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What Is a Diabetic Rash?

Most diabetic skin rashes occur because sugar levels fluxuate too much or remain too high.
Diabetic eczema can produce dry, red patches of skin.
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  • Written By: Jennifer Long
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 29 June 2014
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A diabetic rash is one of the types of rashes that commonly occurs for people who have diabetes, which is known to cause changes in a person’s skin. There are several skin changes that are classified as diabetic rashes. These rashes include scleredema diabeticorum and thrush. Diabetic eczema and erythrasma are also skin rashes that occur as a result of diabetes.

Scleredema diabeticorum is one type of skin change that is classified as a diabetic rash. It generally appears on the upper back and neck areas. The skin thickens in these areas and will appear darker than the skin surrounding the patches. Although these patches do not appear as traditional rashes, they are called rashes because of the altering of the skin that occurs. Treating scleredema diabeticorum involves regulating sugar levels through dietary changes and increasing circulation through regular exercise.

Diabetic eczema is another type of diabetic rash that can occur. High sugar levels trigger a skin reaction, and areas of skin can become dry and itchy. When sugar levels remain high, the eczema worsens and can cause red patches, skin weeping, and boils. Topical eczema treatments can help alleviate the symptoms, but these areas cannot go away until the patient’s sugar levels are brought down.

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Thrush is caused by a species of yeast called Candida albicans and is common for diabetics to experience. It can cause a diabetic rash on the tongue or along the walls of the mouth. The yeast is stimulated by excessive sugar consumption and grows out of control. White clumps of yeast appear on the affected areas of the mouth. Treatments for thrush include anti-fungal medications.

Erythrasma is the fourth type of diabetic rash that can occur as a result of diabetes. This type of rash appears as a scaly red or brown patch. It resembles the skin changes that occur with infections such as ringworm. The skin changes that occur as a result of erythrasma are commonly found in the skin folds of the groin, neck, or armpits. Overweight diabetic patients are more likely to experience a rash caused by erythrasma because of the increase of skin folds and bacteria that are found in these folds.

Most cases of diabetic skin rash occur because sugar levels fluctuate too much or remain too high. Treatment for these rashes begins with getting sugar levels under control. Antibiotic or anti-fungal medications, including pills and ointments, can treat bacterial or fungal outbreaks. Cortisone and eczema creams can also help soothe itchy and dry or scaly patches that occur with many skin rashes diabetics may experience. General good hygiene can help reduce the chances that an infection occurs.

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SteamLouis
Post 4

I've had both yeast and strep skin infections because of diabetes. Even bacteria that normally resides on skin can grow out of control when blood sugar is high. Genital yeast has been a huge problem for me and I know that it's because of the excess sugar that's excreted via urine. Cutting out carbs has helped a lot though.

bluedolphin
Post 3

Thrush that doesn't resolve could be a sign of diabetes. But if someone is dealing with a diabetic rash, they must have consistently very high blood sugar levels. And this will cause other symptoms in addition to the rash like excessive thirst and urination, nausea and an odd taste in the mouth.

The only way to know if a rash is being caused by high sugar levels is to get a glucose tolerance test.

I never got a diabetic rash before my diagnosis but I had all other symptoms of diabetes. I got my first diabetic rash fifteen years after I was diagnosed. My tablet medication was no longer enough at that time and I couldn't keep my blood sugar in control. I now use both insulin and tablet medication. Thankfully, I haven't had any rashes for a while. Diabetic rashes can be a nightmare.

bear78
Post 2

I have been dealing with chronic thrush for a few months now. I've been using anti-fungal medications and they seem to work for a short while, but the infection comes right back.

Could it be diabetes? How do I know if my thrush is being caused by diabetes?

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