10 Early Warning Signs of Diabetes On Your Skin

Your SKIN gives you early warning signs of diabetes

When it comes to our skin, whenever an issue arises, whether it is an oily forehead, puffy eyes, clogged pores, or dark skin patches, our first inclination is to find a way to treat these conditions topically with a cream or a serum from your beauty spa or local store. 

You may mention it to your beauty therapist or if more serious discuss it with a dermatologist who will treat the condition with skincare products or medication, But are these skin concerns something more serious?

Is your skin trying to tell you that you are currently insulin resistant? Which means you are highly likely on your way to being pre-diabetic? When left untreated or undiagnosed after a few years insulin resistance is more often pre-diabetes which inevitably develops into diabetes. 

Would you be surprised to learn that even with the use and development of skin creams, lotions, and potions for just about every condition, {It is estimated that in 2021, the global sales of skincare products will represent a $135 billion market} the most effective way to treat these skin conditions is to improve your metabolic health not applying a cream or skincare active serum?

Your skin is a mirror to a myriad of health conditions and diet deficiencies. It can be the most accurate and powerful way to indicate and diagnose health conditions early, including insulin resistance and pre-diabetes.

In this article, I’ll explain briefly the Top 10 SKIN conditions that are key indicators of insulin resistance and a great way to identify if you are pre-diabetic and therefore need to get medical health advice rather than applying a cream.

I’m Jen Adams as a functional nutritionist and aesthetics skin therapist. I have 10 years of clinical experience in nutrition and skin.

My focus is sharing what I have discovered over the years about ageing skin so you can learn how to enhance your skin health and nutrition to boost what you naturally have to glow each and every day.

What are the Early Warning Signs of Diabetes?

Simply put, insulin resistance and pre-diabetes is when your body has an impaired response to or is generally resistant to the hormone insulin, resulting in a rise in glucose or blood sugar levels.

Elevated glucose levels are leading components of both type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. 

Early insulin resistance symptoms are hard to recognize and are often ignored, misdiagnosed, or explained away. With 463 million adults worldwide living with diabetes, understanding insulin resistance and identifying pre-diabetes is more vital than ever. 

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a broad term used to describe a variety of conditions that lead to a series of serious health conditions. Metabolic syndrome exponentially increases your risk of diabetes. Insulin resistance and pre-diabetes are the direct results of poor metabolic health and,insulin-resistant when caught early enough, can be treated with the proper insulin resistant diet.

It is very likely that you are already experiencing symptoms of metabolic syndrome as the global prevalence of this condition is reaching epidemic levels. While common symptoms include weight gain around the abdomen, chronic fatigue, inflammation, and more, changes to your skin can be the most obvious indicator of insulin resistance. 

Are you now asking yourself, “Am I Pre-Diabetic?” Read on to discover 10 ways your skin may be trying to tell you that you have insulin resistance and therefore potentially pre-diabetic.

Diabetic Warning Signs On Your Skin

If you are experiencing any of these skin issues or conditions, it could indicate that you are insulin resistant and potentially running the risk of having undiagnosed pre-diabetes.

Early Warning Signs of Diabetes

1. Your Forehead Is Shiny

You might dismiss a shiny forehead as a result of having oily skin, stress or even attribute it to the heat and humidity. There are a number of reasons that allow us to over-simply the cause of a shiny forehead and what that might mean for your metabolic health. Changes in the texture and appearance of your forehead have been directly linked to problems with your liver and your gut health. Both of which are greatly impacted by insulin resistance. 

When you are insulin resistant, your liver is unable to filter toxins from your body efficiently. This can present itself in a variety of skin conditions, and a shiny forehead is one of them.

2.  You Have Dark Circles And Puffy Eyes

Two of the most common skin conditions that people are trying to fight are dark circles and puffy swollen eyes. There are an endless number of eye creams, patches, and serums available promising to address the swelling and dark pigmentation under and around your eyes. 

The truth is, no amount of skincare will eliminate these symptoms because the root cause of swollen, puffy eyes and dark circles is in the state of your metabolic health. Your eyes are a window into the proper function of your kidneys and liver. 

The presence of adrenal fatigue often exasperates insulin resistance. The combination of low cortisol and high glucose is a recipe for problematic skin, particularly those dark circles and swollen eyes. 

3. Your Pores Are Clogged

Clogged pores, and even an increase in pore size, are all indicators of insulin resistance. This is because your body overproduces sebum, the natural oil that lubricates your skin when you have increased blood sugar levels. 

A 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that eating a high carbohydrate diet actively promotes the overproduction of sebum. This diet is also responsible for poor metabolic health and insulin resistance. 

4. You Have Deep Wrinkles On Your Forehead

The presence of deep wrinkles is almost always attributed simply to genetics, ageing, and facial expressions. While it is true that these factors play a role in the development of wrinkles, wrinkles that are deeply set and severe are clear indicators of a process called glycation.

Glycation is when a sugar molecule bonds to a protein or a lipid. When these sugar molecules attach to the skin matrix, it reduces its function and increases the weight of your skin, causing sagging and deep creases.

As this process takes place inside your body, they produce Advanced Glycation End Products or AGEs. The presence of AGEs is a direct cause of insulin resistance and pre-diabetes.

5. You Have Skin Tags On Your Neck

You may not be aware of this, but the medical community is quickly acknowledging that skin tags may be the first sign of pre-diabetes. Skin tags are also linked to both metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. 

What has once been considered an aesthetic annoyance is now a warning sign for your metabolic health? 

6. You Have Hirsutism

Hirsutism is the excessive growth of dark, coarse hair, specifically in unexpected areas such as the face, back, or chest. Hirsutism is attributed to high levels of androgens (typically male hormones).

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common causes of this excessive and unwanted hair growth. Not only are high levels of insulin a symptom of PCOS, but insulin resistance also contributes to the cause of PCOS. 

When you are insulin resistant, your insulin levels impair the proper function of your ovaries and cause them to produce excess testosterone. 

7. You Have Yellow Bumps Or Patches Around Your Eyes

The appearance of yellow patches or yellow bumps on or around your eyelids is known as Xanthelasma. This condition occurs as a result of cholesterol deposits accumulating underneath your skin. 

Xanthelasma is a red flag for your cardiovascular health and is a sign that you and your doctor should be testing your lipid levels. Unsurprisingly, this cardiovascular condition results from a diet high in fat and carbohydrates and insulin resistance. 

8. You Have Dark Patches Of Skin That Feel “Velvety”

Acanthosis Nigricans (AN)  is the medical term for this skin condition. The dark patches of skin known as AN generally form on the neck, elbows, armpits, or groin area. 

These patches or darker-toned skin tend to form in body creases and have a distinct velvet-like texture. Acanthosis Nigricans is a result of rapidly reproducing skin cells. It has been determined that high insulin levels trigger this growth, making insulin resistance and pre-diabetes a leading cause of AN. 

9.  You Have Acne On Your Jawline Or Chin

We have already discussed how insulin resistance can lead to clogged pores and acne from an overproduction of sebum. The area in which you’re acne appears is also indicative of underlying metabolic health issues. 

When acne appears primarily on the jawline, cheeks, and upper neck, this is associated with hormonal imbalances and most commonly present in women with PCOS. PCOS and hormonal changes are almost always an indicator of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. 

10. The Palms Of Your Hands Are Pink Or Red

If the palms of your hands appear to be pink or red, you may have a condition called Palmar Erythema. Palmar Erythema appears on both hands, is not painful or itchy, and the redness will disappear when pressed upon. 

Dilated capillaries are the reason for the discolouration, and a number of underlying health conditions can cause this condition. Liver disease, thyroid disease, and auto-immune disease have all been known to cause this condition. Red palms have also been attributed to diabetes and increased insulin levels. 

It is important to note that all of the underlying medical conditions responsible for Erythema are linked to metabolic health and are pre-diabetic indicators. 

In summary, your skin is a fantastic indicator of potential metabolic health issues. If you have any skin conditions that are persistent regardless of the amount of time, effort and money you place on your skincare routine to reduce them, such as oily forehead, puffy skin, open pores and deep wrinkles, then potentially take a further look at your metabolic health.

When skin tags, dark patches, and yellow lumps around your eyes begin to appear it’s time to get some further advice beyond your beauty therapist or dermatologist about what is causing these skin conditions. No amount of fancy cream or clinic beauty or even aesthetics treatments is going to prevent these from forming.

If you have cyst acne on the jawline, hirsutism and or pink palms then there are also further health concerns that you need to address such as PCOS and/or Pre-diabetes.

To conclude, the good news is that once you become aware of these skin conditions and why you have them, you can begin to understand more about whether you are pre-diabetic. You can learn how it can impact your health in so many ways, so you can do something about it!

Making your metabolic health a priority is the first step in combatting insulin resistance and healing yourself from the inside out. This includes making the right changes to your diet and activity levels. 

One of the best ways to start offsetting insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome is to discover your body’s metabolic age. A Metabolic Age Calculator can help determine the state of your metabolic health. 

Finally, knowledge is the most powerful tool when it comes to taking charge of your health and wellness. If you are worried about insulin resistance and are ready to learn more about the importance of metabolic health, Jen Adams has created resources to empower you!