Some bacteria-related skin infections can look very similar to diseases related to diabetes.

Although diabetic ulcers and other skin complications due to diabetes can take on a variety of forms, there are some skin diseases that could easily crop up that may be completely unrelated to your glucose levels or circulatory health. Here are a few skin infections (as well as their symptoms) that you may want to get checked out:


Folliculitis is a rather common skin disease — while most people have had it at least one point in their lives, they often do not see any effects. When larger lesions do occur, they usually come about as an after effect from time spent in swimming pools or hot tubs where the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus is found. Shaving or wearing very tight clothing can also irritate the skin.

Symptoms of the skin issue include large, pimple-like raised areas that are inflamed and red. The sores themselves will appear in the skin areas that were irritated – when this is caused by a hot tub or warm public water space, these can be almost anywhere on the body, which can make folliculitis harder to diagnose. When the wounds open, they often drain pus and blood. According to the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, minor folliculitis can develop into larger lesions, called carbuncles or furuncles, which are pea-sized boils. Warm compresses and medicated creams are the most common types of treatment.

Bullous Impetigo

Although this infection is usually found in young children and babies, adults can also contract this infection. Similar to folliculitis, bullous impetigo is caused by certain S. aureus strains in the body, which causes the normal, healthy skin to the pull away from the skin. In particularly invasive infections, the ruptures can look like third-degree burns, while more minor infected areas are brown in color and have a shiny crust to them.

Bullous impetigo will usually go away on its own after a few weeks, and usually does not cause any type of scarring. Topical creams are usually ineffective as treatment.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

This skin infection is a chronic issue. Lesions (many of which are purple or red in color) are usually large and expel a foul odor. These lesions are due to keratin production plugging the apocrine glands, which causes a buildup of pressure and subsequent rupture. If not treated, hidradenitis suppurativa can cause secondary infections, such as fistulas (a passage between organs, vessels or arteries that are not otherwise connected) or abscesses.

Most cases are treated with surgery, followed by appropriate surgical wound dressing.

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