Type 2 diabetes symptoms: Five signs to look for on your skin that indicate the condition

Type 2 diabetes is common in the UK and is usually the result of a person being overweight or obese.

Is the condition is left untreated, serious health complications can occur, such as a heart attack, so recognising the symptoms as soon as possible is very important.

Itchy skin, particularly itchiness around the genitals, is a common symptom of type 2 diabetes.

But this isn’t the only skin-related symptom. The American Academy of Dermatology outlines five – yellow, reddish or brown patches on the skin, hard thickening skin, blisters, skin infections, and skin tags.

Yellow, reddish or brown patches on the skin

The skin condition often begins as small raised solid bumps that look like pimples, says the organisation.

It adds: “As it progresses, these bumps turn into patches of swollen and hard skin.

“The patches can be yellow, reddish or brown. You may also notice the surrounding skin has a shiny porcelain-like appearance, you can see blood vessels, the skin is itchy and painful, and the skin disease does through cycles where it is active, inactive, and then active again.”

Hard, thickening skin

It says you may notice tight, waxy skin on the backs of your hands, and your fingers can become stuff and difficult to move.

“If diabetes has been poorly controlled for years, it can feel like you have pebbles in your fingertips,” it adds.


This is rare, but the organisation says people with diabetes can see blisters suddenly appear on their skin.

It adds: “You may see large blister, a group of blisters, or both. The blisters tend to form on the hands, feet, legs, or forearms and look like the blisters that appear after a serious burn.

“Unlike the blisters that develop after a burn, these blisters are not painful.”

Skin infections

People who have diabetes tend to get skin infections. It explains: “If you have a skin infection, you’ll notice one or more of the following – hot, swollen skin that is painful and an itchy rash and sometimes tiny blisters, dry scaly skin, or a white discharge that looks like cottage cheese.”

Skin tags

Many people have skin tags, this is described as skin growths that hang from a stalk.

It advises: “While harmless, having numerous skin tags may be a sign that you have too much insulin in your blood or type 2 diabetes.”

There are three other unusual signs of type 2 diabetes you may not associate with the condition


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