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Diabetes Rash

Diabetes can damage the skin as well as other parts of the body.


Diabetes can damage the skin as well as other parts of the body. When the skin starts to show signs of diabetes, it's usually a warning that the blood sugar-also called glucose levels are too high. This could imply the following:

  • You have diabetes or pre-diabetes that hasn't been diagnosed.
  • Your diabetic treatment has to be tweaked.

A skin rash or other skin condition affects one out of every three patients with diabetes, Type 1 or Type 2. Diabetes increases the chances of experiencing dry, itchy skin compared to people who do not have the disease. Moreover, they are also at a higher risk of developing other diabetes-related skin problems.

Symptoms of Diabetes Rash

  1. Yellow, reddish or brown patches on the skin

This condition is also called necrobiosis lipoidica. Small raised firm bumps that resemble pimples are common symptoms of this skin disorder. These pimples become bloated, hard patches of skin as time goes on. Yellow, reddish, or brown spots can appear.

It causes:

  • The surrounding skin has a shiny porcelain-like appearance
  • You can see blood vessels
  • The skin is itchy and painful
  • The skin disease goes through cycles where it is active, inactive, and then active again
  1. Dark areas of skin that feel like velvet

This condition is called Acanthosis Nigricans. You may have too much insulin in your blood if you have a black patch (or band) of velvety skin on the back of your neck, armpit, groin, or elsewhere. This is frequently a symptom of pre-diabetes. 

  1. Thickening and hardening of the skin

Digital sclerosis is the medical term for this ailment whether it affects the fingers, toes, or both. On your hands, the backs of your hands will have tight, waxy skin. Fingers can stiffen and become difficult to move. It can feel like you have pebbles in your fingertips if your diabetes has been inadequately managed for years. 

Skin that is hard, thick, and swollen-looking might expand to the forearms and upper arms. It can appear on the upper back, shoulders, and neck as well. The thickened skin can sometimes expand over the face, shoulders, and chest. The skin around the knees, ankles, and elbows can thicken in rare situations, making it difficult to straighten your leg, point your foot, or bend your arm. It can be found anywhere.

  1. Blisters 

It's uncommon, but persons with diabetes may develop blisters on their skin. A huge blister, a group of blisters, or both may be visible. The blisters appear on the hands, feet, legs, or forearms and resemble those that appear after a severe burn. These blisters are not painful, unlike the blisters that form after a burn.

  1. Skin infections 

Diabetes patients are more prone to skin infections. A person will notice one or more of the following symptoms if they have a skin infection: 

  1. Skin that is hot, swollen, and uncomfortable
  2. Itchy rash with small blisters, dry scaly skin, or a white discharge that resembles cottage cheese

A skin infection can appear anywhere on the body, including between the toes, around one or more nails, and on the scalp.

  1. Shin spots

This skin ailment generates spots and occasionally lines on the skin that creates a barely visible depression. Diabetes patients are more likely to experience it. Diabetic dermopathy is the medical term for this condition. It typically develops on the shins. It can appear on the arms, thighs, trunk, or other parts of the body in rare circumstances.

Causes of Diabetes Rash

A skin rash can be the first sign of high blood sugar also known as hyperglycemia or prediabetes in persons who don't have diabetes. At times, a skin rash could indicate that you need to change your diabetic medications to lower your blood sugar or glucose levels. Other rashes are caused by a reduction in blood supply to the extremities like hands and feet.

How to Prevent Diabetes-Related Skin Problems?

Maintaining blood sugar levels within the range indicated by a doctor is the greatest way to avoid skin problems. Skincare can reduce the risks of acquiring a rash, infection, or a difficult-to-heal lesion.

These steps can be taken to prevent further skin problems from occurring:

  1. Check the skin for rashes, redness, infections, or sores on a daily basis.

  2. In the shower, use warm, make sure it is not hot water and use a moisturising soap. Since taking a bath dries out the skin.

  3. Dry skin gently with a towel. Make sure you do not massage, paying special attention to the areas between fingers, toes, and skin folds.

  4. After showering, while skin is still damp and supple, use fragrance-free moisturisers. To help skin retain moisture, look for ceramide in creams and ointments and not lotions.

  5. Apply urea which is an emollient lotion containing 10% to 25% urea to cracked, dry heels at night.

  6. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and keep the skin hydrated.

  7. Soap and water should be applied to cuts and wounds right away. Only use antibiotic ointments if your doctor has given you the go-ahead. Every day, apply a bandage to the wound. If you see signs of redness, discomfort, discharge, or infection, a doctor’s advice should be taken.

  8. To add moisture to the air in the house, use a humidifier.

Take Away

Skin rashes and issues are more likely if a person has diabetes. It is critical to pay close attention to the skin. If a person detects a rash or something that doesn't look quite right, they should call the doctor immediately. A rash could indicate that they need to adjust their medications or dosages in order to get their blood sugar under control. A good skincare program might help a person avoid skin problems caused by diabetes.