Skin disorders in diabetes

Warren Weightman



Patients with diabetes are more susceptible to a range of skin disorders, including infections, leg ulcers and specific conditions such as diabetic dermopathy and necrobiosis lipoidica. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to reduce complications.

Key Points

  • Patients with diabetes have an increased risk of skin disorders.
  • The most common skin disorders in patients with diabetes are cutaneous infections and disorders associated with diabetic vascular abnormalities.
  • Necrobiosis lipoidica is important to recognise because it may occur before diabetes is diagnosed.
  • Skin disorders that occur secondary to the underlying metabolic abnormalities include acanthosis nigricans and eruptive xanthomas.
  • Patients with type 1 diabetes have an increased risk of autoimmune disorders.
  • Other associations include diabetic bullae, stiff joints and waxy tight skin on the backs of the hands and a pebbly appearance on the knuckles and distal fingers.