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Skin Problems Related to Obesity




Health Articles > Skin Problems Related to Obesity

In addition to being a major risk factor for many diseases, there are a number of skin problems related to obesity. Obesity results in extra folds of skin that may be difficult to clean properly. These folds create a warm, moist environment that is ideal for many types of bacteria and fungi. Obesity can also lead to insulin resistance and insufficiency of the veins, which also causes certain skin conditions.

Acanthosis Nigricans
Acanthosis nigricans is a skin disorder that causes brown or black markings to appear on the skin. These marks usually appear in the groin, armpits or neck area. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, this condition is most often related to obesity. This condition is related to elevated insulin levels, which often occurs in obese patients.




Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles that is also called "hot tub folliculitis" or "barber's itch." This condition presents as small whiteheads around one or more of the hair follicles on the skin. Obese people are at risk for folliculitis because the extra weight puts added pressure on the hair follicles, which can damage them and allow infection to occur.

Skin Tags
Skin tags are growths that stick out and may be connected to the skin with a narrow stock. They are benign and usually do not cause any pain. According to the National Institutes of Health, skin tags are more common in overweight people because the extra weight causes friction between the affected areas of skin.

Cellulitis is an infection of the skin that is caused by bacteria. It can cause pain and tenderness in the affected area, chills, shaking, muscle aches and sweating. Obese people are at risk for cellulitis because it can be difficult for someone who is very overweight to wash adequately between folds of the skin, which provides opportunities for bacteria to thrive and cause infection.

Stasis Dermatitis
Stasis dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin due to poor blood circulation. It usually occurs in the lower legs. This condition is caused by a number of conditions that slow down the return of fluid from the feet to the heart. Along with congestive heart failure and lack of movement, obesity is one of the conditions that make it difficulty for the veins to carry fluid to the heart.

Erythrasma is a bacterial infection of the skin that is caused by the bacteria Corynebacterium minutissimum. It usually appears between skin folds, making overweight and obese people more likely to develop the condition. The extra weight of obesity creates extra pressure and warmth in between skin folds, making them an ideal environment for the bacteria that cause this infection.

Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are indented streaks that appear in the skin. They are also known as striae and may be pink, reddish or purplish. Obesity is related to the development of stretch marks because striae occur when the skin stretches as someone gains a substantial amount of weight.

Tinea Cruris
Tinea cruris is a fungal infection that is also known as "jock itch." This condition is caused by a fungus that grows in warm, moist areas of the skin. Because obesity can cause excess sweating and difficulty cleaning the skin folds of the groin, the fungus that causes jock itch can grow and multiply.

Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are swollen, enlarged veins that are raised above the skin's surface. They can occur most commonly found on the inside of the legs and backs of the calves. If the valves of a vein are weak, blood leaks back into the vein and collects in a pool. The pooling of blood in the vein causes the vein to become enlarged and varicose. Because obesity can lead to a weakening of the valves in the veins, it is related to the development of varicose veins.br />
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