How Diabetes Affects Your Skin

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

Diabetes can influence the skin in ample ways, which is likely to make a person feel very uncomfortable. In fact, there is likelihood that many people with diabetes will have a skin condition at some point in their lifetime. Some certain conditions may only occur in some people with diabetes, others are just commoner in people with diabetes. A comparative number of these conditions can, fortunately, be treated or prevented by maintaining blood glucose control and look after your skin carefully.

Itching skin

Also known as pruritus, there are many causes of itching skin including poor blood flow, dry skin, or a yeast infection. When poor blood flow emerges as the cause of itching, you have higher chances of feeling it in your feet and lower legs. You can make use of lotion keep your skin moist and soft, and avoid itching aroused from dry skin.

Bacterial infections

For people with poorly controlled diabetes, Staphylococcus skin infections can be more common and more severe. When hair follicles are irritated, these bacteria can give rise to an inflamed bump or boils. Styes, and nail infections are other infections.

Fungal infections

With high blood glucose levels, people with diabetes are more likely to have common fungal skin infections from organisms such as Candida and Tinea.

Fungal infections can appear almost anywhere, such as:

  • the feet (Tinea pedis)
  • the hands (Tinea manuum)
  • the body (Tinea corporis)
  • the groin (Tinea cruris)

Tinea pedis, mentioned above, usually shows up between the toes or on the soles of the feet. There may occur itch, red, scaly or even fluid-filled lesions. You are more likely to catch it if you walk barefoot on a polluted floor. You are recommended to wear slippers or shoes in public areas to prevent tinea pedis. Tinea manuum is distinguished by papules – small, raised pimples or swellings – vesicles, or scaling, typically on the dominant hand, and is linked to the exposure to athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) lesions. Tinea corporis, or ringworm, manifest in the form of multiple red or pinkish round lesions with an unmistakable, scaly border. Tinea cruris can lead to red to brownish, scaly, itchy lesions that encompass the groin and occasionally spread to the pubic region and upper thighs.

Candidiasis of the skin has a tendency to appear in folds of skin such as under the breasts, groin, the underarms, and between the buttocks. Pustules are the first sign of this condition and can ultimately lead to softened, thickened areas of skin.

Treatments for all of these surface fungal infections are nearly the same. You can clear the infection by applying antifungal creams two to three times every day for around two to four weeks. Keep the affected areas dry, and using medicated powders in skin folds to reduce friction and moisture. Oral antifungal medicines are recommended if the infections do not react to the aforementioned treatment.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

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Review Date: September 2, 2017 | Last Modified: December 3, 2019

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