Skin Tags: What They Tell Us

Skin Tags
Stock Photo from IStock

Skin tags are small raised bumps that look more like sacs than bumps. They are often found in arm pits, eyelids, on your neck and under breasts to name a few locations where they appear.

Skin taags on eye lid.
Photo from IStock

While skin tags are usually benign, they can indicate high blood sugar levels or insulin resistance. They tend to be more common in women, elderly persons and those who are overweight. Skin tags are created by the friction created by skin rubbing against skin, a side effect of being overweight. This is what causes skin tags in certain people, and explains why skin tags often grow in body folds – but that does not tell the whole story. Skin tags are more common among people with diabetes as well as people who are overweight or obese — conditions that often go together.

While most people probably are not aware that these unsightly little growths are telling us something about our health, if you have them, you might want to make a doctors appointment and have your blood labs done.

Studies have found that skin tags are more likely to occur with:

  • obesity
  • dyslipidemia, for example, high cholesterol levels
  • hypertension, or high blood pressure

They have also been linked to insulin resistance and elevated high-sensitive C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. This suggests that skin tags may offer an external sign of an increased risk of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

Our skin is a major organ and we need to watch for changes to it.

Your skin is the largest organ of the human body. It reflects everything that is going on inside your body while also acting as a protective barrier from harmful micro-organisms in our environment. Our skin tells us a lot of what we need to know about our physical health. Therefore, we really need to learn to read these signs that could be pointing to more serious underlying health issues.

You might not know you have anything wrong with your health, and find it easy to ignore those ugly little growths. They are benign and usually do not cause any type of pain or discomfort. They often fall off by themselves, so why worry about them?

Well, of course not all skin conditions are cause of concern. A majority of skin problems do not reflect serious health conditions and can be cured with an effective skincare routine, healthy diet and exercise. But if you have begun to develop skin tags, talk to your doctor and ask if you need a fasting blood sugar level and a lipid profile. Again, skin tags may be a clue to the presence of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

The underlying reason for most overweight individuals to grow skin tags is high levels of insulin and insulin resistance. Insulin makes cells grow to get bigger and increases the secretion of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and a low insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3).

High IGF-1 triggers the formation of excess skin cells, and a low IGFBP-3 leads to a decrease in the genes that stop unwanted skin cell formation. Together they lead to the creation of excess skin that becomes a skin tag.

The reason why skin tag formation is linked to Metabolic Syndrome is because the illness can be associated with cardiovascular diseases, and even diabetes. When there is any insulin resistance in the body, the circulation of the body is impacted, but also the dermal tissue is impacted. This causes growth elements to rise from the skin, which are in fact tags. Metabolic changes are due in large part to hormonal shifts, which is a main culprit in tag formation on the dermis.

When To See A Doctor

If you or someone you know is seeing the formation of skin tags, go see your doctor to be checked for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or any other health factors. A doctor can help diagnose the issues and prescribe a course of medication that will assist in helping treat the larger illness.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for the warning, David.

    1. David Yochim says:

      You’re quite welcome my friend.

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