Clinical Assessment: Skin Problems

Today’s post is another excerpt from “Best Weight: A Practical Guide to Office-Based Weight Management“, recently published by the Canadian Obesity Network.

This guide is meant for health professionals dealing with obese clients and is NOT a self-management tool or weight-loss program. However, I assume that even general readers may find some of this material of interest.


Obesity is associated with a number of dermatoses. It affects cutaneous sensation, temperature regulation, foot shape, and vasculature.

Acanthosis nigricans is the most common dermatological manifestation of obesity and it appears as velvety, light brown-to-black markings usually on the neck, under the arms, or in the groin. Skin tags are more commonly associated with diabetes than with obesity, but may be an early clue to the presence of hyperinsulinemia.

Obesity increases the incidence of cutaneous infections such as candidiasis, intertrigo, candida folliculitis, furunculosis, erythrasma, tinea cruris, and folliculitis. Less common infections include cellulitis, necrotizing fasciitis, and gas gangrene.

Leg ulcerations, lymphedema, plantar hyperkeratosis, and striae are all more common with obesity.

Contrary to popular belief, cellulite is not related to obesity. It is part of normal female physiology and is present to some extent in over 95% of all adult women.

© Copyright 2010 by Dr. Arya M. Sharma and Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. All rights reserved.

The opinions in this book are those of the authors and do not represent those of the Canadian Obesity Network.

Members of the Canadian Obesity Network can download Best Weight for free.

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