Itching from Diabetes: What Causes It and What to Do About It

itching from diabetes

People with diabetes experience itchy skin more than those without diabetes. If this is a condition that you or a loved one is experiencing, learn what to about itching from diabetes.


There are a variety of reasons why a diabetic may experience skin itching more than a non-diabetic would. Damaged nerve fibers located close to the outer layers of the skin could be one reason. This happens when diabetics develop a condition called peripheral neuropathy or diabetic polyneuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy takes place when your high blood glucose levels damage your nerve fibers, especially those located in your hands and feet. Prior to actual nerve damage, your body undergoes cytokines at high levels. The cytokines are inflammatory substances that can cause your skin to feel itchy. Non-stop itchiness may show that a diabetic is at risk of nerve damage. So, if you are feeling itchiness, you shouldn’t ignore it.

Another reason for itchiness in diabetics is possible kidney or liver failure, or other associated disorders. These conditions can cause the skin to feel itchy.

New medication may also be the culprit for skin itchiness. It could be a sign of an allergic reaction, though if you suspect that this is the case you shouldn’t continue taking the medication until you’ve confirmed with your doctor. Most likely, they will need to give you a different medication as a replacement.

Other reasons for skin itchiness are skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, athlete’s foot, or sunburn. Your skin could also be dry or irritated by a new soap, perfume, or clothing dyes.

What to Do About It

There are several things you can do for skin itching to find some relief. First and foremost, as a diabetic, you need to manage your condition and make sure your blood sugar levels don’t get too high.

Otherwise, avoid taking very hot showers and baths. The hot water can strip the skin of its natural moisture and lead to itching. Apply skin moisturizer right after drying off from bathing. And, make sure that your moisturizers are free from harsh dyes or perfumes.

Final Thoughts

In general, if you are experiencing itching from diabetes, try home remedies first to soothe your skin. If it is persistent or is still present after a couple of weeks, you should speak to your doctor. It may be an underlying condition cause the itch.

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