Dermatologist in Islamabad

Diabetes and Skin Complications

The skin is the largest organ of the human body packed with nerves and blood vessels. Diabetes is a complex disease that can affect these nerves and blood vessels adversely. When diabetes starts affecting your skin, it’s most often a sign of your blood sugar levels being high. Some skin changes can occur even before the diagnosis of diabetes. Others could be a sign that the treatment you have been taking for diabetes needs adjustment. If you encounter skin problems and you also have diabetes, an immediate visit to a Dermatologist in Islamabad along with your diabetologist is recommended. Keep reading to learn about 8 skin complications you might have to deal with if you are diabetic.

  • Acanthosis Nigricans (AN)

Acanthosis Nigricans causes a dark patch or a band of velvety skin in areas such as neck, armpits, groin, elbows or knees. Usually it’s a sign of insulin resistance and can be a symptom of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes. AN is very common with obese people. Some topical creams can help lighten these spots. To prevent Acanthosis Nigricans it is recommended to work on the root cause i.e obesity or insulin resistance.

  • Diabetic Dermopathy

The condition is also known as shin spots and is usually harmless. These red or brown patches or lines are common in people with diabetes and are often confused with age spots that don’t hurt, itch or open up. It is caused by changes in small blood vessels due to diabetes. Being harmless, it doesn’t need treatment.

  • Necrobiosis Lipoidica

This causes yellow, reddish or brown patches on skin, which begin as pimples like small, raised bumps. At their worst, the bumps turn into patches of swollen, hard skin. Women are more likely to have it than men. Since it has no cure, the treatment is done by managing the signs and symptoms. Your dermatologist may suggest topical steroid creams to keep it from getting worse.

  • Bullosis Diabeticorum (diabetic blisters)

This condition causes burns like blisters on lower legs, feet and sometimes on arms and legs. They are painless and usually heal on their own. You are more likely to get them if your sugar levels are high. The best way to prevent this is to keep a regular check on your blood sugar levels and make necessary diet and medicinal adjustments if the levels are high.

  • Eruptive Xanthomatosis

This condition causes small, reddish-yellow bumps on the back of your hands, feet, arms, legs and buttocks. These bumps are tender and itchy. They are caused by high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. The treatment is to lower the fat levels with diet, exercise and medicines. Regular monitoring of blood cholesterol levels is also important.

  • Digital Sclerosis

It is common in people with type 1 diabetes when they have high blood sugar levels. It starts with tight, thick and waxy skin on fingers and causes finger joints to become stiff and hard to move. If sugar levels remain high, it can spread to the whole body. So, the only treatment is to work on lowering your blood sugar levels. For stiff joints, physical therapy is recommended as a treatment.

  • Bacterial Infections

People with diabetes are more prone to getting bacterial infections when compared to people without diabetes. This is because bacteria thrives more with too much glucose in blood. Bacterial infections cause skin tissues to become inflamed, swollen, red and painful. Common bacterial infections affect eyelids, hair follicles and fingernails and are treated with antibiotics. In order to avoid getting a bacterial skin infection, keep your blood sugar levels in check by incorporating healthy habits in your lifestyle and taking medicines as per your doctor’s advice.

  • Fungal Infections

Fungal infections create itchy rashes surrounded by tiny red blisters and scales. They mostly develop in warm and moist skinfolds. Common fungal infections include jock itch, athlete’s feet, ringworm and vaginal infections. Similar to bacterial infections, fungal infections are also common in diabetic patients when their sugar levels are high. Fungal infections can be treated with OTC medicines but to prevent them, eating healthy, exercising regularly and keeping a check on blood sugar levels is necessary.


Skin is a good indicator of your overall health so if your skin shows any unusual changes, see a Skin Specialist in Lahore to prevent any serious complications caused by diabetes.


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