All sorts of things can go wrong with the feet from diabetes and this includes peeling of the skin.

You probably already know that diabetes often causes neuropathy (nerve damage), which results in the inability to feel pain in the foot.

A blister, deep cut or ulcer can go unnoticed if you never visually examine your feet, due to not being able to feel the pain of these conditions.

Peeling skin is a potential outcome of either type 1 or type 2, says Natasha Fuksina, MD, an internal medicine and obesity specialist who combines traditional, integrative and functional medicine to restore health and function.

Type 1 and Type 2 and Everyone Else

Diabetes can cause situations involving the skin of the feet, which is why diabetics – and those who have not been diagnosed with this disease – should inspect their feet on a regular basis, including the soles.

Many people rarely examine their feet – which should be examined at least monthly for skin cancer if not for anything else.

Why do so many people neglect to inspect this portion of their body on a regular basis?

Is it because it’s rarely seen in day to day living, as opposed to the face, nose and hands? It’s anybody’s guess.

“Uncontrolled diabetes can cause death of the nerve endings – diabetic neuropathy,” says Dr. Fuksina.

“As a result, blood supply is impaired, critical nutrients and hydration are not being delivered to the skin, contributing to dryness, cracking and peeling of the skin.

“In addition, diabetes contributes to development of fungal skin infections, which could also cause peeling and cracking of the skin on feet.”

You Discovered Peeling Skin on Your Feet

Should you fear diabetes? Do not lose sleep as long as you don’t have any other suspicious symptoms of diabetes such as:

  • Red bumps on your feet
  • Tingling or numbness in them or the lower legs
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained intense hunger
  • Undue fatigue

When diabetes causes peeling skin on the feet, it’s because the neuropathy has dismantled the nerves that control oil and moisture production.

Benign Causes for Peeling Skin on the Feet

• Athlete’s foot (fungal infection)
• Dry skin (from dry or hot weather)
• Eczema
• Natural exfoliation (sloughing of dead skin cells)
• Shoes with a rubber toe box
• Sunburn

Dr. Fuksina is the founder of astraMDhealth, which includes telemedicine. Double board certified in internal and obesity medicine, she focuses on a personalized approach, including metabolism and genetic makeup, to customize treatments and preventive care.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
Top image: Shutterstock/Vladimir Gjorgiev
Sources peeling skin diabetes