Examining Any Possible Diabetes – Angular Cheilitis Connection

I recently received an email from a site visitor who informed me that she just got diagnosed with early onset diabetes, where the body does not produce insulin, and was concerned about the ramifications to her skin. She specifically was worried that she would ‘automatically’ get angular cheilitis from her condition. Now, there may be much more important potential side effects to consider, but she was only 19 and consumed with appearance issues, by her own admission. While I advised her that this is a question more suitably posed to a doctor, I did offer an encapsulated version of the information that I’m highlighting here, answering the question, ‘Does diabetes cause angular cheilitis?’

Simply, diabetes need not automatically lead to angular cheilitis. Many folks who are battling type 1 diabetes, such as the young lady who wrote to me, and type 2 diabetes, where the body does not produce enough insulin, will not be affected by cheilitis. A converse point should be made: Those who contract cheilitis probably don’t have diabetes. A disease does not necessarily lead to dis-ease and vice versa.

That said, it is probably more likely for a diabetes-sufferer to experience perleche than their diabetes-free counterparts. Although anyone can get bacterial infections, for example, diabetics are simply more prone to them. And remember, baneful bacteria strains can lead to perleche.

A similar point can be made regarding the propensity of diabetics to be adversely affected by a fungal infection, particularly Candida albicans, the same threatening fungi that can produce angular cheilitis symptoms. Again, it does not mean that those with diabetes will automatically lose the battle with wayward fungi. It just means that diabetics will have to be very health-conscious and do their best to promote an optimal functioning immune system to thwart these threatening microorganisms.

It should be noted that even more than angular cheilitis, diabetes (or more formally, diabetes mellitus) is associated with other skin conditions, such as vitiligo, eruptive xanthomatosis, digital sclerosis, etc. Again, and emblazon this in your memory: You may not experience any of the aforementioned skin conditions as individual response varies. Worrying about ‘What ifs’ will only demoralize you, add to your stress level, and undermine your natural defenses which you’ll now need more than ever.

Now if you have diabetes and I don’t mean to sound too maternal, please take care of yourself. Specifically, the following 7 suggestions may prove helpful:

1) Keep your skin hydrated by drinking copious amounts of water. Refrain from imbibing liquor, and avoid drinks with caffeine, and obviously, sugar.
2) Be on the lookout for omega 3 food sources, such as sardines, albacore tuna, and mackerel.
3) Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, chock full of vegetables and skip on the starchy ones, like corn.
4) Supplement your diet with essential vitamins and minerals. (I list some worthwhile supplements to take in the natural treatments section of this website.)
5) Avoid hot baths and showers as you don’t want to further dry out your skin. Use a mild soap, too, and thoroughly dry your skin. You can then add a moisturizer to your skin routine.
6) Without being overly watchful where you look at yourself every 5 seconds in the mirror, carefully examine your face and body for any skin abnormalities. Obviously consult with a general practitioner or dermatologist should you notice any.
7) Remain as stress-free as possible, remembering to count your blessings.

By taking the advice above, you will lower the chances of contracting a problematic skin condition, such as perleche. However, if you don’t mind your body and make unhealthy life style choices, angular cheilitis is more likely to rear its ugly head.

So in a nutshell, while one cannot ascribe full blame to diabetes causing angular cheilitis, it adversely impacts the immune system, leading to a greater chance of getting it. Therefore, by taking care of yourself and the diabetes (follow the doctor’s protocol!), you’ll need not face the added woe of angular cheilitis.