Related ailments

Listen to your skin


Dr. Sanjoy Paul, Senior Consultant Diabetologist, Apollo Sugar, Bengaluru


Changes in skin are connected to numerous diseases, including diabetes. Make sure you pay attention to the minute details.


The largest organ of our body and the most ignored as well is the human skin. Often we overlook the changes in our skin type and colour and if noticed mostly blame these differences on pollution, sun tan, or even worse, ageing.


In reality skin changes are connected to numerous diseases; one such being the epidemic of the present, Diabetes, that has a close link to the skin. Skin problems can be either the cause or symptoms of Diabetes. These are top 10 skin afflictions that may be linked to diabetes:


Acanthosis Nigricans: 

This condition mostly strikes overweight people and usually is a prologue to diabetes (considered to be a marker for the disease). It results in darker, thicker and velvety skin; predominately on skin folding areas such as sides of the neck, armpits and groin and sometimes on hands, knees and elbows.


Diabetic Dermopathy:

Diabetes causes this condition in which changes occur in the blood vessels supplying to the skin. It is also termed as shin spots and appears to be light brown, shiny and scaly - round or oval patches/lesion of thin skin over the front lower parts of the legs. They do not hurt, itch or burn and are often confused for age spots.


Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum:

The condition is a more complex version of diabetic dermopathy mostly occurring in adult women. A shiny scar with a violet border appears where the blood vessels under the skin may become easily visible. They sometimes turn to be itchy and painful with the spots cracking open in few cases.


Eruptive Xanthomatosis:

This condition is caused by intensive diabetes and results in firm & yellow pea-like bump in the skin with an itchy red halo; occurring commonly on the rear of the hands, feet, arms, legs and buttocks. People with high cholesterol and fat, especially young type 1 diabetic men, are the most likely subjects.



Similar in looks to albinism, this condition occurs upon the destruction of colour pigmentation producing cells, melanin. It appears as irregular and blotchy patches on the hands, face or chest.


Diabeic blisters (bullosis diabeticorum):

Caused by intensive diabetes, they look like sores or burn blisters, which are painless and occur on the fingers, hands, toes, feet, legs or forearms. They easily heal on their own in about three weeks.


Digital Sclerosis:

This condition in prevalent in about one third diabetics wherein one develops tight, thick and waxy skin on their hands, toes and forearm. This also results in stiffness in the fingers, knees, ankles or elbows.


Disseminated granuloma annulare:

These are skin deformities which are sharply defined - ring or arc-shaped bumps on the skin most common in the fingers and ear lobes.  They are usually red, red-brown, or skin colored.


Bacterial Infections:

Diabetic people tend to have more bacterial infections (the most common one being Staphylococcus bacteria) such as nail infections, styes (glands of the eyelid infected), boils, folliculitis (infections in hair follicles) and carbuncles (deep infections of the skin and the underlying tissues). Technological advancement and antibiotics have reduced the risk of fatality in such cases.


Fungal Infections:

For diabetics, candida albicans creates itchy rashes with tiny blisters and scales mostly under the breasts, nails, edge of the mouth, foreskin and armpits. A few other infections in the category are jock itch, athlete’s foot and ringworm.

Always keep your skin pampered, nourished and in check! Any unwanted or deformity – consult your nearest doctor!




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