When diabetes is not well managed or undiagnosed, skin may show signs of struggling with too much sugar in the blood. Itchy rashes associated with diabetes can be related to having dry skin, being more prone to infections or having a reaction to insulin around injection sites, as well as possibly being a diabetes-specific condition.
If you notice any of these symptoms, then check with your specialist diabetes doctor or nurse, both for any necessary immediate treatment for your skin and to see if you need to adjust your medication.
Check list of symptoms and possible causes
1. Symptoms: itchy, weeping, red, inflamed or hot patches anywhere on the body; boils, folliculitis, styes on the face, scalp or eyes.
Possible cause: bacterial infection
2. Symptoms: itching, redness, cracked or peeling skin on the feet, between the toes, in folds of skin, under the breasts, and other hot, damp, airless areas.
Possible cause: fungal infection
3. Symptoms: dehydrated, cracked, sore or flaking patches of skin.
Possible cause: diabetes-related dry skin
4. Symptoms: discoloured, raised or bumpy patches of skin, which can be itchy and yellow, red or brown in colour.
Possible cause: necrobiosis lipodica
5. Symptoms: dark, velvety discolouration in the folds and creases of neck, armpits and groin.
Possible cause: acanthosis nigricans
6. Symptoms: hard, thickened skin on fingers and toes, can appear tight and waxy, and may make movement difficult.
Possible cause: digital sclerosis
7. Symptoms: blisters which can appear in clusters or singly and resemble blisters from burns.
Possible cause: bullosis diabetricorum
8. Symptoms: brown spots, lines or marks that may (but not always) appear on the shins, and which usually disappear after a year or two.
Possible cause: diabetic dermopathy
9. Symptoms: itchy, painful bumps and pimples condition characterised by waxy yellow pea-shaped centres and reddened halos
Possible cause: eruptive xanthomatosis
10. Symptoms: red or reddish-brown ring- or arc-shaped raised rashes, which appear most often on extremities (fingers, toes, ears), although occasionally elsewhere on the body.
Possible cause: disseminated granuloma annulare
See our blog on the Best Natural Treatments For Diabetic Rash for more information on practical strategies for keeping skin healthy and itch-free, including a guide to which Balmonds products work best for looking after diabetic skin!
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.