People suffering from diabetes are susceptible to many kinds of dry skin problems. This means that the excessively dryness of the skin, induced by diabetes, makes the skin vulnerable to many kinds of skin problems.
Reasons Diabetics Have Dry Skin
The blood glucose level of diabetics tends to remain abnormally high. This makes the body lose more fluid than it can replace. Lowered amounts of bodily fluids cause dryness of skin. Diabetics also have nerve pathology. This makes the skin more prone to sweating abnormally.
This results in phases of extremely restricted sweating. The absence of sweating means that the skin’s natural hydrating system is impaired, making the skin dry. Diabetics are prone to having high blood pressure. This impairs the normal circulatory functions of the body. This causes the sweat glands to work improperly, further impairing the sweating.
Mild Dry Skin Problems Caused By Diabetes
Diabetic dermopathy refers to a diseased condition of the skin caused by diabetes. It is more pronounced among adults, but its prevalence in younger diabetics has also been reported. It is more common among diabetic men. People suffering from this condition develop deep-colored, brown spots on their necks and shin. There is excessive scaling of the skin that is indicative of the skin’s dryness. However, these dry patches are not painful and heal significantly when the glucose levels are regulated.
Serious Dry Skin Complications Caused By Diabetes
Infected skin can be cause by diabetes, as the dry skin is prone to developing cracks. These cracks are susceptible to developing bacterial or fungal infections. High blood sugar levels in diabetics raises the risk of skin infection. The high blood sugar levels tend to aid the multiplication of the infecting organisms. This is particularly applicable to the infections of the hand and feet.
In the condition called Gangrene, the tissue and muscle around the infected site tend to undergo a slow demise. Thus, the skin loses its ability to heal, and the reduced flow of blood means gradual decomposition of the tissue along with large-scale nerve damage.
Diabetics are more prone to foot ulcers since their feet tend to remain perennially dry. The hampered flow of blood further impairs the healing process, and the impaired nerve action translates into numbness of the feet. Foot ulcers are often chronic among diabetics.
Most diabetics tend to have a dull skin hue. This can progress into a waxy-type of yellowish hue. This is more pronounced on the upper back and fingers. This is because dry skin is devoid of essential skin nutrients and hydration needed for skin rejuvenation. Thus, the older skin cells overwhelm the newer cells, making the skin looking aged (yellowish).
Type I Diabetes Dry Skin Problems
- Fungal infections like candida and yeast infections
- Bacterial infections like carbuncles and cellulitis
- Cheiroarthropathy—the skin of hands becomes thick and finger movement is severely impaired
- Diabetic scleroderma—a typical diabetes-induced skin problem causing thickening of skin in upper back
- Necrotizing fasciitis—a severe bacterial skin infection caused by excessively dry skin
- Pyoderma gangrenosa—skin discoloration visible on the back of hands wherein the skin develops deep cracks
- Necrobiosis diabeticorum—a typical diabetic skin problem found on shins
Type II Diabetes Dry Skin Problems
- Acanthosis nigricans—excessive skin folding along neck and armpits, more visible in obese diabetics
- Necrobiosis diabeticorum—widespread formation of skin lesions with a brownish border
- Bullosis diabeticorum—severe blistering that is not painful but is retained for a long time
Most diabetes dry skin problems can be controlled once normal blood glucose levels are restored. Such skin problems are best treated through a combination of daily skincare regimen and medications prescribed by a medical practitioner.