Which are the most common diabetic skin conditions?

Diabetic individuals are more susceptible to skin conditions that people in general can also experience, such as bacterial and fungal infections, and itching. Moreover, there are other diabetic skin conditions that affect people who have diabetes almost exclusively, like acanthosis nigricans, diabetic dermopathy, necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum, allergic reactions, diabetic blisters, eruptive xanthomatosis, digital sclerosis, disseminated granuloma annulare, and vitiligo. Some of these conditions may be actually useful in the sense that they are usually the first signs of diabetes; at the same time, they are both preventable and treatable. 
Bacterial infections include styes, boils, folliculitis, carbuncles, and infections around the nails. Common fungal infections are jock itch, athlete's foot, ringworm, and vaginal infection with itching. Speaking of which, localized itching frequently occurs with diabetes, and may be caused by yeast infection, dry skin, or poor circulation. Talk to a doctor if you believe that you have an infection. Among other indications, a physician may indicate you to use skin care products like Ameriderm Laboratories DermaSoft Hand and Body Lotion with Aloe, or Dynarex Corporation A&D Ointment, as well as others available at Discount Medical Supplies.


Acanthosis nigricans. Tan or brown patches on the sides of the neck, armpits and groin, as well as hands elbows and knees. Common in obese people; best treatment is losing weight. 
Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum. Itchy and painful dull, red, raised spots which become shiny and scar-like with a violet outline after some time. A rare condition that affects mostly adult women. Unbroken sores are harmless, while open sores warrant medical attention.
  • Allergic reactions. Rashes, depressions, or bumps may appear as a response to insulin, diabetes pills, and other medications. Talk to a physician if you suspect an allergic reaction to medication.
  • Diabetic blisters. Also known as bullosis diabeticorum, these are rarely occurring blisters on the backs of fingers, hands, toes, feet, and occasionally on legs or forearms of people with diabetic neuropathy. Though they are painless and heal on their own in a couple of weeks, they may be treated by normalizing glucose levels.
  • Eruptive xanthomatosis. Yellow, pea-like and possibly itchy bumps in the skin, with a red halo each. This condition occurs most often on the backs of hands, feet, arms, legs and buttocks. They usually appear on the backs of hands, feet, arms, legs and buttocks of young men with type 1 diabetes and high levels of cholesterol and fat in the blood. Treatment similar to diabetic blisters.
  • Digital sclerosis. Tight, thick, waxy skin on the backs of the hands and sometimes the toes and forehead too. Additionally, stiff finger joints, knees, ankles, and elbows may be possible. 
  • Disseminated granuloma annulare. Sharply defined ring- or arc-shaped, red, red-brown or skin-colored raised rashes on the skin on the fingers or ears, and sometimes on the trunk. Prescription drugs may clear these rashes.  
  • Vitiligo. Areas of discolored skin on the elbows, knees, and hands, and also around the mouth, nostrils, and eyes of people with type 1 diabetes. SPF 30 or higher sunscreen prevents sunburn on the discolored skin. 

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