8 Diabetes Warning Signs That Appear On The Skin


A diabetes diagnosis often comes as a complete surprise to people. And the longer someone doesn’t know they have diabetes, the more they put their health at risk!

Some diabetes warning signs are very subtle, and it takes a medical professional to notice them. Other warning signs are so clear that you can see them with the naked eye.

In fact, plenty of diabetes warning signs are visible directly on your skin. Keep reading to discover exactly what these warning signs are so that you can protect your health!

Discolored skin patches

One of the most visible diabetes warning signs is that you develop patches of skin that are brown, red, or yellow. At first, you may notice tiny discolored bumps on your skin. Over time, this develops into swollen, hardened patches.

These patches may not always be visible, appearing only during periodic flare-ups. When this discoloration is active, blood vessels may be visible, and the discoloration may look more prominent because the surrounding skin looks shiny, like porcelain. The skin in question may also feel dry or itchy (more on this later).

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Thick skin

We often joke about how certain people need to develop a “thicker skin.” But if your own skin is thickening up, this may be a warning sign of diabetes.

Left unchecked, this thickening can spread to other parts of your body. The thickening is likeliest to happen with your hands, but it can occur in other areas. 

The affected area may be hard to move. For example, if your hands are thickening, you may have trouble moving your fingertips. It’s important to get to a doctor right away if your skin is thickening because this may be a symptom that your body is having complications related to diabetes.


Anyone can develop blisters from time to time. But in rare cases, blisters may serve as a warning sign of diabetes.

When this happens, it may appear as a group of smaller blisters or as one big blister. Visually, it will look like the same type of blisters you get after burning your skin. While such blisters may appear anywhere, they are most likely to pop up on your forearms, hands, legs, or feet.

How can you tell if these are normal blisters or a warning sign of diabetes? The diabetes blisters may appear without an apparent cause, and unlike typical blisters, they will not be painful.

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Dry and/or itchy skin

Don’t freak out: almost everyone suffers from dry or itchy skin from time to time. However, there is usually a reason for this happening. The reason may range from allergies to simply spending too much time in the sun.

But what if you frequently have dry or itchy skin and there doesn’t seem to be a reason? If that happens, it’s important to consult with your doctor. You might have a skin condition such as eczema, but you might also have diabetes, especially if you also suffer from poor circulation and frequent skin infections.

Darker patches of skin that feel like velvet

Earlier, we discussed how reddish/yellow patches of skin can be a serious diabetes warning sign. Sometimes, though, skin getting slightly darker can be a warning sign, especially if its texture starts to change.

For example, some people develop darker patches in areas (the groin, armpit, and neck are the most common areas) because they have too much insulin in their bloodstream. This is one of the earliest signs of diabetes or prediabetes. If you’re not sure whether the dark patch of skin is natural or not, reach out and touch it. If it feels like touching velvet, you should treat these patches as a warning sign.

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Wounds and open sores

Do you frequently get open sores and wounds on your body? If there is no other apparent cause for this happening, it may be due to unchecked diabetes.

When diabetes goes untreated for a long time, it can give you poor circulation and even damage your nerves due to your high blood sugar. What does this have to do with open sores and wounds? Both poor circulation and nerve damage make it harder for your body to heal, so wounds and sores develop more easily and stick around for a longer time.

Skin infections

Skin infections can happen to anyone, but there is typically an external cause. For example, someone gets too close to poison ivy, or maybe they get a cut that gets infected by bacteria.

If you get skin infections with no apparent cause, though, this may be a warning sign of diabetes. This infection may appear as a nasty rash, annoying blisters, swollen skin, and/or white, cheese-like discharge.

Such skin infections may appear anywhere. If you notice an infection and don’t know what caused it, visit your doctor immediately!

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Patches on or around your eyelids

Take a closer look in the mirror. Do you see any scaly, yellowish patches either on your eyelids or around them? If so, this may be a warning sign of diabetes!

These patches occur because you either have high fat levels in your bloodstream or you have diabetes that isn’t under control. Either way, you need to seek out a doctor ASAP!