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Excess body fat is not only a visible symptom of obesity. Too much accumulation of fat cells disrupts the structure of the skin layer and proper fulfillment of its natural functions, and also causes many dermatological changes. We advise what skin problems people with obesity have to face.

Obesityas the so-called the mother's disease leads to about 50 other serious diseases. Doctors usually warn against the most serious ones, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, heart disease, cardiovascular disease or cancer. Little is written and said aboutdermatological problemsof people with obesity, especially obesity of the third degree (the so-called morbid obesity).

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Meanwhile, the excess fatty tissue located inside the body and under the skin, e.g. has a negative effect on the skin filling its protective function and the functioning of its glands. The layers of adipose tissue form folds (e.g. on the arms, thighs, abdomen, neck) that rub against each other, not only making it difficult for an obese person to move around and perform everyday activities, but also to heal wounds. Therefore, obesity leads to many dermatological diseases. What are the most common skin problems affecting obesity?


  1. Obesity and skin - skin stretch marks
  2. Obesity and skin - cellulite
  3. Obesity and skin erosion
  4. Obesity and skin - dark keratosis
  5. Obesity and skin - Dercum disease

Obesity and skin - skin stretch marks

Stretch marks are longitudinal, spindle-shaped skin lesions that arise as a result of skin stretching and breaking collagen fibers. In people with obesity, they most often appear on the skin of the abdomen, buttocks, breasts, back, on the inside and outside of the thighs, and also on the arms. First, they turn red (the so-called inflammatory stretch marks), and after about 2 years they fade to a pearly color (the so-called atrophic stretch marks). Stretch marks do not disappear by themselves. They are used to remove themseveral methods, incl. peels, dermabrasion and microneedle radiofrequency.Read also:Stretch marks: how to effectively eliminate stretch marks? 7 effective exercises for stretch marks on thighs and buttocks

Obesity and skin - cellulite

Cellulite, in other words: female lipodystrophy, is the uneven distribution of adipose tissue under the skin. In people with obesity, it appears most often on the breasts, abdomen and thighs. Cellulite skin is wrinkled and fibrous, which is why it is commonly referred to as orange peel. Fat cells form into lumps, and voids are formed between them, in which water and metabolic products accumulate. Then there is swelling which leads to changes in the blood supply. The size of cellulite and its appearance depend on the severity - a four-level scale. There are also: water, fat and so-called cellulite. mattress leather. In order to get rid of cellulite, you need to use methods that will cleanse the body of water retained, stimulate blood circulation and burn excess fat, e.g. physical exercise (e.g. on an elliptical cross trainer, abdominal exercises) and an appropriate diet eliminating s alt and sodium. In advanced stages of cellulite, you can use cosmetic procedures such as lymphatic drainage, shock wave, endermology (vacuum massage), carboxytherapy.

Read also:Cellulite - where does it come from? Exercises for cellulite - VIDEO Diet for cellulite. Cellulite - how to get rid of it effectively?

Obesity and skin erosion

The word "displacement" literally means: friction in between. It happens when two folds of damp, warm skin rub against each other. If the water does not evaporate properly in the folds of contact skin, the so-called mechanical displacement. If there are mushrooms there, the so-called yeast eruption, and when a bacterial infection occurs - the so-called bacterial displacement. In people suffering from obesity, it is most common in the armpits, groin, between the skin of the breast and the torso, between the folds of the abdomen, but it can appear in such unusual places as behind the ears and between the toes. Symptoms of blistering are skin redness, maceration of the epidermis, burning, itching, peeling, and eczema. The basis of treatment is proper skin care (frequent washing, thorough drying, airing), as well as the use of agents that prevent excessive sweating and drugs: anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibiotics. Untreated blemish leads to blistering inflammation when the skin becomes covered with erosions, exudates, and crusts.

Obesity and skin - dark keratosis

Actinic keratosis is a pigmentation disorderskin. Its characteristic symptom are dark, often even black skin lesions with a thick, velvety texture. Sometimes they cause persistent itching. They appear most often on the neck, armpits, groin, but can also occur on the elbows, ankles or other folds of the skin, on the palms, soles, and even lips.

It is still unknown where the dark keratosis comes from. The possible cause is excessive growth of epidermal cells - creatinocytes. But it is already known that this dermatological condition comes in several types: 1.typemost common -associated with insulin resistance- affects people of all ages; it sometimes happens that a sick person is already born with spots heralding an illness; 2.type associated with overweight and obesity- the risk of developing this type of keratosis increases with weight, it can affect people of all ages, but usually disappears after weight reduction to a he althy level; 3.causeless type- so-called acral form, cosmetic defect; it can manifest itself without any reason also in completely he althy people; most often it appears on the feet, knees and elbows; type- can be associated with all three types shown above; 5.pharmacological type- appears after discontinuation of certain medications, eg insulin, glucocorticosteroids, oral contraceptives, drugs lowering cholesterol; 6.paraneoplastic type- the rarest; malignant form associated with neoplastic disease; most often it manifests itself in cancer located in the gastrointestinal tract; the skin lesion itself is not cancerous; 7.mixed type- combination of two or more types described above. Unfortunately, only in a few cases, the cure of the disease causes the reduction or complete disappearance of the skin lesion. In the treatment of dark keratosis, pharmacotherapy and photochemotherapy are used.

Obesity and skin - Dercum disease

Dercum disease, or: painful lipomatosis, is a rare skin disease that most often affects postmenopausal obese women. It manifests itself with many subcutaneous tumors, the so-called lipomas located in different parts of the body. They are most common on the torso and extremities, but can also occur on the nape, back, arms, thighs, and groin. Lipomas can be of different sizes. The skin covering them is unchanged. The bumps are soft and can be moved under the skin. Lipomas put pressure on nerve cells, causing pain. Lipoma tumors are surgically removed.

Read also:Dercuma disease: causes,symptoms and treatment of subcutaneous lipomas

Important supports safe treatment and a dignified life of people suffering from obesity. This article does not contain discriminatory and stigmatizing content of people suffering from obesity.

About the authorMagdalena Gajda A specialist in obesity disease and obesity discrimination of people with diseases. President of the OD-WAGA Foundation of People with Obesity, Social Ombudsman for the Rights of People with Obesity in Poland and a representative of Poland in the European Coalition for People Living with Obesity. By profession - a journalist specializing in he alth issues, as well as a PR, social communication, storytelling and CSR specialist. Privately - obesity since childhood, after bariatric surgery in 2010. Starting weight - 136 kg, current weight - 78 kg.

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