may feel dull and become red. Some people describe its appearance as scar-like. 

Treatment is not necessary if there are no cracked pieces of skin or open sores. Should any of these develop, then treatment needs to be administered. 

7. Diabetic Dermopathy

When diabetes damages blood vessels, it can also lead to another skin condition known as diabetic dermopathy. This causes lesions to develop on the skin. The lesions are usually dull red in color and tend to have a circular shape. The shins are most commonly affected by these lesions. 

Research suggests that around 50% of diabetics have some form of dermatosis, with diabetic dermopathy being particularly common. 

8. Bullosis Diabeticorum

Bullosis diabeticorum is also known as diabetic blisters. The condition is quite rare and tends to clear up by itself, but can be a sign that diabetes is not under proper control. These blisters can start to develop on the back of the feet, toes, hands, and fingers. There are cases where the blisters affect the forearms and legs as well. The blisters generally erupt and should heal within a period of three weeks. In most cases, the blisters are not red and do not cause painful symptoms. 

9. Bacterial Infections

Diabetes can cause problems with the immune system, in which case the person becomes more susceptible to infections. This includes a risk of bacterial infections that affect the skin. Types of skin infections that are caused by bacteria include boils, carbuncles, and styles. The area may be affected by swelling and feel warm to the touch. Redness can affect the area as well. Symptoms of these infections are generally more serious in people who are unable to properly regulate blood sugar levels. Antibacterial topical creams and the use of antibiotics can help to treat these skin infections. 

10. Fungal Infections

Not all skin infections are caused by bacteria. Fungi can also lead to infection, in which case treatments used for a bacterial skin infection will not work. Swollen skin accompanied by dryness, redness, and blistering is a common sign of fungal infections. Sometimes, there may also be a thick white discharge that comes from the affected area. 


The risk of certain skin problems and conditions is higher among people with diabetes. Regardless of how well you control the disease, it is important to ensure you understand these risks and educate yourself on the symptoms. This can help to ensure you get an early diagnosis should a skin problem or complication develop. Early treatment helps to create a more positive prognosis for these conditions.