How Diabetes Can Affect Your Skin

Diabetes is a disease that heavily affects the daily lives of people afflicted with it. Currently, there are over 100 million U.S. adults living with diabetes or prediabetes according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. We often hear about the high levels of blood sugar and the more extreme physical issues that can come with diabetes, but did you know it can also damage your skin? In fact, your skin is one of the first places that diabetes begins to rear its head.

How does diabetes affect skin?

  • Wounds – Diabetic neuropathy dampens your feelings, especially in your extremities. This makes injuries, cuts, or lacerations tougher to detect in these areas without regular inspections. Even a small scrape can become quickly infected if not noticed and left untreated. These infections can progress to a serious wound that could result in amputation.
  • Fungal and Bacterial Infections – Diabetes inhibits your immune system response, which means infections from issues like fungi and bacteria can take much longer to heal. This can lead to some advanced nail infections, boils, and skin ulcers. Since fungi thrive in dark, warm, moist areas, these fungal and bacterial issues often start at the feet.
  • Vitiligo – Diabetes can disrupt your body’s production of melanin, which can cause patches of skin discoloration known as vitiligo.
  • Itchy skin – Cardiovascular issues, dry skin, and infections that come as common side effects of diabetes can lead to some seriously itchy skin!

Talk to your doctor about managing your blood glucose levels, exercising, and proper diet to keep a check on your diabetes. An important tool in preventing and managing some of the above skin issues is regularly checking your skin for new marks, cuts, bruises, abrasions, or any other issue that looks different. Catching a cut early can be the difference between changing a bandage or having a foot amputated.

If you are dealing with skin complications from diabetes or any other skin, hair, or nail issues, we are here to help. Our dermatologist, Dr. Juan Vaillant here at Old Bridge Dermatology has over 30 years of experience treating a myriad of skin, nail, and hair issues. Give us a call today at 732-679-0222 to book an appointment at our conveniently located Old Bridge, NJ office.